LAYTON – Bountiful High wrestling coach Matt Ripplinger has watched as the Braves have grown over the last three years.
Over the weekend, led by 145 pounder Lamar Gimmeson’s finals appearance, Bountiful had a major impact at the annual Layton Invitational Tournament, held at Layton High School.
“Building a program has been a hard task, “Ripplinger said. “Each year I saw a little progress, giving me a foreshadowing that it was going to be a long process. Last year, we saw a bigger jump in progress, moving from taking one or two to state, to eight; and finally moving out of the bottom of team placing to 17th.”К
Gimmeson pulled out a thrilling 5-4 win in the semi-finals and was edged 6-5 by McKay Parrish of Box Elder in the finals.
“Lamar’sКqualifying into the finals, who is only a junior, was so great,” Ripplinger said. “The Box Elder wrestler is a guy with a lot of experience and who entered the finals undefeated, so it shows the quality of Lamar’s talent. I’m real proud of him.”
In all, Bountiful had six wrestlers advance to the quarterfinals, and four of those Braves earned trips to the semi-finals.
“Each one of those matches was close, making it hard for the coaches, who were anxiously watching the clock tick down,” Ripplinger said.
A tough pill to swallow for Ripplinger was the loss to the Tovey brothers, two of Bountiful’s top men.
“We had a set back in the first round with Taylor Tovey exiting the tournament with an injury default,” Ripplinger said. “We lost A.J. Tovey (returning state placer) to an ankle sprain later in the tournament. I expect both to be OK and be back soon.”К
Justin Horsley stood out for Bountiful as he competed in one of the toughest weight classes in the tournament.
“Even though Horsley was a returning state placer, he was seeded 10th in the tournament,” Ripplinger said. “He had to knock off several tough wrestlers, including returning state finalists.”
When all was said and done, Gimmeson finished second, Horsley and Josh Tovey third. As a team the Braves finished 12th.
“We felt great about the result knowing we were missing four wrestlers out of the line-up, including the two injured Toveys, and as well as Junior Hamilton, our third returning state placer,”Кsaid Ripplinger. “Everything was so great. It was such a fun tournament.”
Bountiful’s Junior Varsity team finished fourth.