Juan Diego Wrestler Best In State
Mar 20, 2015 01:36PM
● By Catherine Garrett
Juan Diego Catholic High School wrestler John Manning headed into the 2015 postseason tournaments ranked No. 1 and that’s right where the freshman ended up at the end. He won the Divisional Tournament Jan. 29, the 3A state title Feb. 13-14 and the Super State championship Feb. 21.
“I was expecting to win but I knew it was going to be tough,” Manning said. “It felt really good to achieve my goals. It’s also a relief to win when that pressure is on you.”
“John’s probably one of the most talented wrestlers I’ve ever coached,” Juan Diego coach Andrew Sedillo said. “He’s really good in scramble positions, and when it comes time to compete, he’s pretty tough to beat.”
Manning defeated Canyon View’s Joey Mackelprang, Cedar City’s Dallin Grover, Tooele’s Austin Strehle and Stansbury’s Jalen Herrera at the state tournament.
“I had wrestled and beaten most of those wrestlers earlier this year but I was able to improve and dominate a little more,” he said.
In the Super State tournament, which highlights the top six wrestlers from each of the five classifications, Manning beat Layton’s Landon Memmott, Olympus’ Lukas Erickson and Maple Mountain’s Ryan Hansen to come out on top of the 138-lb. weight class.
“My performance at Super State blew me away because I was up against seniors and that’s the best I’ve wrestled in a while where I didn’t even give up a takedown,” he said.
Manning, who is ranked in the top-25 nationally in his weight class, has come a long way since he began learning the sport at the age of 5 through the encouragement of his father, Bill, who was a high school wrestler.
“I was completely terrible at first,” Manning said. “My first match ever, I lost to a girl and finished the season with a record of 1-4.”
During the season, he only lost four matches and was one of two freshmen chosen statewide out of the 86 participants in the 2015 All-Star Dual held Jan. 7 at Utah Valley University. He defeated Delta’s Bracken Lovell, a defending 2A state champion, 4-3 in his only match of the meet at 138 lbs.
“It was a great feeling to win in front a big crowd that is actually focused on your match,” Manning said. “I was actually predicted to lose the match which made it even better.”
Manning placed second at the Journeyman Classic and preseason Nationals this fall, further solidifying his ranking among the nation’s best. He said he wants to be the best wrestler in the country by his senior year.
“I believe I can achieve this, but it will be very hard and require tons of hard work,” Manning said.
“John will have to work hard over the next three years if he wants to repeat as a state champion, but I have all the confidence that he will be just fine,” Sedillo said. “We have high expectations for him.”
Manning credits his workout partner, Brandon Warner – who was a four-time place winner in Oklahoma – for helping him improve. “I hate losing and Brandon would destroy me on the mat so I started using that as motivation,” he said. “That determination of never giving up and fighting hard is something wrestling has taught me that I can definitely use in life as well.”
Manning plans to compete at Freshman Nationals and Flonationals later this month.