State Title in Sights

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ETV news stock photo by Dusty Butler

Emery enters this year with an unbelievably-loaded crew from top to bottom. “I’m varsity quality two or three deep most of the way through my team this year. We’re stacked,” explained head coach Kirk Christiansen. The measure of that quality is high, not just for the Spartans, but for the state.

“We have 13 returning state placers and 20 returning state qualifiers.” Christiansen added, “I have three freshman that are junior high school state champions.” Defending state champion Hayes Dalton will return along with Bryar Meccariello, who came up just short in the championship round. They are two of 11 seniors on the squad. “This is the best team I’ve ever had,” proclaimed Christiansen.

The Spartans finished fourth in state last year behind Juab, Delta and Morgan. Delta and Morgan have great programs year after year, but Juab has dominated the state for the past several seasons. Emery has its sights set to change that this year. “We expect to win a state title,” Christiansen declared. “I really think I can put 10 finalists in. That’s a lofty goal, but it’s awesome. These guys are amazing.”

There are only 14 weight classes, so the idea of 10 of those 14 championship matches featuring a Spartan is simply incredible. “We are going to attack it like a screaming demon,” he stated.

Christiansen then went through each weight class and named two to four wrestlers that will battle each week for a varsity spot. “We fill our roster and we fill it two or three deep in most places, which is going to be fun,” he reiterated. “It will be a battle to see who varsity 106 is. It could be a knockout, drag down fight.” The same could be said about nearly every weight class as state placers and qualifiers are littered throughout the unit.

The Spartans’ greatest advantage, however, is what their depth allows them to do. Competition is a breeding ground for success and the competition level at each weight and surrounding weights is high. “Practice partners, that’s the biggest thing. We have a lot of partners, both up a weight and down a weight, so we don’t have to wrestle the very same kid all year,” Christiansen said. “We get to wrestle kids of all weights, some that are lighter and faster and some that are bigger and stronger, and we develop our technique and our stamina and really attack it. I couldn’t be more supercharged about my team and how it looks.”

Like many throughout the state, Christiansen is worried the season could be taken from them. “Make it work,” pleads Christiansen. “My seniors in high school deserve it. They’ve worked their whole lives for a season like this.” Coaches, players and supporters around the state echo his words. One thing is certain, though; if the Spartans take the mat, they will be a lot of fun to watch.

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