The Cottonwood High wrestling team has been led this season by Taylorsville residents – and team captains – Jacob Knapp and Thomas Ollis.
Knapp, a senior, has won three titles at meets this year in the 126-pound weight division with two other top-five finishes, while Ollis, who is a junior, has two wins by pin while placing in the top three at three other meets in the 132-pund weight class.
Knapp won the Granite District Tournament Nov. 26 to begin the year, with Ollis placing third. At the Layton Tournament Dec. 5-6, Knapp came in fifth. Knapp claimed the title at the Glen Kawa Tournament Dec. 13, with Ollis coming in third.
Knapp won by decision at West Dec. 16 and then placed third at the Viewmont Tournament that weekend.
Senior Jacob Knapp gets ready to flip an opponent earlier this season. Photo courtesy of Tom Ollis
Ollis pinned his opponents to win at Taylorsville Jan. 8 and then at Granger Jan. 15.
At the Uintah Tournament of Champions Jan. 9-10, Ollis reached the semifinals while Knapp got through to the quarterfinals.
“Jacob comes in every day ready to work hard, pushes himself to the limit and never gives up,” new head coach Trent Weibel said. “He’s a great leader.”
“Thomas is the silent leader who is there every day working hard, never complaining and always wanting to learn more,” Weibel said.
Knapp, son of Michael and Lisa Knapp of Taylorsville, defeated an upperclassman to win the 113-pound division title as a sophomore, going on to place fourth at state.
“I was ranked really low and not favored at all,” he said. “Being an underdog is nice because everybody overlooks you.”
The next year, Knapp took third at state in the 120-pound class and has compiled a 66-10 record the past two seasons.
Cottonwood High assistant coach Tom Ollis has been Jacob’s coach since junior high school and considers the senior “one of my own.”
“It’s been great to watch Jacob’s growth and development in the sport,” Ollis said. “He has the physical strength and aggressiveness to be successful. He’s just working on that last little bit of mental focus.”
Knapp said he’s been reading the book, “Winning State: Wrestling” to learn more about the mental toughness he needs to have in order to win the 5A title in his weight class this season.
“I’m really trying to focus in on specific areas I need to improve,” he said. “You can only get better at what you want to do.”
Thomas Ollis, son of Tom and Leslie Ollis of Taylorsville, followed his dad and older brother Draper’s footsteps in wrestling six years ago. As a freshman, he and his brother were on the Cottonwood team that placed among the top 10 teams in state.
Ollis acknowledges the difficulties of the sport but enjoys the “head-to-head competition” in wrestling, while always learning techniques to help him beat his opponents.
“Wrestling has taught me to work hard and be disciplined and that I can do hard things,” he said. “You get out of wrestling whatever you put into it. This is the same as life.”
Ollis’ dad has enjoyed coaching his sons the past several years and would love to see Thomas reach his goal of making and placing at the state tournament Feb. 13-14 at the Maverick Center.
“Coaching your own sons can be difficult, but there are so many positives in being close to him and watching their successes,” he said.