Granger wrestlers qualify for state tournament after first place region finish
Feb 26, 2020 02:52PM
● By Greg James
The Lancers qualified six wrestlers for the state tournament. Damon Alarcon secured a pin in his semifinal match of the divisional qualifier. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Lancers locked in their third straight region wrestling championship on their way to qualifying six for the state tournament.
“We are young, but we are making a lot of progress,” Granger head wrestling coach Sam Vidal said. “From week to week we are getting better and working hard. This is our third region championship in a row even though we lost eight seniors off last year's team.”
Granger junior Park Beeler placed fourth at the state tournament at 160 pounds. He was ranked sixth in the state headed into the final event. His first round victory followed by a quarterfinals loss led to three straight victories in the consolation bracket before falling in the third place match to Tytan Smith (Syracuse) by pin.
“He (Beeler) has a great work ethic and a motor that goes. He lives in the room. I have to wake up early so he can come in and get extra work on his own. He is a leader and team captain. He has the motivation to get better and that is awesome,” Vidal said.
Beeler finished the season with a 43-7 overall record. He recorded 25 pins and the most team points throughout the season. Vidal said Beeler has been instrumental in recruiting and leading the team.
“At 170, Sina (Koloa) started last season. He works with Park. He is an awesome story and has worked on his self-belief. He has adapted to be a strong wrestler,” Vidal said. “At 113, Donovan (Alarcon) is in his second year and has no quit.”
The Lancers qualified six wrestlers for the state tournament: Alarcon, Beeler, Koloa, Alex Jimenez, Macc Fualaau and Martin Lake.
“This is my third year at Granger, my kids are like a family, they support each other,” Vidal said.
Sophomore Arlef Antonio represented the Lancers at the all-star duel during the season. She posted a 16-16 record this season and had 11 pins.
“She has been a pioneer about recruiting other girls, she is like the lone one. Her work ethic, she gives the boys a match, but the boys can be overpowering to her,” Vidal said. “Coaching these girls has helped me learn that they want to be pushed just as hard. They do not want to fail. Once they learn how to fail and come back from it, they kill it.”
The girls state tournament is scheduled to be held Feb. 17 (after press deadline) at Telos U in Lehi. Next year the Utah High School Activities Association has elected to sanction girls wrestling.
Vidal has tried to be honest with his student athletes. He said the sport is one of the toughest things they will ever do.
“At times it is hard to keep the kids involved. We are honest with them that wrestling is hard. We talk about it every day at practice with tough workouts. We tell them that they will hate it at times, but the more you push you will find out about yourself. It takes someone special to wrestle. It is that grind they have to push through to become better people,” he said.