San Juan wrestling team climbs into top five with outstanding state tournament performance
by Rhett Sifford
The San Juan High School wrestling team came home fifth in the state in 2A with 106 points after a grueling two-day tournament at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield February 4-5.
It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for a team that entered the tourney as the #23 seed in the state. They were the fourth-best team in largest seed-place difference when all was said and done.
The Broncos were led by Callen Burke, who won an individual state championship at 215 pounds over Brock Hardinger of South Sevier by third-period fall.
Burke won all three of his matches in the championship round by fall, also beating Millard’s Chaz Ashton in the quarterfinals and Will Wescott of Gunnison in the semis. Burke finishes the season with an impressive 20-4 record.
Taylor Black fell just short of a state title at 285 pounds, suffering a tough loss by 7-0 decision to Tye O’Hanley of Enterprise in the championship match.
Black beat Joseph Swapp of North Sevier and Gabe Simons of Millard in the quarterfinals and semifinals, both by fall. He finishes the year with a 33-12 record.
Also wrestling at 285 pounds, Chance Hoggard battled hard to win third place for San Juan. He beat Max Schaerer of Kanab and Daniel Gates of Millard by fall before losing to eventual state champion O’Hanley in the semifinals.
But Hoggard bounced back to beat North Summit’s Logan Judd by first-period fall in the third-place semifinals and smoked Millard’s Gabe Simons with a 22-second fall in the third place match. Hoggard matched Callen Burke’s 20-4 win-loss record on the season.
Two Broncos brought home fifth-place finishes. Tayden Mark went 2-2 on the weekend at 165 pounds with both wins by fall, beating Brooks Christensen of Millard in the fifth place match.
Deklan Helquist was 4-2 at the tournament at 113 pounds with two wins by decision and one by fall. He beat Drey Stubbs of Kanab by 5-4 decision in the fifth place match. Stubbs had beaten Helquist in the quarterfinals.
Landon Black and Tyler Winn both finished in sixth place for San Juan. Black was 3-3 on the weekend with all three wins by fall. Winn went 2-3 with one win by fall and one by decision.
At 157 pounds, Trace Bennett went 2-2 at the tournament with both wins by fall. Three Bronco wrestlers were 1-2 on the weekend with their wins all by fall: Logan Keith (144 pounds), JD Palmer (138), and Nick Joe (126).
Zach Palmer, Tyler Bayles, Lynnox Benn, Treshon Billie, and Taren Bayles all worked hard for San Juan at the tournament also, in their outstanding fifth-place effort.
Following the trip to Richfield, San Juan Assistant Coach Shane Musselman congratulated all the wrestlers on a job well-done and said their tournament performance was “a step in the right direction.”
He added that the coaches were proud of all the wrestlers and look forward to taking another big step next year. He encouraged all the wrestlers to “study hard, hit the weight room, and stay competitive.”
Congratulations to Head Coach Steve Simpson, Assistant Coach Shane Musselman, and all the San Juan Bronco wrestlers on an excellent 2021-22 season.