Brighton wrestlers ready to go toe-to-toe with state's top competitors
Feb 01, 2018 10:00AM ● Published by City Journals Staff
Brighton High wrestling expects send various wrestlers to the state meet. (Photo/Jerry Christensen)
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Contending for a state championship won’t be easy this season for the Brighton wrestling team, but head coach Mitchell Stevens loves what he sees out of his squad.
The Bengals have spent the season ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A. As of Jan. 17, the team was rated ninth in the competitive classification. Thanks to region realignments, Brighton has gone up against the likes of Wasatch (which Stevens believes is the best team in the state, regardless of classification) and Viewmont, which Wrestle Utah ranks as No. 1 in 5A.
“Things are going pretty well,” Stevens said. “The kids are exceeding expectations.”
Though neither Wasatch nor Viewmont are in Brighton’s region, Stevens hasn’t been shy about facing these and other top programs in the state this season. He knows the fierce competition will only pay dividends in the postseason.
“I scheduled some tough tournaments,” he said. “We’ve seen some of the best teams. I want the kids to know what to expect; I want to prepare them for state.”
Stevens expects several of his wrestlers to find their places on the podium at the state meet the first week of February at Utah Valley University. His top athlete is defending state champion Brayden Stevens, who is currently ranked No. 1 at the 145-pound class.
“He’s our best wrestler,” Mitchell Stevens said. “He was invited to the high school all-star meet to represent 5A.”
A pair of freshman have stepped up and performed well this season. Bryce Hysong, at 106 pounds, and Rylan Stevens, at 145 pounds, are part of what Mitchell Stevens calls his “best freshman class” he’s had in his five years at the school. The Bengals will lose just three seniors off this year’s squad. Mitchell Stevens said the JV team has also performed well. He’s expecting several youngsters from that squad to lead the varsity team in the next few years.
“As long as the kids stick together and work hard, Brighton should be in good shape,” he said. “The kids have a good attitude. They get along pretty well.”
Other standouts on the team include 113-pounder Justin Lewis, who began the year at 120 pounds; 126-pounder Anthonee Ouk, who is ranked fourth in Class 5A; and 132-pounder Jaxson Wilde.
“[Wilde] as beat some of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state,” Mitchell Stevens said. “[Ouk] is one of the hardest workers on the team; he tries hard and is a great kid. I couldn’t ask for more. [Lewis] and [Rylan Stevens] are doing really well.”
By the time the season ends, Mitchell Stevens hopes his team is in the thick of the 5A race.
“I want to be in the top 5” he said. “It depends on everyone coming together and wrestling to their potential when it matters.”