West Jordan, UT — AAU Wrestling Utah hosted the AAU Grand Nationals three-style wrestling championships June 15-17, 2017. Wrestlers traveled from 13 states and two countries to Draper, Uta., to compete in freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle wrestling.
"It was a real pleasure to host AAU Grand Nationals," said AAU Wrestling Utah Director Bill Kilpack. "It was a great opportunity for those who made the trip to compete with top-notch talent from around the country and overseas."
Wrestlers represented Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee and Utah. Moreover, an athlete from Norway competed, Elias Stotzer-Karlsen.
Kilpack said, "It was very cool to have the boy from Norway. He had only wrestled Greco-Roman because, in Norway, only girls wrestle freestyle and, of course, he had never even seen folkstyle. I arranged for him to have one day on the mat at a wrestling camp to get a little experience attacking legs, then he took 3rd in folkstyle, 2nd in freestyle and 1st in Greco. (He beat a Utah wrestler who has probably only lost a handful of matches in the past years.) Something else that might be worth some research is that he might very well be the first Norwegian to ever wrestle folkstyle."
In team competition, Pioneer Grappling Academy from Palmer, Ak., took first place in all three styles, with Mountain Top Wrestling Club of West Jordan earning runner-up honors in all three styles.
Of local interest was Mountain Top Wrestling Club's Garrick Kilpack of Sandy, who competed in the Cadet (ages 15 and 16) 132 lbs. division. He successfully defended his titles in freestyle and Greco-Roman, adding to it his first national title in folkstyle at AAU Grand Nationals, earning him his first Triple Crown Award. In addition, he was named Outstanding Wrestler in Greco-Roman for the Cadet division, having the most pins and technical falls in the least time.
Another Utahn who excelled was Champions' Riker O'Hearon of Mapleton, Bantam (ages 7 and 8) 65 lbs., who won a Triple Crown and was named Outstanding Wrestler in the Bantam division in all three styles.