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Draper Journal

Two CCHS wrestlers win nationals

Apr 08, 2024 03:20PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Corner Canyon High’s Tanner Telford and Mana Fager won the 106-pound and 190- pound divisions at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals at Cedar Falls, Iowa March 15-17. (Photo courtesy John Fager)

Corner Canyon High junior Leimana “Mana” Fager and freshman Tanner Telford brought home national titles from the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals March 15-17 at Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

Fager won the 18U 190-pound division while Telford was tops in the 16U 106-pound category.

“This was our first ever national champions,” said CCHS assistant wrestling coach John Fager.

“It felt unreal,” said Mana Fager. “It was great seeing all my hard work pay off. It was definitely one of the best feelings I have ever had.”

“Seeing Mana win the title gave me a lot more confidence,” Telford said.

Mana Fager defeated Hugh Meyer of North Dakota’s Dickinson Wrestling Club, in the final match after beating Noah Weaver, of Central Indiana Academy of Wrestling, in the semis and Missouri Club’s Gabriel Willett in the quarterfinals.

In his first nationals appearance, Telford defeated MWC (Nebraska) Wrestling Academy’s Cole Caniglia in the finals after a semifinal win over Greysen Packer, of Team Idaho Wrestling Club, and beating Alabama’s David Hill in the quarters.

“Watching Tanner, a fellow teammate, win nationals as a freshman got me excited to watch him grow and progress as a whole,” Mana Fager said. “He did something that I couldn’t do my freshman year and that’s amazing. Tons of respect for that guy.”

Four other Chargers—Clarion Fager, Gage Brady, Makayla Walden and Kinsey Byrge—earned All-American honors in the 16U category at the national event.

Clarion Fager placed second in the 16U girls division at 170-pounds division, losing to Oklahoma’s Millie Azlin in the finals. She reached the championship round by defeated Nora Wilson, of Uintah (Utah) Girls Wrestling, in the quarterfinals and Nebraska’s Makayla Vasser in the semis.

Brady lost to eventual champion Brody Sendele, with the Hononegah (Illinois) Wrestling Club, in the 157-pound semifinals after beating Askren (Wisconsin) Wrestling Academy’s Markus Fletcher in the quarters.

Walden lost to eventual champion Jayden Moehle of Missouri West Championship Wrestling in the semis of the 235-pound division after a quarterfinal bye.

Byrge lost to eventual finalist Veronica Madrid, of Derby (Kansas) Wrestling Club, in the quarters.

“It was amazing watching everyone from Utah wrestle,” said Mana Fager. “They all did great and wrestled hard.” 

Mana Fager was introduced to wrestling 15 years ago because of his dad’s life-long involvement in the sport. “It’s kind of some sort of religion in our house, and I actually hated it all the way until my sophomore year,” Mana Fager, who also plays football for Corner Canyon, said. “It was then that I realized that I was raised and made to be a wrestler.”

Mana, the son of Rowanna and John Fager of Draper, has placed fourth twice in a national event previously. “It felt amazing to win, but it’s on to the next thing,” he said. “I have a lot of things to improve on.”

Parents, coaches and teammates have helped Mana Fager’s growth in wrestling and with the mental toughness required in the sport. “They have helped me to get where I am today and I couldn’t have done this without them,” he said. 

Telford has been wrestling since he was 5 years old when he “just decided to try it out” and his love of the sport has only grown from there.

The son of Paul Telford and Amber Telford, who lives in Taylorsville, said that wrestling has helped him learn about hard work, determination, discipline, commitment and gratitude. His continued goals on the mat include more national championships and being able to wrestle collegiately.

“I’m very grateful for my coaches and teammates and how much they have helped me to get better and make everything possible for me,” he said.  λ