GUNNISON—The Gunnison Valley wrestling team will host the third annual Battle for the Belt on Jan. 5 at 4 p.m. This is the rivalry tournament where three Sanpete high school wrestling teams compete to call themselves the best in the county.
Three years ago, the coaches at Gunnison, Manti and North Sanpete planned a little competition between the three schools, with the winning team to bring home a trophy belt to hang in their wrestling room for the entire season.
With two of the three teams having new coaches this year, the tradition will still carry on.
Gunnison Coach Hunter Whitney said that it’s always good to see the strongest athletes in all three schools battle it out.
“Wrestling is a physically, emotionally and mentally draining sport and to see those that are competitive at such a thing go head-to-head will be entertaining,” said Whitney.
Manti is the only team of the three to not take the belt home over the years and they will be pushing hard to get it this year. The Templars have yet to go up against the Bulldogs, but they did defeat the Hawks earlier in the season.
Coach Kris King from North Sanpete said that he is hopeful his team will bring the belt home this year and that the Hawks can get back to being a competitive team.
“We definitely have started to bring life back into North Sanpete wrestling, and I feel we still have a long way to go,” King said. “We still need to learn that every time we compete, we compete at our level and leave it all on the mat.”
After Jan 1, wrestlers are all given a two-pound weight allowance in each weight class, which will move kids around into weights they may not have previously been wrestling earlier in the season.
No matter what weight class, there will be many matches worth watching.
“Being a new coach to the mix, I have heard that the Battle for the Belt brings a great competitive atmosphere,” said Whitney. “I love an opportunity to see good wrestling, and I know that Manti and North Sanpete both have great programs.”