Local grappler brings home the gold
Like his father and grandfather before him, Bryce Jackson is one of the best wrestlers in Utah.
And for the first time in five years, a local has won a state championship as the Carbon High sophomore claimed the 112-lb. title with a 9-2 victory over Wasatch's Morgan Sweat on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Utah Valley University in Orem.
In state competition, Jackman allowed just four points to be scored against him as he worked his way to the coveted state title for his weight class.
"It felt great," Jackman said. "I feel like I really accomplished something special. It was my goal to win a state championship. I wrote it down everywhere."
On Friday, Feb. 12 Jackman pinned Delta's Jose Garcia in the first period. He then pinned Juab High's Corey Lynn. In the semi-finals the next day, Jackman pinned Park City's Brandon Woolstenhulme in the first round. He had allowed only two earned points so far.
In the finals Jackman defeated Wasatch's Morgan Sweat, 9-2, for the state title. Jackman's state championship is the first for Carbon High since 2005. That was when Dustin Howa, now wrestling for William-Penn College in Iowa, won the title at 135 pounds.
Jackman's regular season was nearly as perfect as his state run as he amassed a 43-2 record with championship titles in six major tournaments.
After placing fifth in state as a freshman last year while overcoming a mid-season elbow injury, Jackman went all the way to the top.
The 10th-grader is the son of Tammy and Montel Jackman, also a two-time Utah state champion from North Sevier High School. In addition, the young man's grandfather, Ferron Jackman, claimed a state title at Juab High in Nephi.
"It was pretty amazing," said Montel Jackman in describing seeing his son's arm raised in victory. "I had tears in my eyes. He worked hard and trained hard. It was great to see him win the title."
The elder Jackman also claimed that while his two championships (at 132 and 138-lbs.) were great, he was much prouder of his son's acheivement. "And he's only a sopomore; he has two more years," the father added.
As far as Bryce is concerned, the family linage was a powerful incentive. "Yeah, I was under a lot of pressure to follow in my grandfather and father's footsteps," he said.
"There was pressure but it also makes me so happy that I was able to make them proud of me. Now I can't wait for next year to defend my title."
The titleholder went on to express appreciation to his family, friends, coaches and teammates. "They were all with me on this road, everyone of them," he said.
Senior Cole Hunt took fourth place in the 140-lb class. His season record is 35-5. Hunt placed first through fouth in six major tournaments. He intends to continue wrestling at the college level next year.
Also placing in the state tournament in fifth place was Wyatt Martinez at 130-lbs. He is a junior this year. Martinez's hope for a championship title was diminished when he severely injured a knee in the regional tournament making it very difficult to perform at maximum efficiency.
Martinez completed the season with an impressive record of 41-6, placing 1st through 4th in eight major tournaments.
Greg Eichelberger contributed to this article