Not many wrestlers get to say they went undefeated in the most important tournament of their lives, but Union wrestler, Wyatt Perry can. “I am a state champion!” he can exclaim. It will always be his to say and no one can take it away from him.
Wyatt, a senior, defeated Nick Bingham, Bear River–2014 state champion–in the 120 pound weight class by decision (12-8) in the final match of his high school career at the 3A state championships held at Utah Valley University February 13 and 14, 2015. Wyatt is the son of Glade and Marsha Perry, Roosevelt. Wyatt’s state title comes 2 years after Union’s most recent champion in Steven Welsh, 2013.
A wrestler’s season is usually far from perfect and such was the case for Wyatt this year finishing his senior year with still, an impressive 41-9 win-loss record. The important thing was that as the season progressed, Wyatt also improved and gained more experience.
Early in the season, he won the Desert Thunder Duals, but particularly came on strong the last three weeks winning the Region 10 Tournament, the North Divisional Tournament, and then the State Championships last weekend.
According to first year Union head coach, Rod Sager, it was the improvement in a single weakness that put Perry over the top. “Wyatt is the best bottom wrestler that I have ever been around,” said Sager. “He improved on his feet this year tremendously and that is what made the difference.”
But even though the technique was strong, Wyatt knows the sport of wrestling can be cruel at times and in a tournament setting, endurance and determination can sometimes outweigh the skills. So what makes a champion? “I ran harder than everybody else, did more pushups,” Wyatt said. “I wanted it more than everybody else.”
“It came from hard work and wanting it more than the other guy,” added Coach Sager. “During the finals at the north divisionals in the middle of his match with the Bingham wrestler during blood time, Wyatt looked at me after we cleaned him up and he said, ‘I am going to be a state champion!’ Sure enough he was.”
When asked if there was any doubt he might not reach his goal of a state title, Wyatt replied, “Early in the match he took me down and it set me back a little, but I never doubted.” Confidence and determination were the keys for Wyatt. “I knew I could beat him and I knew I was tough enough.”
Coach Sager added that many of his Union and junior high wrestlers have the potential to be winners. “We have many potential state champs. Believe it, want it, and go get it!”
“You have to want it. Not just kind of want it,” Wyatt added. “Go out there and get it. Don’t just do it half way.”
“I thank all of my coaches for the great men they are,” Wyatt said. “Coach Sager is the nicest and most humble man. He won’t let anyone say too much good about him. He just sets a good example.”
Other Union wrestlers finishing in the top 5:
McKoy Richards, Union, 3rd place match, defeated Jesse Schroemges, Payson
Ethan Del Toro, Desert Hills, 3rd place match, defeated Dillon Gurr, Union
Keldon Collins, Union, 5th place match, defeated Caleb Harris, North Sanpete
Maka Kioa, Tooele, 3rd place match, defeated Kenneth Ross, Union
The Payson Lions (228.5) won the team title while Uintah (161.5) finished 3rd, Morgan (130.5) 7th, and Union (91) tied with Cedar for 8th place.
The Union coaching staff includes head coach Rod Sager, assistants Greg Robbins, Shaun Swiger, Roland McKook, Trent Richens, and Gilbert Evans.