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Pleasant Grove • Brock Moore paced back and forth on the far side of the Pleasant Grove wrestling room. Dozens of wrestlers grappled in pairs along the mat, and the coach barked directions at them, the intensity in his voice escalating as the drill continued.
It was a simple scene, one that doubtless takes place at many Vikings practices. But it was more than just daily training to the wrestlers. To them, the secret to the Vikings' success in recent seasons is what happens in the wrestling room when no one else is around.
"We're all about working hard," said senior Zac Dawe, who will be one of seven Vikings competing in Tuesday night's Utah Amateur Wrestling Foundation All-Star Dual matches at Utah Valley University. "Our philosophy is 'Unbreakable' this year. We go out there and we are the hardest working kids in the state. In the country, too."
Moore eventually made his way to the other side of the gym as practice wore on. He bellowed orders as the drills continued. And standing with his arms folded, he recalled the moment the Vikings decided they'd never be out-worked again.
It was the 2010 Class 5A tournament, and a state title had eluded the Vikings by just one point. It would have been the first title since 1997 for Pleasant Grove, one of the state's most successful wrestling programs. To come so close but fall short stung, and the pain eventually spawned a new motto: Every point matters.
"We want to make sure nothing is ever close," Moore said. "We're out there to put points up. We want to beat guys by a lot of points."
The Vikings have made good on their desire to batter their opponents since falling short in 2010. They've captured the last three team state titles in dominant fashion, and numerous Viking wrestlers have won individual state titles.
Dawe, an eighth-grader when the Vikings lost the 2010 title, said he was blown away at the intensity of the team when practice began the following year. There clearly was a new energy among the team, one that continues to fuel the Vikings three state titles later.
"When I came in, everybody was super motivated like you've never seen before," Dawe said. "There was extreme intensity in the room always and a lot of hard work. It was cool to be a part of."
Dawe, last year's Class 5A state champion in the 285-pound weight class, has had a prime spot to witness the program's transformation over the last four years. But even newcomers realize the wrestling culture at Pleasant Grove is different than anywhere else.
Sophomore Ben Anderson, who won state at 106 pounds last year, said every member of the team is committed to more than just personal achievement. The star wrestlers want everyone on the team to have success, something he said only breeds more success as younger wrestlers develop.
"It's more of a team effort than an individual effort," he said. "As a team we help each other drill hard, and we push and motivate each other to work hard. It helps us prepare. ... That's why we're so good as a team. We're always building each other up."
Utah Amateur Wrestling Foundation All-Star Dual
P 7 p.m. Tuesday
at Utah Valley University's UCCU Center
Matches to watch
Taylorsville's Roy Nash vs. Kearns' Colton Grossaint (220 pounds) • The pair of seniors have combined for three state titles, and this match should be fantastic. Nash went undefeated last season, while Grossaint has collected state titles the last two seasons.
Altamont's Rylee Foy vs. Pleasant Grove's TJ Wind (170 pounds) • Foy has won two consecutive 1A state titles and will get a chance to add to his impressive resume against the reigning 5A state champ.
Maple Mountain's Kimball Bastian vs. Juab's Dalton Harmon (170 pounds) • Both wrestlers appeared in Wrestling USA Magazine's national preseason senior rankings. Bastian is the reigning 4A champ at 160, while Harmon is chasing his first title after second- and third-place finishes at state.
Cedar City's Dusty Hone vs. Maple Mountain's Taylor LaMont (132 pounds) • Hone boasts three state titles and a 122-2 career high school record entering his senior season. He'll face LaMont, a sophomore with a state title of his own. LaMont also placed 11th at the championships in Greco-Roman.
