Highland wrestling places eighth in divisionals, sends five to state
Feb 21, 2019 14h34
By Josh McFadden
Highland's Jonah Gaye competes with an opponent from a match earlier this season. (Photo courtesy of Ted Sierer)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
The high school wrestling season is a long one—starting in November and extending into February. It begins with rigorous practices and workouts, followed by a slew of tournaments and duel meets.
The biggest tests come at the beginning of February with the divisional and state meets.
The Highland Rams competed with other Class 5A teams at the divisonals on Feb. 2, held at West High School. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class earned a place at the state meet, Feb. 13–14 at Utah Valley University.
Highland competed in Division B with 11 other squads and finished in eighth place with 102 total points, just ahead of East, which had 99, and a good distance behind sixth-place Jordan, which ended up with 161.
The Rams had five representatives secure a spot at state. The top competitors for Highland were Colin Sierer and Paul Clark. Sierer, son of head coach Ted Sierer, was runner-up in the 106-pound class, while Clark was the No. 2 finisher at 182 pounds.
“This set them up with pretty good seeds going into the state tournament,” Ted Sierer said. “They wrestled well throughout the tournament and showed some of the best wrestling they have done throughout the season.”
Three other Rams made it to state. Isaiah Gonzalez finished in fourth place in the 126-pound weight class. Taten Sykes punched his ticket to state by placing sixth at 160 pounds. Eli Curtis was Highland’s final qualifier, doing just enough to get in, as he placed eighth in the 106-pound class to join teammate Colin Sierer. Jonah Gaye was ninth place in his group, meaning he was an alternate at state.
“I thought we wrestled well at the divisional tournament,” Ted Sierer said. “It is a tough tournament because it is half of the teams in the 5A classification. It’s basically a mini-state tournament.”
Ted Sierer has high hopes for his son and for Clark. Both did well all season, and could last deep into the state rounds, he said.
“I look forward to seeing how well Colin and Paul do at state,” he said. “They both have a great chance to place really high. If they can wrestle to the best of their abilities, the sky is the limit for them. They will both have some difficult matches, but I feel that they can both rise to the occasion.”
Ted Sierer said the biggest surprise at the divisional tournament was Curtis. Though he wrestles in the smallest weight class of 106 pounds, he weighs 88 pounds and overcame some challenges to reach state.
“He is basically wrestling people 20 pounds heavier than him,” he said. “I wasn't counting on him to be one of the ones who would be going to state. He beat the kids he needed to beat to make it in. I am excited for him.”
A few days before state began, Ted Sierer reflected on his goals and hopes for the tournament. He said he wanted to see at least four of the five qualifiers place. He knows this won’t be an easy feat. His competitors have been through a lot physically and mentally during the season. Still, he’s impressed with everyone’s resolve to do their best and put a memorable cap on the season.
“The wrestlers are tired at this point in the season, but they are excited to get out on the mat again and finish strong,” he said. “They continue to have great attitudes and come out ready to battle each time they step on the mat.”