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These four North Sanpete wrestlers recently competed at the Bigfoot Battle National Tournament in Farmington. They are (from left to right) Kasey Curtis, son of Sam Curtis of Wyoming and Marcy Curtis of Mt Pleasant, Krew King, son of Kris and Jaymie King of Mt Pleasant, Owen Sunderland, son of Chad and Nicole Sunderland of Chester and Xander Shelley, son of Jade and Brandee Shelley of Mt Pleasant.

 

Sanpete wrestlers gain experience

at national tourney

 

By Marcy Curtis

Staff writer

11/18/2020

 

Four North Sanpete wrestlers competed at one of USA wrestling’s most popular events, the Bigfoot Battle National Tournament Nov. 6 and 7 in Farmington, Utah.

Krew King, an 8th grader at the North Sanpete Middle School, along with students from North Sanpete High School, Owen Sunderland, a sophomore, and Kasey Curtis and Xander Shelley, both juniors, joined ranks with 1,150 other wrestlers from all over the nation to battle for the top spots in their divisions.

Curtis and Shelley attended an extra day of the tournament to join a clinic for 30 of the wrestlers taught by former Penn State Wrestler and National Champion Matt Brown.

“I was excited to learn from one of the bests,” said Curtis. “I actually ended up using one of the things he taught us later on in the tournament and it worked so well.”

Curtis wrestled in the 126 pound high school division. His bracket was one of the largest at the tournament, with 42 wrestlers battling it out. He was able to wrestle well on the championship side of the bracket beating wrestlers from California, Idaho and the Washington 3A State runner-up. Curtis got knocked into the consolation side when he lost to another wrestler from Washington who was the 5A State Champion. Curtis battled his way back winning two other matches before going out the round before the medal round.

“Kasey has improved so much in the off season and it will be exciting to see him compete during the upcoming high school season,” said Coach Jade Rouser.

In only his second year of wrestling, Shelley competed in the 145 pound bracket. His first match of the weekend was tough facing a strong wrestler from Idaho. Shelley lost his match in the second round. It put Shelley in the consolation side of the bracket where he faced off with a state runner up from Wyoming and came up short to put him out of the tournament.

Competing in the 195 pound weight class was Sunderland. Sunderland won his first match against a wrestler from Oregon, but ended up losing his next two matches.

King wrestled on Saturday in the middle school 83 pound division. King went 4 and 2 defeating wrestlers from Utah, Washington and California. King was knocked out of the tournament by a wrestler from Washington that has a very impressive record including Washington State freestyle tournament and Bigfoot Battle 2019 champion.

“During this time when kids have felt so much isolation it was so great to see wrestlers have the chance to do what they love,” said Coach Kris King. “Wrestling has the power to unite people and it was proven this weekend. A huge thank you to those who made this tournament possible and safe for everyone. They are proving that it is possible to still wrestle right now.”

With the governor’s announcement on emergency COVID restrictions, the future of wrestling is unknown right now. USA wrestling hosted several tournaments since April in Utah safely. Changes have been made to keep the athletes, coaches and spectators healthy. The tournament directors have put into place COVID tracing and have sent multiple follow up surveys to all athletes.

 

Kasey Curtis, a junior at North Sanpete High School, makes an impressive mat return with his opponent from California at a national tournament recently.