Chet Funk: State champion wrestler first for EHS in 18 years
It has been 18 years since Emery High School last had a wrestling state champion. Now the countdown will start again and hopefully the next champ will come next year.
Last Saturday evening, senior Chet Funk dominated the 170-pound weight class enroute to the 2-A title. Funk finished the year with an official record of 44-3.
Chet had won the divisional title the prior weekend in Richfield by pinning each of the opponents he faced in preparation for the final tournament of the season.
Funk opened the State meet with a pin in the first round against Christensen of Manti. Chet pinned him in 1:10 of the first round. Funk next faced Clegg of South Summit and pinned him even quicker, this time in 1:05 of the first round.
In the semi-finals, Funk faced Daniel Bowman of Kanab. Bowman came into the bout with a 42-14 record. Bowman and Funk battled into the third round before Chet finally pinned with 37 seconds left in the match. Prior to the pin, Funk had built up a big point advantage.
Bowman actually scored the first points against Funk in a match in over a month. Even though Bowman got Funk in a little bit of an early predicament, one never felt that Funk was in trouble and evidently that feeling was right. Funk is not only a great wrestler, he also is one that has put time in to hone his physique and become strong.
In the championship match against Nicholas Degraffenried of North Sevier, Funk faced the opponent that he had opened the season against way back in early December, one of the three opponents that had defeated him throughout the season. Degraffenried was 44-9 coming into this bout.
In the first round, Funk got the takedown and then the two wrestled that way the rest of the round. Funk led 2-0. In the second round, Funk started in the up position and the two stayed that way the entire round. Funk did receive a point though because his opponent was cited for stalling. He was just trying to prevent being pinned the whole way instead of trying to win.
In round three, Funk started in the down position and, with about 40 seconds gone in the round, got a reversal on his man and that is the way the match ended. Funk won 5-0 and was now the state champion.
This story though is not just about Chet Funk. Emery, as a team finished ninth in the 2-A ranks. This is Emery's first top 10 finish in who knows how long. Emery also had two other wrestlers place.
Sophomore Cezly Collard finished fifth in the tournament in the 120-pound weight class and ended the season with a 32-12 record. Collard opened the tournament with two wins before losing to the eventual runner-up. Sophomore Ryan Cox finished in sixth place in the 126-pound weight class and he ended the season with 33-13 record. Both will be counted on next season to help Emery's continued improvement on the mat.
Here are the other wrestlers that participated in the 2-A state tournament this year, Jason Anderson at 113 pounds, Wyatt Oveson at 126 pounds, Paden Wells at 132 pounds, Nagel Viera at 138 pounds, Cole Guymon at 145 pounds, Dakota Curtis at 145 pounds, Tyson Stout at 160 pounds, Brett Sorensen at 182 pounds, Ky Jensen at 195 pounds, Kenden Huff at 195 pounds, Brandon McCandless at 220 pounds and Zach West at 220 pounds. Only Funk, McCandless, Sorensen and Stout are seniors.