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West Valley City Journal

Junior high schools compete at district wrestling championships

May 09, 2018 05:27PM ● By Greg James

Max Ashby from Hunter Junior High School lost in the first round of the Granite School District Championships. (Greg James/City Journals)

 By Greg James |  [email protected]          

High school coaches like Bryan McConaha, an assistant wrestling coach at Cyprus High School, have found opportunities to help junior high student athletes learn about their programs before they get to high school. They also offer their experience in a sport that not many are familiar with.

“Wrestling is a mental sport and helps with a drive to do better,” McConaha said. “We help with these teams because of the lack of good wrestling coaches, but it helps us teach these kids the things we want to see them learn rather than bad habits.”

Many of the Granite School District’s junior high schools offer opportunities to participate in competitive wrestling, but many teams lack experienced coaches to lead the participants. This season the District Championships were held March 24 at Cyprus High School.

Several high school coaches including Terry Allen (Hunter) and Chris Luttrell (Cyprus) spend extra time coaching and advising the younger wrestlers by helping junior high teams and off-season wrestling clubs. These experienced coaches are sacrificing their own time for the betterment of their school and team.

Allen works with Hunter Junior High and Luttrell at Matheson Junior High.

 “I try to get a couple of my high school wrestlers to spend time at the junior high,” Allen said. “I think it gives my kids a great chance to teach what they have learned and pass their love of the sport on to younger kids. Having a good junior high program definitely helps us when they get to high school.” 

Allen has also started teaching wrestlers at the Wolverines junior wrestling club. The club is for students in third through eighth grades. 

“Matheson didn’t have a program for a couple of years,” Allen said. “They just did not have anyone that could do it. This year the junior high schedule was after our high school season so it worked out I could help more often.” 

The district championships had wrestlers from eight schools compete. Olympus Junior High won the title by outscoring the second place team, Bennion Junior High, by 115 points. Eisenhower Junior High finished fourth, Matheson fifth, Hunter and Kennedy tied for seventh. 

“I really like wrestling. Getting pins is what is fun,” Hunter Junior High wrestler Max Ashby said after his 5-1 loss to Jonathan Madill from Eisenhower. “It teaches me to keep going and not give up. I hope to keep wrestling all through high school if I can.” 

Ashby said this is first season wrestling.

Olympus won individual titles in 10 of the 17 weight classes. Bennion Junior had two individual champions, Reason Robinson and Chanden Reid. Beau Buchanan from Eisenhower won in the 138 pound weight class.

“Wrestling teaches kids personal control as well as individual fitness techniques,” Allen said.

A team gains success as its individual wrestlers earn placing positions. Wrestling teaches its participants to be responsible for their entire success or failure. Each wrestler is in complete control of everything from personal training, maintaining weight and their individual match win or loss.


The district schools competed in six matches beginning March 1 and concluded with the district championships.