CEDAR CITY — Five Canyon View girls earned individual titles and the Falcons won the school’s first state wrestling championship Saturday in Richfield.

Canyon View wrestlers Tilisa Matakaiongo and Maitae Cardenas occupy the top two spots on the podium for the 235-pound bracket at the 3A girls wrestling state championship, Richfield, Utah, Feb. 17, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Canyon View Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

Canyon View accumulated 311.5 team points to outdistance runner-up Grantsville (229) to claim the 3A trophy.

Eight Falcon wrestlers made it to the finals of their respective weight brackets and five of them won. Among them was  Tilisa “T” Matakaingo, who won the heavyweight (235 pounds) bracket by defeating teammate and fellow junior Maitae Cardenas by a first-round pin. I was her third consecutive individual title.

Matakaiongo also dances for Canyon View’s drill team, and the Talons recently claimed their third consecutive state 3A title.

Also making a stellar showing was Tilisa’s younger sister Meletilini “Lini” Matakaiongo. She defeated Grantsville senior Hailey Broderick in the finals of the 155-pound bracket by a pin midway through the third round. Lini Matakaiongo was also named outstanding wrestler of the tournament, a rare honor for a freshman.

Canyon View head coach Travis Carter said unbeknownst to him, Grantsville’s Broderick was aiming for her third straight state title.

“She gave Lini the toughest match she’s had all year,” he said. “She kind of got her down in the third round but then once Lini got back on top, man, she just pinned her.”

Canyon View wrestlers (L-R) Tilisa Matakaiongo, Gemma Carter and Lini Matakaiongo hold up 3A girls wrestling state championship trophy, Richfield, Utah, Feb. 17, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Canyon View Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

Repeating as state champion for Canyon View was 115-pound sophomore Julia Kay, who finished her season with a perfect 44-0 record. Kay defeated North Sanpete senior Journey Toomey in the finals by an 8-0 major decision.

Finishing out her senior season with a 43-5 record was Canyon View’s Kristie Jensen, who won the 110-pound finals with a 14-3 major decision over sophomore Sophia Camargo of Grantsville.

Carter said when the rest of Jensen’s family moved to Missouri several months ago, Kristie decided to stay in Cedar City and live with her uncle’s household so she could finish out her senior season of wrestling as a Falcon.

“She became our team captain and led our team,” Carter said. “But when she left from the tournament to go home with her mom and dad, every girl on the team was just bawling her eyes out. But it was just so awesome to have that happen.”

Carter said the Falcons “did amazing” at the state tournament, especially on Saturday.

“In the consolation semis, we pinned every single match,” he said. “Like, 12 or 13 in a row. I just said there’s no way we aren’t going to win the state championship after that. The girls just got on a roll and man, there were some huge upsets. It was just amazing.

“Our finalists were impressive,” he added. “But also, to have 10 girls place second through fourth … just the amount of points that they that they put towards the team was just awesome.”

Kristie Jensen of Canyon View holds up her gold medal after winning the 110-pound bracket at the 3A girls wrestling state championship, Richfield, Utah, Feb. 17, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Canyon View Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

“That really made the difference,” Carter added. “Even some of our girls that didn’t place, they took out some of the competition so they couldn’t score it against us.”

Canyon View’s fifth individual state champion was Elianna “Snail” Santos-Banks, who defeated Juab sophomore Macee Ercanbrack in the 190-pound finals by a 3-1 decision.

Taking second place for Canyon View in their respective brackets were freshman Mayra Castillo at 100 pounds, sophomore Gemma Carter at 135 and Cardenas at 235.

Third-place finishers for the Falcons were Brynlee Lauritzen at 105, Marley Castaneda at 120, Brooklyn Barney at 125, Gwendaline Gardiner at 130 and Adriana Sierra at 170.

Fourth-place finishers for Canyon View were Karissah Haymore at 140 and Kelsey Diane Weaver at 145.

Carter thanked assistant coaches Dallas Lowry, Josh Kay and Lizzie Kay for their tremendous help and support.

“It wasn’t any one of us. It was all of us,” he said. “We all had our parts.”

Lowry, who was the team’s previous head coach, has been instrumental in recruiting girls into the program over the past few years

“Dallas sees them in his classes or at lunch time and tells them, ‘I want you to wrestle,” said Carter, adding that a relatively large team played a major role in the Falcons’ run to the title.

“Another thing is, we started off the season with, I think 28 girls,” Carter said. “We lost a couple but that’s it. It’s pretty damn amazing to have 26 girls at the end of a grueling four months of hard work. It’s a really tough, demanding sport. But we had a team, we had leaders, and we had friendships. It was just awesome to be part of that.”

State 3A girls wrestling tournament

Sevier Valley Center, Richfield Feb. 16-17

Top 5 team scores

Canyon View, 311.5.
Grantsville, 229.
Juab, 170.
Union, 161.
North Sanpete, 95.

Click here for complete results.

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