CEDAR CITY — The Canyon View High School girls wrestling team took first place in the 3A classification’s Divisional B meet last week.

Canyon View High School girls wrestling team lines up on the mat at divisionals, Castle Dale, Utah, Jan. 30, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Canyon View High Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

Competing along with eight other 3A teams at Emery High School in Castle Dale, the Falcons saw one dozen wrestlers make it to the finals of their respective brackets, with six winning and six finishing second.

Canyon View sophomore Julia Kay stayed unbeaten for the season by pinning Abbigail Olsen of Providence Hall in the finals of the 115 pound category, one minute and 15 seconds into the first round. Kay improved her season record to 41-0 with the victory.

Also keeping her undefeated season record intact was 235-pound Tilisa “T” Matakaiongo, who defeated her own teammate and fellow junior Maitae Cardenas in their finals match, also by first-round pin.

Matakaiongo, who is now 12-0 this season, has missed a number of wrestling events throughout the season because she also competes as a member of Canyon View High School’s drill team. The Talons won their third consecutive state 3A championship in Orem on Thursday night.

Also performing well for Canyon View at divisionals was Tilisa Matakaiongo’s younger sister, freshman Meletilini “Leenee” Matakaiongo, who won the 155-pound bracket by pinning Sydnei Christensen of Richfield just 17 seconds into the first round, thereby improving her season record to 37-3.

In the finals of the 190-pound bracket, Canyon View sophomore EliAnna “Snail” Santos-Banks improved to 41-5 on the season with a first-round pin of Juab sophomore Macee Ercanbrack.

Canyon View High School wrestlers (L-R) Meletilini Matakaiongo, Gemma Carter and Tilisa Matakaiongo hold championship banners at 3A girls divisionals, Castle Dale, Utah, Jan. 30, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Canyon View High Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

At 110 pounds, Canyon View senior Kristie Jensen (40-5) defeated Juab’s Andelynn Stephensen in the finals by a 3-2 decision.

And in the finals of the 135-pound bracket, Canyon View sophomore Gemma Carter edged Carbon senior Fortune Ward in a 13-12 decision.

“It was a really even match, a back-and-forth barnburner,” said Travis Carter, coach of the Canyon View girls wrestling team and also Gemma’s father. “Gemma tied it up at the last bit of the third round, so it went into overtime and then Gemma was able to take her down. It was awesome.”

Besides heavyweight runner-up Cardenas, five other Falcons made it to the finals of their respective brackets and finished second, namely Brynlee Lauritzen at 105 pounds, Marley Castaneda at 120, Brooklyn Barney at 125, Karissah Haymore at 140 and Kelsey Diane Weaver at 145.

Third-place finishers for the Falcons were Mayra Castillo at 100 pounds, Taylor Dittmer at 115, Gwendaline Gardiner at 130 and Lizbet Rodriguez at 155.

Other Canyon View wrestlers who placed at divisionals and qualified for state included   Emma Lytle, Takyera Taylor, Kenzie Mclntosh, Mya Headlee, Arrian Seeley, Adriana Sierra and Yanamarie Zorrilla.

Travis Carter also noted that Canyon View wrestlers also took home both of the outstanding wrestler awards for the divisional tournament, with Leenee Matakaiongo winning the honor for the upper weights and Kristie Jensen winning it for the lower weights.

All 25 of Canyon View’s wrestlers qualified for the upcoming 3A girls state tournament, which will be held Feb. 16-17 at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield.

Meanwhile in the 3A classification’s Divisional A meet held Tuesday at Union High in Roosevelt, Grantsville emerged as the overall winner with 296 points, making the Cowboys a key opponent for the Falcons at state.

“I think Grantsville dominated as well,” Carter said, adding, “But I do feel like we had a lot more competition at at our divisional, with Juab, Carbon and Richfield, who all scored above 125 points. I think we had the tougher division and I’m hoping that pays off (at state).”

“Grantsville is taking 26 girls to state and we’re taking 25,” Carter added. “I think it’ll be a pretty even matchup.”

Carter, who also has a daughter wrestling at the collegiate level as well one competing in middle school, said he appreciates the opportunities and benefits associated with the sport.

Canyon View High School wrestling coach Travis Carter and daughter Gemma Carter at divisional meet, Castle Dale, Utah, Jan. 30, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Canyon View High Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Being a father of three daughters, it’s one of the biggest blessings in my life just to know that they’re going to go on in life knowing how to take care of themselves and to have those friendships,” he said. “It’s just such a comforting thing. I wish more parents would realize that it’s such a good thing for kids. It has so many benefits.”

3A girls wrestling Division B team scores

Castle Dale, Jan. 30, 2024

Canyon View, 305.
Juab, 193.
Richfield, 164.
Carbon, 125.
Providence Hall, 58.
South Summit, 51.
Ben Lomond, 10.
Emery, 7.
Ogden, 6.

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