BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
OREM С Viewmont’s Tanner Luke was the last grappler to wrestle for the Vikings in the State 5A wrestling tournament, which wrapped up last Thursday at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Center in Orem.
As the only wrestler left with a chance to win an individual state title for Viewmont, Luke fell to Layton’s Andrew Astle in a 1-0 decision. The loss was Viewmont’s only top-two finish in the tournament, and the Vikings were left with a sixth place finish as a team.
“(The finish) was not quite as high a team finish as I though we were capable of this year,” said Vikings coach Brandon Ripplinger in an email. “But I was really bummed out for the couple of individuals that we had hoped to see finish a little higher.”
Taylor Porath, at 106 pounds, was one of those wrestlers mentioned. Porath’s tournament started on the right track with a 15-0 win in the opening round, but the junior lost to Kade Evans of Davis in the quarterfinals, and was pinned in the consolation bracket to fall outside of the podium.
Porath won three tournaments this season at the Richardson Memorial, Layton Invitational and the Divisional B tournament, and was ranked No. 3 in his weight class entering the tournament.
“He just made a couple mistakes in crucial matches and got caught,” said Ripplinger. “I think that was disappointing to him more than anyone, but regardless, he’s been an awesome wrestler all year and just had a cruddy tournament at the wrong time. Everyone knows the kid is a beast, and people will be watching out for him next year.”
Other top placers for the Vikings this season were David Kim (fifth, 126 pounds), Tanner Law (fifth, 152 pounds), and Jake Bednar (third, 195 pounds). Of the trio, only Kim is an underclassman.
A couple of missing pieces may have also contributed to the sixth-place finish by Viewmont, said Ripplinger. The absence of Doug Schulte (170 pounds) and Bill Wakely (182 pounds), who both qualified for the tournament but didn’t wrestle due to injury, held the Vikings from possibly taking a higher position at the end of the tournament.
“We felt both of them were potential medalists,” he said. “It would have been a tall order to realistically run with Pleasant Grove, Layton, or Syracuse, but we did our best to control what we could control and there were a lot of positives along the way.”
Despite the second-place finish by Luke, Ripplinger thought his performance at the state competition was solid, noting wins against Jayden Rogers in the semi-finals and Seth Rich in the quarterfinals as big wins along the way.
Bednar’s third-place finish was an exhilarating one as well, said Ripplinger. Bednar beat Fremont’s Tate Calvert 8-6 and got some well-wanted revenge in the process.
“Calvert had beaten him twice earlier this year,” said Ripplinger. “It was a great match to watch. Bednar came out for wrestling two years ago and has really become a great wrestler by working hard, being extremely coachable, working out with the best guys in the room, and flat out just believing that he is supposed to be good at everything he does.”
Bednar’s finish made him the No. 2 wrestler in all of 5A.
Law’s fifth place finish was also well deserved, said Ripplinger. The senior missed his entire junior season to a knee injury, but rebounded well this season by posting a 23-12 record and a first place finish in the Divisional B tournament.
“He’s another wrestler that stepped up big,” he said. “Three weeks ago he was off everyone’s radar, but by being persistent all season long, focusing his wrestling back to the things he does best, and being really smart in his matches, he was able to finish his career with a podium finish.”
The Vikings scored 79 points as a team, finishing behind Pleasant Grove, Syracuse, Layton, Weber and Fremont in the final standings.