Wrestling takes another step forward with Wilcox state championship
Sophomore Riley Noble wrestles against Zak Kohler of Wasatch in the state championship match. Noble finished the season with a 42-10 record. (Macy Wilcox)
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Olympus High School wrestling saw great success as their season came to a close this month with sophomore Isaac Wilcox winning the state championship in the 138 weight division. Sophomore Riley Noble finished as runner-up in the 132 weight division.
“I felt pretty good,” Wilcox said of winning the state title. “It was totally worth it, all the practices I’ve been through, all the hard work I’ve been through, it’s just a pretty good feeling of accomplishment.”
Wilcox, an All-American in freestyle wrestling, finished the year with a 49-2 record. He won the championship match by tech fall 17-2 (where the match is called once you get up by 15 points).
Head Coach Devin Ashcroft said it’s the time and effort Wilcox puts in outside of his matches that separates him.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much time Isaac puts in…it’s fun to see him be able to achieve his goal, which was to be a state champion, and put in all that time and have it be worth something for him,” Ashcroft said.
After finishing third in 2016, Wilcox entered the spring season wrestling Greco-Roman style, which he trained in through July. He earned a seventh-place finish at the Cadet National USA wrestling tournament during that time. This year, he wants to do both freestyle and Greco-Roman.
Ashcroft said it’s Wilcox’s strength, speed and driven nature that forms the state champion.
“He sets goals and looks at what he wants to accomplish and really works towards those throughout the season and stays pretty focused towards those goals,” Ashcroft said. “Isaac’s really strong and he’s very quick so the combination of those two things makes it really hard for a lot of wrestlers to stop him.”
Noble, who finished the year with a 42-10 record, lost in the state championship match to Zak Kohler of perennial power Wasatch. A place, Ashcroft said, not many people expected him to be despite his taking first in the qualifying tournament the weekend previous.
“He kind of caught a few people off guard. We knew that Riley was as good as he demonstrated… A lot of people didn’t anticipate him to do that good but we always expected that he would,” Ashcroft said. He added Noble peaked at the right at the end of the season.
“He’s wrestled the best tournaments he’s wrestled all year long” in the final two tournaments, Ashcroft said.
Where Wilcox is speed and power, Noble is technique.
“He’s not the strongest or the quickest like Isaac is, but he knows a lot of different moves and he will set them up and get guys in the position he needs them to be in so that he can score, so he’s technically very sound,” Ashcroft said.
Ashcroft and Wilcox only see this as the beginning for a team brimming with talented underclassmen.
Besides Wilcox and Noble, the Titans will see sophomore Jacob Degraw and freshman Emerson Conlon returning to potentially compete for the state title in their respective weight classes.
“I feel like we learned a lot and by the time we’re seniors we’re gonna be pretty good if we continue learning as much as we did and being better every day,” Wilcox said.
Ashcroft said their quality extends off the mat as well.
“They’re not just good wrestlers, they’re good young men that work hard and make really good decisions in their lives. We’ve got a really bright future coming through,” he said.
With the high school season complete, Olympus wrestling started its club season on Feb. 21. The club team works three styles of wrestling — folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman — for ages 5 to 18.
Taught by Tom Hickenlooper, a former All-American, Ashcroft said the club has a “high-caliber, high-quality coach that’s coming in to teach some of those extra styles.” It is what Wilcox did a year ago and other members of the team are expected to join.
For any interested in joining, no matter the wrestling ability, you can learn more at www.olympuswrestling.com.