Weight class • Wrestler (Team, School)
106 • Cameron Hunsaker (5A, American Fork) vs. Jaxon Cole (2A, North Summit)
106 • Nelson Jones (Wild Card, Pleasant Grove) vs. Cooper Skinner (3A, Bear River)
106 • Braiden Parker (4A, Wasatch) vs. David Van Tassell (1A, Duchesne)
113 • Kyson Levin (5A, Pleasant Grove) vs. Josh Allen (2A, Delta)
113 • Tanner Cox (4A, Maple Mountain) vs. Brock George (Wild Card, Syracuse)
113 • Cameron Dickinson (3A, Richfield) vs. Tanner Jeffreys (1A, Wayne)
120 • Ryan Hansen (4A, Maple Mountain) vs. Matt Lee (2A, South Summit)
120 • Chandler Strand (5A, Herriman) vs. Jayden Pentz (3A, Morgan)
120 • Josh Jensen (Wild Card, Payson) vs. Brady Farnsworth (1A, Altamont)
126 • Riley Loveless (3A, Payson) vs. Ben Anderson (5A, Pleasant Grove)
126 • Kedric Coonis (Wild Card, Uintah) vs. Trent Kelly (4A, Maple Mountain)
126 • Bracken Lovell (2A, Delta) vs. Hunter Bowring (1A, Monticello)
132 • Dusty Hone (3A, Cedar City) vs. Taylor LaMont (4A, Maple Mountain)
132 • Jaydon Rogers (5A, Fremont) vs. McCrae Thatcher (2A, Millard)
132 • Zach Allen (1A, Piute) vs. Andrew Bartholomew (Wild Card, American Fork)
138 • Matt Findlay (5A, Alta) vs. Johnny O'Hearon (4A, Maple Mountain)
138 • Hagen Loveless (3A, Payson) vs. Brandon Musselman (1A, Monticello)
138 • Victor Almanza (2A, Delta) vs. Greg Lamb (Wild Card, Corner Canyon)
145 • Branson Ashworth (4A, Spanish Fork) vs. Beau Blackham (3A, Uintah)
145 • Teague Vigil (5A, Syracuse) vs. Cameron Killian (Wild Card, Maple Mountain)
145 • Dillon Thurston (2A, North Sevier) vs. Preston Stephenson (1A, Wayne)
152 • Matt Williams (4A, Box Elder) vs. Brendon Sorenson (2A, North Sevier)
152 • McKay Prince (3A, Hurricane) vs. Cole Eldredge (1A, Monitcello)
152 • Colton Marshall (5A, Layton) vs. Walker Van Tassell (Wild Card, Salem Hills)
160 • Jacob Armstrong (4A, Salem Hills) vs. Bailey Carlson (5A, Pleasant Grove)
160 • Lucas Batin (3A, Dixie) vs. Jordan Wengreen (Wild Card, Mt. Crest)
160 • Tyler Gamble (2A, Millard) vs. Dakota Clark (1A, Rich)
170 • Kimball Bastian (4A, Maple Mountain) vs. Dalton Harmon (3A, Juab)
170 • TJ Wind (5A, Pleasant Grove) vs. Rylee Foy (1A, Altamont)
170 • Travis Gillman (2A, Beaver) vs. Kaden Campbell (Wild Card, Union)
182 • Micah Gill (4A, Mt. View) vs. Will Lang (5A, West)
182 • Dylan Brown (2A, Manti) vs. Wyatt Koelling (5A, Davis)
182 • Austin Wilcox (1A, Monticello) vs. Hunter Neville (3A, Desert Hills)
195 • Breckin Gunter (4A, Box Elder) vs. Landon Brown (5A, Layton)
195 • Cody Stevenson (3A, Desert Hills) vs. David Schena (2A, Delta)
195 • Clay Moss (Wild Card, Jordan) vs. Tony Brown (1A, Altamont)
220 • Roy Nash (5A, Taylorsville) vs. Colton Grossaint (4A, Kearns)
220 • Austin Taylor (Wild Card, Pleasant Grove) vs. Derek Johnson (3A, Payson)
220 • Jesse Durrant (2A, North Sevier) vs. Rowdy Josie (1A, Panguitch)
285 • Zac Dawe (5A, Pleasant Grove) vs. Cole Mair (3A, Uintah)
285 • Micah Ngatuvai (4A, Mt. View) vs. Brackin Stringham (Wild Card, Lehi)
285 • Brenz Staples (2A, North Summit) vs. Hawken Cornia (1A, Rich)
Courtesy of utahwrestling.org