Monticello Buckaroo wrestling history was made this weekend as senior Brayson Wilcox wrestled his way to the Championship match at the Rockwell Rumble in Orem. Wilcox is the first Buckaroo ever to wrestle in the finals at the prestigious tournament.
The Rumble is arguably one of the top wrestling tournaments in the Western United States for both quality and quantity of wrestlers. This year, more than 900 wrestlers competed from 81 teams in seven states and Canada. The Buckaroos took a team of seven to the tournament.
In the 13 years the Buckaroo team has been attending the tournament, the highest medals earned were third place honors by Zac Musselman in 2017 and Krieg Adair in 2006.
Musselman, along with Aaron Butler, are the most decorated Buckaroos at the Rumble, each placing fifth or better in three consecutive years. A total of twelve Buckaroos have earned 18 medals at the elite tournament.
At the end of two grueling days, Wilcox finished with a second-place medal and a custom Rockwell watch, engraved with the tournament logo.
The road to the finals was anything but easy for Wilcox at 152 pounds in a bracket of 63 wrestlers that included many state champions. His route to the finals included the three top-ranked wrestlers in the state at 152 pounds.
In each of the first two rounds, Wilcox earned wins by fall early in the second period. In round three, he was unstoppable in an 18-2 thrashing of his Las Vegas opponent
The quarterfinal round matched Wilcox against McKay Foy of Altamont. Foy, a Junior, is a two-time state champion and a Cadet Greco Roman National Champion. He is currently ranked #2 in the state at 152 pounds and #15 in the top wrestlers in the State of Utah at any weight. His list of tournament championships is long and impressive.
Wilcox came to the match a huge underdog but was determined to leave it all on the mat. It was a dog fight of a match, as the two battled for five and a half minutes with only one point separating them. As the clock wound down, Foy held on to a narrow one-point lead.
Then, with only 22 seconds remaining on the clock, Wilcox dug deep, taking Foy down and putting him on his back, not once but twice, earning the thrilling 12-7 victory as the clock ran out. Wilcox says it was the “greatest moment of my life.”
In the semi-final round, Wilcox faced Kaygen Canfield of Bear River, a two-time state champion and the third-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds.
It was a tough battle with Wilcox scoring a takedown in the first period. A penalty point given to Canfield made the score 2-1 after the first period.
Wilcox scored an escape in the second round and then wrestled smart to keep Canfield from scoring on him for the remainder of the match to earn the 3-1 victory.
In the finals, Wilcox wrestled Logan Jensen of Herriman, a returning state champion, former Rumble Champion, and the #4 ranked wrestler in the state at any weight.
Wilcox battled hard every second, getting away each time Jensen took him down and making a valiant effort all the way to the final whistle in the 6-3 defeat.
Several other Buckaroos competed in the Rumble. Tyler Draper earned three wins at the tournament with an 11-2 and a 4-3 victory and a win by fall.
Gage Wilcox earned two wins by fall, Kayden Draper had a fall and a 15-3 victory, and Matt Beh had a fall and a 6-2 win. Thomas Anderson and Mark Beh each earned a win by fall.
In the second chance tournament, Tyler Draper, Kayden Draper and Gage Wilcox all had two wins. Matt Beh also earned a win.
The remainder of the team attended the Aztec Tiger Duals tournament. The Buckaroos wrestled hard, defeating Gallup 60-18 and Shiprock 57-12. They came close to a win in their dual against Capital, losing 40-36. They also lost duals to Manzano and Kirtland.
Buckaroos Brevin Olson and Steven Robinson were perfect at the tournament. Olson came home with three wins by fall and Robinson won two by fall and two by points.
Finishing with only one loss were Zach Cecil, who had a win by fall and an exciting sudden victory win; Joe Morrison, who had a win by fall; and Eldean Lammert, who had three wins by fall.
Dillan Wheeler, Tuff Adair and Dillon Slack each had two wins at the tournament. Also participating for the Buckaroos were Paxton Christensen, Drew Westcott and Justin Cecil.
Earlier in the week, the team defeated Norwood in a dual, 57-13. Zach Cecil, Kayden Draper, Tyler Draper and Justin Cecil all won by fall and Thomas Anderson won in a nail biter 4-3.
Mark Beh and Brayson Wilcox came up short in their matches. Steven Robinson and Wyatt Fullmer both defeated opponents from Nucla, with Fullmer winning by fall and Robinson winning an exciting 6-5 match.
Drew Westcott, Matt Beh, Gage Wilcox, Dillon Wheeler and Paxton Christensen all received forfeits on the night.
This week the Buckaroos will wrestle in Moab on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
They will host their final home event of the season on Thursday night at MHS when they take on San Juan, Whitehorse and Monument Valley. The match begins at 6 p.m. The team and fans will honor six senior wrestlers prior to the match.
Next weekend they head to the divisional tournament at Juab High School on Saturday, February 3.