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The City Journals

Beeler wins state wrestling championship

Mar 29, 2021 12:24PM ● By Greg James

For the first time in 25 years, Granger has a state wrestling champion, Park Beeler at 160 pounds. (Photo courtesy of Sam Vidal)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

In November, when the governor pressed pause on high school sports, many people wondered if we would have any more competition this school year. 

Granger High School senior Park Beeler is glad the green light was given. He won the first wrestling state title for the Lancers in 25 years.

“When it first happened I was overwhelmed,” Beeler said of his victory. “I had a sort of dopamine high. It was my last year and I have worked so hard all four years. I came into every single match ready to have fun.”

Beeler pinned Kael Bennine from Layton High School in the championship match. It finished a season that he accomplished many things.

“I wanted to become a state champion since my freshman year,” Beeler said.

He finished the year with a 37-3 overall record. His second-place finish in the divisional tournament qualified him for state, but it prepared him for the state tournament.

“I felt like at divisionals I had an easy ride to the final. I left it up to a questionable call (in the final match) by the referee and lost,” Beeler said.

His divisional loss was at the hands of Jordan Faifai from Syracuse 4-3, but he used it as motivation to bounce back at state.

“Going into state I felt I was on the harder side of the bracket. I had to beat guys that I had lost to earlier this season. I pinned guys early on and then the semifinal came around,” Beeler said.

The semifinal match was against Mahkyi Smith from Skyridge High School. 

“I was not confident in my ability in that match. I was worried about winning and losing. He got me on my back and I was down 5-0,” Beeler said.

He got his groove and took him down to start the second period. After that, he was able to score four more takedowns to score enough for a 9-8 victory. 

“It was tied at seven with 40 seconds left. He got out and I ran an ankle pick for the last takedown to ride him out for the last five seconds,” Beeler said.

Granger’s wrestling team was impacted the entire season with COVID cancellations and the death of head coach Sam Vidal’s mother from the disease.

“It was a hard time, but these kids are just like part of my family and they rallied around me and our team,” Vidal said.

The team had fewer wrestlers because of the pandemic this season. They finished second in Region 2 after capturing the title for the last three years.

“That was our goal (to win region) and it hurt, but it humbled us. I am super proud of Park. He had to work and has an ethic that is nonstop. Winning is a result of the way we train, but not the main factor of what we do. I think the growth he has had as a young man is more impressive to me,” Vidal said.

The Lancers had six wrestlers qualify for state. Seniors Donovan Alacon, Patricio Vazquez-Hernandez and Beeler; juniors Isai Hernadez and Vitika Tausinga and sophomore Carlos Ruiz.

“This is a tough sport, one of the toughest things you can do,” Beeler said. “After you do your best things will have a place in your life.”