ETV News Stock Photo by Rileigh Meccariello
By Julie Johansen
The Tournament of Champions in Vernal always brings some of the toughest wrestlers from Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Uintah High makes a big celebration of wrestling on this weekend tournament with pyrotechnics and flashing lights to set off the final matches.
Emery grapplers scored big again, making it all the way to the finals. Monty Christiansen, wrestling at 113 pounds, gained another first-place medal with three falls and two decision wins.
Christiansen pinned Arnoldi from Rock Springs, Pope from Cokeville, Wyoming, and Good from Eagle Valley, Colorado. In the semifinal match, he won over Todd from Green River, Wyoming, with a 4-2 decision. Then, in the first-place match with Blackett from Juab, he won with an unusual 1-0 decision.
Easton Thornley, wrestling at 285 pounds, was also on his way to first-place honors with a first round fall over Smith from Lone Peak and another fall in the quarterfinal round over Elliott from Salem Hills. He was then injured in the semifinals against LeBlanc from Meeker, Colorado. This injury caused Thornley to have to forfeit the championship round as he ended this tournament in sixth place.
Hazen Meccariello, competing at 157 pounds, also made it to the quarterfinals, where he unfortunately lost to Fornstrom from Pinedale, Wyoming. The Emery team finished 19th out of the 34 teams competing.
Emery JV wrestlers also had a good showing at the Tournament of Champions. The team finished 10th out of 31 teams from Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
Wrestlers Trent Gilbert (106 pounds) and Sam Allen (126 pounds) both finished in second place, losing only the first-place match after four previous wins. Derrick Birch, 126 pounds, also had four falls to add to his score, but two losses gave him a fourth-place finish.
Several other young wrestlers had wins but lost the first round, placing them into the consolation brackets, making it harder to climb back to a placing round.