On Feb. 16, Salem Hills High School Junior, Breyton Banks won the state title in the 106-pound weight class, having reached a goal he set for himself following the last state tournament. Head coach Nash Brown said she couldn’t have been more excited for Breyton, who he said has worked extremely hard.
“Breyton’s record this year is 41 and 1, and his only loss came to a wrestler that he has beaten twice since,” Brown said. “Breyton goes above and beyond on everything from his diet to training, including running every morning – and we’re not talking about five or six miles; we’re talking 10-12 miles. I’ve coached three different teams, and I’ve had a lot of state final champions, but Breyton is definitely one of the most disciplined kids that I’ve coached.”
Breyton said that winning the state championship was an experience he enjoyed because he got to do what he loves.
“The thing I like most about wrestling is the pursuit of going through challenges and learning lessons,” Breyton said. “I enjoyed the state championship experience and being able to wrestle my best. It was a very fun experience and I am very grateful that my work paid off.”
Brown acknowledged that he also loves seeing athletes like Breyton set goals and accomplish them.
“The biggest reward for me as a coach is seeing what these kids are willing to put into it, and then seeing them accomplish their goals,” Brown said. “This is kind of what it was like with Breyton. He took fourth place last year, and lost in the semifinals, and then lost to the kid that he beat the day before in his third and fourth place matches.
“He’s actually been wrestling at the 100-pound category, and this year is the first time that he’s the actual 100 pound weight. His freshman year, he didn’t wrestle in high school because he was just too small.”
Breyton’s mother Lacy Banks also said how proud she is of him and his ability to be successful on and off the mat.
“It’s been incredible to watch Breyton accomplish his goals,” she said. “He’s not only a great athlete, but a 4.0 student as well. He takes the term student-athlete very seriously. Wrestling has got to be the toughest sport – not just physically tough, but mentally tough. He is constantly teaching us about mental toughness through his weight cutting, workouts, practice, school and maintaining a social life all while achieving his goal of becoming a state champ.”
As for what’s next, Breyton will be heading to Virginia Beach for high school nationals later this month with the hope of becoming an All-American.
“The cool thing about Breyton is that he doesn’t just want to stop at being a state champion,” Brown said. “He told me that he didn’t want to just be good enough in Utah, I want to be good enough to go out to Virginia and beat other State Champions.
Breyton will go out to Virginia on March 22.