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The City Journals

Bingham wrestling has a couple of tough grapplers

Feb 09, 2017 04:43PM ● By Billy Swartzfager

A Bingham wrestler takes an opponent to the mat in a match. (Lauren Heap/Resident)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]

Wresting is a tough sport. Matches are three brutal rounds of constantly flexing muscles, most of them all at once. Wrestlers have to practice a lot to be able to hang with talented opponents on the mat. They need to participate in weight training and cardio workouts to be able to bring everything needed to a three round match, not to mention the countless hours in the wrestling room, honing escape moves, holds and takedowns. 

Bingham has a few grapplers who fit the bill with the toughness required to finish a match and have their hand raised in victory more often than not. The team as a whole isn’t ranked in Class 5A, according to, a leading website for all things related to the sport in Utah. The Miners finished last season in 13th place in 5A after the state tournament with 54 points. Most of those points were earned by Coby Vandertoolen and Cole Moody, both of whom were crowned state champions.

Bingham lost Vandertoolen to graduation but are hoping for big things from Moody. He won the state title last season at 160 pounds, going 46-2. He moved up a weight class to 170 this year. Moody is currently ranked No. 1 in 5A at his weight class, and was also listed in Wrestling USA Magazine’s preseason rankings for high school juniors. 

Moody recently squared off in of two featured matches at the annual All-Star Duals on Jan. 2 at Utah Valley University. The elite wrestlers in the state participate in that tournament, and Moody’s match against Brandyn Van Tassell of Maple Mountain was the headliner. Moody, who consequently was ranked behind Van Tassell in the preseason Wrestling USA rankings, won the match by a point, 3-2, in an extremely hard-fought battle with another top ranked grappler. 

Another wrestler Bingham is hoping will bring some success to the team is senior heavyweight Jay Tufele. Tufele is currently ranked fifth in 5A in his weight class and certainly knows how to compete at high levels, under large amounts of scrutiny and stress. 

On the football field, Tufele is a defensive tackle and has offers to play college football, after having won a state championship on the gridiron, from more than a dozen high profile programs, including national powers Washington, USC, Ohio State and Michigan. Tufele is the 10th-ranked recruit at his position in the country, according to ESPN. Moody was also a part of the state championship-winning football team.

The Miners have some experience and know-how on the mat, as well as a couple of shining stars with hardware to boot. They will have a tough hill to climb to see team success though. Region 3 has a few tough teams with solid wrestlers who could stand in Bingham’s way of sitting atop, or near, the top of the standings. 

This season’s state dual championship tournaments are set to begin Jan. 25 at Jordan High School, followed by division tournaments and finally the individual state tournament, beginning Feb. 8 at Utah Valley University.