OREM – By Cari Doutre – Feb. 16, 2020
When Jeshua Koch returns to school on Tuesday, Feb. 18, after an eventful three-day weekend, he will do so as the youngest state champion wrestler to walk the halls at Bear River Middle School.
As a freshman on the Bear River High wrestling team, it’s a groundbreaking accomplishment in the school’s wrestling program’s history, and it’s something worth noting.
Jeshua might be new to the world of high school wrestling but that doesn’t mean he’s new to the sport. Jeshua knows what it feels like to be a champion. In fact, he is a three-time junior high state wrestling champion in the Bear River Junior High wrestling program.
Jeshua also knows what it is like to wrestle when the stakes are high, but it was nothing compared to what he went through Feb. 14-15, during in the 4A state wrestling championship tournament at Utah Valley University in Orem.
Competing in the 285-pound weight division this year, Jeshua wrestled opponents that are much older than him with much more wrestling experience.
It didn’t matter though. Jeshua proved that age isn’t what wins state titles - hard work and dedication wins state titles.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, Jeshua defeated Peyton Williams, a junior from Desert Hills High, 8-4, in the 4A state finals. This made Jeshua Bear River High’s first freshman state champion wrestler.
“It’s the greatest feeling ever. There’s nothing that can explain how happy I am,” Jeshua said after the match. “I just wrestled my heart out and I knew no matter what my team would be proud of me and supporting me. I owe it all to them.”
“We’re really happy for Jeshua. He’s a great kid, as you can see. A friend to everyone and everywhere he goes people always love him so it’s fun for a kid that’s that well known and that well liked to have the kind of success that he’s having. It comes from his hard work and his dedication,” said Bear River High’s head wrestling coach Jeff Smart.
“Jeshua has had a plethora of coaches who have just been absolutely phenomenal to him. We are so grateful for everything they've done,” said Jeshua’s mother Tonya Hurst. Among those coaches is Josh Staheli.
“Without Josh he would not be the wrestler he is today,” she added.
There’s another aspect to Jeshua’s success on the wrestling mat that Smart added.
“Jeshua just wrestles. He goes out there and wrestles. I think that’s the purity and the fun of watching him because he’s just so pure and he just wants to wrestle,” he said.
So, what’s Jeshua’s plan for the next three years?
“Just hard work and dedication,” Jeshua said.