BOUNTIFUL – As many as 23 Utah high schools will invade the Bountiful High School gym this Friday and Saturday as wrestlers prepare for the second-annual Rockwell Invitational Tournament.
The tournament, which the Bountiful staff put together with the help of the Rockwell company in Woods Cross, is considered a big tournament in two ways, said Braves’ wrestling coach Matt Ripplinger.
“The tournament was created for teams that are on the same competitive levels, where any team will have a great chance to have success both as a team and for the individual wrestlers,” he said. “We heard wrestlers say how much fun the tournament was because it was the first tournament they were able to place at.”
The second reason the tournament was a success last year, said Ripplinger, was the fact the tournament is scheduled very close to Region tournaments, giving both experienced and inexperienced grapplers the chance to prepare.
“By holding the tournament not long before region competitions, teams will leave this tournament with a little more confidence,” he said. “I’ve been told it has helped them to have better success at the postseason tournaments.”
The tournament will feature wrestlers from three south Davis County high schools and two other Davis County schools.
Host Bountiful is included among those, and Woods Cross, Viewmont and Layton Christian Academy are also scheduled to be part of the weekend tournament.
Other invitees are Ben Lomond, Bonneville, Cyprus, East, Granger, Hillcrest, Juab, Logan, Mountain Crest, Murray, Ogden, Olympus, Roy, Skyline, Sky View, Stansbury, Taylorsville, Tooele and Westlake.
For Bountiful, Ripplinger said there are six wrestlers to watch as the Braves prepare for their host tournament. Justin Horsley, at 132 pounds, placed third at the Layton Invitational earlier this season and won his weight class at the Viewmont Invitational.
As a state placer last season, Horsley is going strong with a 21-7 record.
Joey Barnett, at 138 pounds, placed fourth at the Layton Invitational, second at the Viewmont Invitational and fifth at the Richardson Memorial С three very prominent tournaments during the wrestling season. He is 22-7 this year and was a state placer last season.
At 145 pounds, Lamar Gimmeson will also be on the mat. Gimmeson placed second at the Layton Invitational and was a state qualifier last season.
Josh Barnett, 152 pounds, was third at the Layton Invitational earlier this season and is a returning state qualifier as well.
A.J. Tovey is making a return to the mat after a long layoff. Tovey’s layoff wasn’t by choice С he was injured at the Layton Invitational -С but he is expected to wrestle well during the two-day event.
Junior Hamilton, also a returning state placer, has been wrestling very well and is expected to do the same inside Bountiful’s home gym.
Rockwell will donate awards for the champions and help raise other funds in order to cover the costs of the tournament.
It will begin on Friday, Jan. 18 at 3 p.m. and will conclude with the finals on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.
Ticket prices are as follows: Adult day passes are $7, tournament passes $12 and finals only passes $5. For students with an activity card and for children 12 and under, costs are $6, $10, and $4.
Family prices are $25, $40, and $20, respectively.
For more information, contact Bountiful High School at 801-402-3900.