BY RYAN HOWE
MALTA – Wyatt Smith’s family moved from Wendell to Malta between his freshman and sophomore years. The first time he walked into Raft River’s wrestling room, he noticed something missing on the wall.
Several names were painted under state placers, second through fifth. But the space under “State Champions” was blank.
“I kind of said to myself, that would be really cool to be the first one,” said Smith, the Times-News co-Wrestler of the Year.
This past week, Trojans wrestling coach K.C. Wells broke out the blue paint can and now Smith sits alone at the top of the wall as the first state wrestling champ in school history.
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“It’s kind of sad, really, that there hasn’t been one before, but there have been a lot of close ones,” Smith said. “Ever since I saw that wall, I made it my goal to be the first one up there.”
In a dairy family with seven children, Smith is the second oldest. He started wrestling young and won most of his peewee matches simply because he was stronger than other kids. Later, he joined Jerome’s USA Wrestling freestyle club, where he developed into a better technician.
He continued to hone his skill through high school, finishing his prep wrestling career with a 143-23 re-cord and four state medals, including sixth as a freshman at Wendell, runner-up as a sophomore and fourth as a junior. He went undefeated, 39-0, in his senior season.
“(Going undefeated) definitely (adds pressure),” Smith said. “Once you win so many matches without losing, you’re kind of like, ‘Man, I’ve got to keep this reputation up.’ There’s been a lot of pressure this year with this being my last year, trying to be a state champion and trying to be undefeated. It’s kind of nice now that it’s all over and all the pressure is gone.”
The pressure gone, the goals completed, Smith has his sights set on his next goal as a missionary for his church. He leaves April 9 to serve in Toronto.