High on the wall in the wrestling room at Monticello High School are two large boards. On them the names of every wrestler who has earned a State Championship medal are immortalized.
Young wrestlers look at the names above them on the wall and dream of some day adding their name to the list for all to remember. This season, a young sixth grade wrestler shocked many when he recited the name of a three-time champion from the board who had won his championships in the 1970’s.
On Saturday night at the Utah State Wrestling Championships, two more names were added to the list of one-time champions, two young men were added to the list of two-time champions, and that sixth grader’s big brother added his name to the list of three time champions.
The Monticello Buckaroo Wrestling team headed to the State Tournament this past weekend with a trophy on their mind. They came to wrestle and to win.
The Buckaroos made an exciting run at a championship falling just 19 points short of Altamont for a State Championship, but earned the well-deserved Runner-up trophy.
Five names were added to the champions wall, but every member of the team had a part in helping bring home a trophy to Monticello High School.
Six Buckaroos took center stage in the finals, with five finishing the night atop the podium as champions. No other team had more champions on this night, and it was the most champions for the Buckaroos at a state tournament since the 1970’s.
It was a thrilling night for Hunter Bowring, Brian Robinson, Cole Eldredge, Austin Wilcox and Nephi Barlow as their goals were reached and their dreams of becoming a champion became reality. They continued an emotionally stirring tradition they started the previous year, by having their mothers escort them to the podium to accept their medals.
Robinson earned his third state title, becoming only the fourth Buckaroo in history to do so, with an exciting 4-1 win. Robinson cruised through the tournament pinning both early opponents on his way to the 126 pound championship.
Eldredge earned his second state championship and becomes the 11th Buckaroo in history to do so. Eldredge dominated his opponents, defeating all three by fall, including his opponent in the finals, and continues his run at becoming a four time champion.
Austin Wilcox, a junior, was perfect on the weekend, with three wins by fall, capping his season with a second period pin in the finals and became the 12th two time champion for Monticello High School.
Bowring and Barlow each earned their first championships in almost identical fashion. Both earned two wins by fall in the early rounds of the tournament to set up repeats of the region championships the week before.
Bowring had been defeated the previous week after four periods of overtime, but with a state championship on the line, Bowring fought hard to stay ahead and defeated his opponent 4-1.
Barlow worked hard for three periods trying to turn his opponent, and when the final buzzer sounded was victorious, 3-1.
Brandon Musselman was strong in the tournament and brought home a well-deserved second place medal. Musselman earned wins in the two early rounds, one by major decision and fought hard in the finals where he was leading when he got stuck in a move he could not fight out of and lost by fall.
Buckaroo PJ Leiataua earned a third place medal. After an exciting win by fall in the first round, PJ fell in the next round to the eventual champion in his weight. In the consolation bracket, Leiataua came back srong, earning back-to-back wins by fall to earn his spot on the podium.
Bringing home a fourth place medal is Justin Redd, who earned a win by fall in the first round, but was defeated in the next round by the eventual champion in his weight class.
Redd came back with a win by fall in the next round to guarantee him a medal but lost a tough match in the consolation finals.
Drew Baird, Brandin Clark, Chandler Draper, Eric Anderson, Jake Giles and Tyrel Lee each worked hard for the Buckaroos but did not medal at the tournament. Draper, Anderson and Giles each earned a win at the tournament.
Russell Musselman and Dustin Christensen each got a chance to wrestle for a spot in the tournament but were unable to earn a win.
The Buckaroos lose five seniors this year, but with a roster full of young talent, the Buckaroos look forward to a strong season in 2014.