BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Mark Hirschi, Headliner Sports Writer, January 11, 2022
The Bear River High boys’ wrestling teams (varsity and junior varsity) competed at one of the toughest high school wrestling tournaments in the state last weekend, January 7-8, at Box Elder High.
"The varsity team from Bear River finished in 7th place after a terrible officiating call I will explain later."
The Bears had four wrestlers make the podium at the varsity tournament. River Smith (175) was the highest placer finishing in 2nd place after falling short to his Star Valley High opponent in the championship match. Senior Kaeson Burn (190) had a strong outing securing a 3rd place finish while junior Max Miller (120) finished in 4th place and senior Carson Pond (285) closed out the Bear placers with a 6th place finish.
Kaden Ward (113), Tyson Hirschi (132) and Zach Gunderson (144) all went out in what are considered the “blood rounds” which is one win away from placing. Ty Hawks (126) went 1-2, Dustin Douglas (150) 2-2, Kyle Detwiler (157) 0-2, Kwade Kosoff (165) 0-2, Skyler Yeates (165) 1-2 and Max Anderson (215) went 2-2.
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Bear River High’s freshman sensation Daxton Bingham (106) was disqualified after allegations that he bit an opponent during a match. It came after a well fought match in the semi-finals with the eventual champion. Bingham lost the match 4-2, however, after the match was over his opponent accused him of biting him after his cross face had ended in Bingham’s mouth and scraped his arm. The officials disqualified Bingham from the tournament and took away his previously earned team points. This dropped the Bears from a 5th place overall finish to 7th.
“Once the Bear River coaches found out he had been disqualified a long protest took place. Unwilling to review video or investigate further, the official stood by his call. It is really frustrating in these situations that the official did not witness the alleged bite. In order to disqualify a kid from a tournament you should make sure that the claim really happened. It was a heart-breaking scenario for Bingham. In the future let’s just all hope that the officials are more concern about getting it right than sticking with their original bad call.” – Mark Hirschi
The junior varsity boys finished in 3rd place just a few points behind the 2nd place team Westlake High. On the junior varsity team, the Bears ended up with eight placers on the podium and included Keaton Smith (106) the lone champion finishing on top of the podium after winning his 1st place match 6-4.
Waylan White (113) and Chet Kunzler (126) both finished in 2nd place after losing their finals matches. Vincent Fertig (150) finished in 3rd and rounding out the placers included Jarom Nelson (150) 6th place, Gattlynn Freeze (215) 4th place, Jayden Decoursey (215) 5th place and Aamon Nelson (285) placed 6th.
Up next for the Bear River High boys’ wrestling team is a region home meet against Sky View High on Thursday, January 13, with varsity matches set to begin at 7 p.m. They will then take on the Rumble tournament January 14-15, at the Salt Lake Convention Center.
Photos by Melanie Smith