Gunnison takes fifth, North Sanpete sixth, Manti 10th in wrestling tourney
By Benjamin Thornberg
MANTI—Gunnison took fifth, North Sanpete sixth and Manti 10th in the Holiday Classic wrestling tournament, hosted by Manti High School on Dec. 14 and 15.
The top winners were South Summit, first; Monticello, second; and Richfield, third.
The tournament attracted 22 schools from throughout the state. It took 12 referees to stay on top of the many matches going on in two gymnasiums.
At the beginning of the tournament, schools were divided into three “pools” based on school size and whether schools had wrestled each other so far this season.
An effort was made to pit schools against contenders they had not wrestled before, says Ryan Fowles, Manti wrestling coach and tournament organizer. The three Sanpete County schools were each assigned to a different pool.
In each pool, wrestlers competed in 14 weight classifications. Both Gunnison and North Sanpete took seconds in their respective pools. Manti took fourth in its pool.
After the pool matches, the tournament went into a final round. In that round, each school wrestled the two schools that had finished in the same place as them in pool competition. For instance, Gunnison and North Sanpete wrestled each other, since both finished second in their respective pools. Then both faced American Leadership Academy, which came in second in the third of the three pools.
In the final round, Gunnison defeated North Sanpete, 66-12, but tied with American Leadership, 42-42. That translated to second place in the final round.
While losing to Gunnison, North Sanpete beat American Leadership 39-36 and ended up third in the final round.
Manti, which was competing against fourth-ranked pool teams, took first in its final group by defeating North Summit, 51-28, and Wayne, 44-36.
The ultimate tournament winners were determined mathematically based on pool-round and final-round performances.
Fowles said several Manti wrestlers are showing potential to compete in the state tournament in their weight classifications. They include Kayden Fowles, weighing 126; Seni Latu, weighing 195; Spencer Colburn, weighing 220; and Jason Henningson, weighing 285.
Fowles said he is pleased with the growth of the Holiday Classic. “For more schools to face each other gives better experience for any involved,” he said, adding that Manti was “more competitive than we have been in the last three years.”