Mountain Crest head coach Guy Burdett has always raved about the character of Jordan Wengreen, who is one of his star wrestlers.
Evidently, representatives of the Air Force Academy felt the same way about Wengreen. You see, the Mustang senior has accepted a scholarship offer from the school and will compete for the Falcons’ wrestling program.
Wengreen will report for basic training on June 26.
“This opportunity is amazing,” Wengreen said. “I’m really grateful for it. All of the hard work that I’ve put into (the sport), I’m glad that it’s paid off. ... This opportunity to go to the Air Force Academy, it sets me up pretty good. I go there and I won’t get in debt for school because they’re paying for all of the school, where I live and even down to my clothes.”
Needless to say, Burdett was ecstatic when he found out Wengreen — a two-time state finalist and 4A champion as a senior — had received the opportunity to not only wrestle at a Division I level, but represent his country.
“I am beside myself happy for him, but I’m not surprised,” Burdett said. “It was interesting because his dad and Jordan kind of kept me informed of the process that you have to go through in order just to get admitted, and it’s strenuous. I mean, I kind of understood it a little bit, but having him go through the process and all of the interviews he had to do, the (state) senator interviews and pre-interviews from senators, it was pretty spectacular. But Jordan’s such a high-quality kid.
“He’s just a really, really good kid and he’s one of those kids that you want your daughter to marry, and I don’t say that lightly. I have three girls.”
Wengreen capped off a dream season a few weeks ago by leading the Mustangs to their first state title since 2008 and being selected as 4A’s most outstanding grappler for the upper weight classes. The son of Kathy and Jeff Wengreen received this honor after beating nemesis Matt Williams of Box Elder for the 152-pound championship.
Williams only lost two matches all season long and they were both to Wengreen.
“I would have thought you were kind of crazy, especially with the team title because, before the season, we weren’t even on the (state title-contending) list,” Wengreen said when asked about the prospect of winning team and individual titles his senior year. “... And even I, before the season, I was like, ‘Yeah, we’ll be taking third like usual.’”
Wengreen’s victory over Williams was especially noteworthy, inasmuch as his Box Elder rival had beaten him in triple overtime the previous two times the duo had squared off, including for Region 5 bragging rights.
Williams, a two-time state runner-up, won the coin toss at the end of a scoreless first round in both of those victories, which is very significant. That’s because the winner of the coin toss is afforded the chance to choose the up or down position should triple OT become a reality. Whichever wrestler starts off in the top position must prevent his opponent from escaping during a 30-second, sudden-death round.
Neither Williams or Wengreen proved they could ride each other out from the top position all season long and, as a result, Williams was able to escape with plenty of time to spare for the winning point in both aforementioned duels.
To the relief of all Mountain Crest fans in attendance at the state tournament, Wengreen did not lose the coin toss this time. In fact, a couple of people in the stands shared a fist pump when Wengreen won the toss.
To the delight of Burdett, Wengreen never had to go to overtime, let alone triple overtime. After losing his 3-2 lead on a questionable stalling infraction, Wengreen executed his second single-leg takedown of the match late in the third period to secure his state title.
“I remember at the end of his match for the state championship and there were 15 seconds left before we were going into overtime, (and) all of us in the whole stadium was thinking about overtime,” Burdett said. “And it was only Jordan that wasn’t. He just went out and took the kid down, and he won the match.
“And so you persevere and persevere and persevere, and you get knocked down and knocked down and knocked down, (but) you just get back up. And that’s what Jordan did, and to me that was just such a life lesson to see him do that. You know, he never felt like he couldn’t win ... and it was a really special experience beyond just the incredible win.”
In their five matches during the 2013-14 campaign, Williams was only able to take Wengreen down once — a huge accomplishment against an opponent many thought was the best prep 152-pounder in the state.
Wengreen will compete for an Air Force squad that has made significant strides over the past few years. The Falcons, who compete in the same conference as Utah Valley, finished with a 11-6 dual record this season. One of those victories was against the Wolverines.
AFA is coached by Joel Sharratt, who was a standout wrestler for Iowa in the 1990s. Sharratt, the Falcons’ head coach for the past eight seasons, was a three-time NCAA finalist and one-time champion for the Hawkeyes.
“They have a bunch of great coaches out there and when I was out there on a recruiting trip, the quality of kids was great,” said Wengreen, who made it a point to thank his parents, coaches and teachers for pushing him to excel in life. “So, I’m going to be among all of these other state champs and kids who have also competed on the national level. And it’s exciting. I can’t wait to see what I can do.”