WENDELL — Sam Mitton has wrestled in a lot of third-place matches, but this year, he’s aiming for the 2A state title match.
He took a big step in that direction at this weekend’s Magic Valley Classic in Wendell, dominating his first-place match with an 18-3 technical fall after entering as the No. 3 seed. He was also named the most outstanding wrestler for the event.
Mitton, a senior at Oakley High School, has not found the championship match at the state tournament, but has always been right at the cusp of one — third place in 2015 and 2016, then fourth place in 2017.
“This year, I’ve just flipped a switch in my mind and said I just don’t want to lose anymore,” he said.
His win in the final event at Wendell started very quick, as he got a takedown and three-second near fall in the first 30 seconds, something he says isn’t often his strategy.
“I’m more of a slow wrestler,” he said. “Usually I pick out flaws and try to act on what I see, but I just took advantage early.”
Mitton is from a lineage of wrestlers. His dad, Zane, and one of his older brothers, Levi, were both state champion wrestlers. His younger brother, Isaac, wrestles with him at Oakley currently and finished fifth in the 132-pound weight class on Saturday.
“We’re just a family of wrestlers,” he said. “It’s what I grew up doing.”
While Mitton was the most outstanding wrestler, the Declo Hornets put up an outstanding performance as a team.
Declo finished second in the Classic, despite placing only one wrestler, Dawson Osterhout (220-pound weight class), in the finals. However, five of six Hornets in third-place matches earned victories.
“Second place isn’t what we wanted, but we did well today,” Declo head coach K.C. Wells said.
Ririe edged Declo for the team championship, blowing by the field with a score of 212. The Hornets finished with 178 points.