Gunnison wins Battle for the Belt
By Marcy Curtis
- PLEASANT—Three Sanpete County high school wrestling teams came together at North Sanpete High School to battle it out for bragging rights at the 2nd Annual Battle for the Belt on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Last season the coaches from Manti, Gunnison and North Sanpete came together to create an exciting night of wrestling for the county. North Sanpete brought home the belt last year and was hoping to keep it at their place for another year.
The first duel of the night took place between the Bulldogs and the Templars. Jarrit Anderson from Gunnison started the night off with a win over Kayden Blackham, 9-4. Anderson remains undefeated for the season. Tezlin Winn, the Bulldogs 132 pound wrestler and currently holding the number one ranked spot in 2A, pinned Colter Denton of Manti to rack up more points for Gunnison. Kelon Layton of the Templars took it to the Bulldogs Kaylob Olsen with a technical fall to keep the duel close in points.
The Bulldogs won the duel against Manti, 48-35. The match that stood out, according to Gunnison’s Coach Kelly Moysh, was the 195 pound contest between Talon Belnap and Kayden Clark of Manti.
“These two wrestlers battled it out tougher than any other match,” said Moysh. “They battled till the final buzzer. Kayden opened up with an amazing double and Talon just couldn’t make up the points on the back end.”
Next up the Bulldogs took on North Sanpete in hopes of bringing the belt to Gunnison.
The Hawks gave up forfeits at the two first weight classes of the night with nobody to fill in those spots. The 126 pound match was to be one of the big ones of the nights. Bulldog Garrett Jensen and Hawk Kasey Curtis both hold the 5th ranked spot in 2A and 3A. Curtis scored early on in the duel, but was flipped onto his back in the last seconds of the 2nd period to give Jensen near fall points and to pull ahead. Curtis was able to get Jensen turned in the last 15 seconds of the third period, but ran out of time for the pin. Jensen came out with the win 8-7.
The two teams went back and forth through the night, but those two forfeits came back to haunt the Hawks, giving Gunnison the win 42-33 and the belt to take back to their school for the year.
“Probably the match that stands out the most for me was between Garrett and Kasey,” said Moysh. “What a high pace, back and forth battle. Both wrestlers are ranked high in their weight classes in the state polls. It’s just fun to watch two wrestlers who have worked hard get after it and put on a good show.”
The final duel of the evening was between Manti and the Hawks. At the 120 pound class, Jamison Poulson of the Hawks started the duel off with a pin over Braxton Cragun. At 126 pounds, Hawk wrestler Kasey Curtis was able to pin his opponent Dylan Crowder and earn his 100th high school career win.
“When I started my freshman year my coach Nash and I set some goals and this was one of them,” said Curtis. “I wanted to reach it before the Christmas break, but with Covid and the lack of mat time this season, it took me a little longer. I now have a goal of 150 before graduation next year.”
One of the big upset matches for the Hawks from the night was at the 145 pound weight class. No. 4 ranked Kylan Taylor, who was wrestling for his first time of the season following an injury, was pinned by Manti’s Kelon Layton. On the 3A ranking boards Layton has been talked about quite a bit for not being ranked. As a freshman Layton had a lot to prove to earn that spot, but he is getting it done one match at a time.
The Templars took that win and built from it to win several more matches to give them the final victory over North Sanpete 45-29.
“What an amazing tradition we are starting,” mentioned Moysh. “The Hawks hosted an amazing event and have an amazing team, as does Manti. The crowd tonight was awesome and loud and positive. I want to say good luck to both the Hawks and Manti in the rest of their season.”
The Bulldogs will take home the belt and the bragging rights until next season with they will host the 2022 Battle for the Belt.