The Monticello Buckaroo wrestling team completed their season at the Utah State Wrestling Tournament over the weekend. The team finished in third place behind champion Altamont and second place Duchesne.
Only 27 points separated the top three teams at the end of two days of competition. Going into the finals, the Buckaroos were only 1.5 points out of second place.
Duchesne wins in the finals earned them second place by 15.5 points over the Buckaroos. The close finish is impressive for an MHS team with two open weight classes, compared to full squads for the top two teams.
For perspective, consider that one wrestler who wins a championship can earn a potential 24 points for a team.
The Buckaroos brought home 13 individual medals with 19 team members who wrestled in the tournament. It’s the most individual hardware earned by a Buckaroo team and the highest percentage of participants to placers in many years.
Junior Zac Musselman earned his third state championship, defeating Danny Thompson of Altamont 4-2 in the finals. Musselman won by fall in the first round and had a convincing 14-4 win in the semi-finals.
Musselman joins an elite list of only five Buckaroos to earn three state titles: Ozzie Trujillo, Trent Schafer, Shane Butler, Brian Robinson and Austin Wilcox.
Senior Shandon Bradford earned his first state championship medal, defeating Jessen McKinnon of Altamont 12-6 in the finals. Bradford pinned his first two opponents on his way to the finals, a place he is familiar with.
After two years as a runner-up in his weight class, Bradford’s many years of hard work paid off, and he earned the coveted championship medal in his last match in a Buckaroo singlet.
Buckaroos Brayson Wilcox and Parker Knudsen both earned the chance to wrestle on the center mat for a championship, and each earned well-deserved second place medals.
Wilcox earned a win by fall in the first round and followed it with a tough 4-0 win to earn his finals spot for the first time.
Wilcox fought hard against returning champion Stockton Moat from Duchesne. Wilcox was leading to start the third period 3-2, but Moat scored a takedown and near fall at the end of the match to earn the 6-3 win.
Knudsen earned wins by fall in both early rounds on his way to the finals where he faced Aaron Verduzco of Duchesne. In the final battle of the night, Verduzco earned the win by fall.
Thomas Anderson, Gage Wilcox, Mark Beh, Kayden Draper, Spencer Squires, and Paul DeAnda each earned a win by fall in the first round, and Tyler Draper earned a 16-5 win before a loss sent them all to the consolation bracket.
Matt Beh and Steven Robinson both suffered first round losses but came back strong in the consolation bracket, each earning a win by fall in the next round.
All nine Buckaroos advanced to the consolation semi-final round, where a win means a medal and a loss sends you home empty handed.
It was an exciting round for the Buckaroos with Wilcox, Anderson, K. Draper, Squires, DeAnda, and T. Draper all winning by fall. Matt Beh earned a 10-1 major decision win; Mark Beh earned a win by technical fall, 16-0; and Steven Robinson won in a nail-biter, 6-5.
In the consolation finals, Matt Beh earned a third place medal, winning by fall in the first period.
Mere seconds later, his twin brother Mark joined him, also earning a third place medal by fall in the first period. The two earned their pins only nine seconds of match time apart.
Tyler Draper took on teammate Spencer Squires in the finals and in a hard fought match, earned a 6-0 win and a third place medal.
Paul DeAnda earned a big 10-3 win on his way to a third place medal in his final match as a Buckaroo.
Thomas Anderson kept fans on the edge of their seats in his 3-0 win, and Gage Wilcox wasted no time in his final match of the season, earning a win by fall just over a minute into the match to finish with a third place medal.
Earning fourth place medals for the Buckaroos are Steven Robinson, Kayden Draper and Spencer Squires. All three worked hard but were unable to come away with a win in the consolation finals.
Buckaroos Tacovi Warren and Wyatt Fullmer both wrestled hard for the Buckaroos but were eliminated from the tournament just one match short of a medal. Both wrestlers earned a win by fall in the tournament.
Clayton Westcott, Bryson Henderson, Dillon Slack and Seamis Barrell were defeated in the wrestle-in round and did not make it into the state tournament.
The Buckaroos graduate six this year, including one champion, a runner-up, and two other state placers. The team will remain in the 1A ranks next year.