Spartan Grapplers Rising Up


ETV News Stock Photo by Dusty Butler

After taking fourth in state last year, the Spartans have their sights set on cracking the top three. Emery brings back a number of state qualifiers, including Monty Christiansen, Merritt Meccariello, Hayden Christiansen, Dane Sitterud, Easton Thornley, Dalton Birch and Gregory Swan. They will be joined by other returners and a big class of quality freshman.

“We’re fired up and ready to rock and roll,” said head coach Kirk Christiansen.

Monty (106) will come into the season with the top seed after taking third last year in state, while Merritt will be the #2 or #3 seed in 120. In addition, Hayden is projected to take the 132 spot while a couple other freshman will man the middle.

“It’s going to be a real battle for the ’13 spot,” explained Christiansen. “In 126, I’ve got a couple stud freshman coming in. I should be strong, strong right up to 132.”

Other freshmen will compete with returners in the middle weights as well, showing the strength of the incoming freshman class. “I’ve got some of those freshmen that I’m really excited about,” Christiansen said. “They are looking really good.”

More depth and experience is evident in the upper weight classes. “I have a bunch of studs up high too. Above 175 and below 132 we are stacked. In the middle there, I’ve got a bunch of athletes, but their experience level is low.” Christiansen continued, “It just depends on what kind of fire they come out with and how they respond to our program.” That is with the exception of Birch, who returns with state experience and will be back to compete at 150.

Christiansen then went on to praise Jon Faimalo and the football staff on an excellent season. “Those boys were firing on all cylinders and they’re playing as a team. I’m hoping some of that will come back over. I really want that team camaraderie to come on over and keep that enthusiasm.”

The squad as a whole is excited for those leaving the gridiron for the mat and ready to get to work as a group. “This bunch of kids knows the program too and they buy it. That’s a big deal,” Christiansen emphasized. “When they believe in what you’re doing, they will kill themselves to do it. It’s a big deal, so we’re really excited for this bunch of kids.”

Juab, Morgan and South Summit are sure to provide opposition again, but the Spartans are prepared for the challenge. “I should have five finalists, possible state titles, from Monty, Merritt and the three big men,” Christiansen added. “And another handful that if they put their nose to the grind stone, they can be state finalists too. My goal is to put six in the finals and see where that lands us as a team. We should be top three, top two again. [Though the competition is tough], where we are at has made us tough and we’re going to be tough where we’re at.”

In the end, it will all come down to work and dedication. “Extraordinary athletes do extraordinary things,” Christiansen challenged his team.

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