By Daniela Garcia, Payson High Student Writer
Payson High School has two number-one ranked wrestlers in Utah, Mitch Brown and Jed Mellen.Senior Mitch Brown has been wrestling since kindergarten. Coming from a family passionate about wrestling, Brown continues the legacy the Browns’ household. Brown’s older brother was a standout in the Lions’ roster. Brown’s dad, who was also his coach from kindergarten to high school, wrestled for BYU and coached the Payson Lions for many years.
“I can always count on looking at the stands every match and see every member of my family supporting me,” said Brown.
At age seven, Brown and friend Zac Loveless set a goal to be the first four-time state champions to come out of Payson.
“Zac and I looked at a list of people who won four state titles and realized no one from our school had ever done it and we wanted to be the first,” said Brown.
Just one step away from completing that goal, Brown works hard in and out of practice, in and out of season. Brown runs hours and hours outside of practice to keep in shape and get quicker. He wrestles his friends, brother and dad several times a day to help him improve. In practice Brown has many competitors to challenge him and help him improve.
“Mitch is a valuable part of our team the last four years, he’s a great leader and example to the team,” said Head Coach Chris Loveless.
Brown is a three-time state champion and an All American. He has worked hard all his life and will be wrestling at Air Force Academy after high school . His uncles and family have wrestled there and he wants to follow in his family’s steps. Only 1,000 people get in the Air Force Academy and Brown is one. He leaves in June.
Junior Jed Mellen is undefeated in his weight division in all of Utah and as a sophomore he took state with a 50-0 record. As a freshman he lost to three seniors and took second in state.
“My uncle, brother, dad all wrestled and are all there to support me, wrestling is part of our life,” said Mellen.
Wrestling has been a tradition in Mellen’s life. Encouraging each other in every movement, Mellen can always count on his family.
“It just comes naturally,” said Mellen. “I step out on the mat and my competitiveness comes out, I like to win and be the best.”
Only a junior, Mellen has accomplished a lot already and is a valued player on the Payson roster.
“Jed is a leader and an example to the team, he is a great wrestler and I see him getting even better in the next years to come. It is an honor to be coaching him and Mitch Brown,” said Loveless.
Both Mellen and Brown are the gritty and look to take their accomplishments to the college level.
The Lions start their State Tournament run today and tomorrow at Utah Valley University.
Daniela Garcia is a small town girl from the city of Elberta and a junior at Payson High School. Writing allows her to use her creativity and be herself, I would like to write news and sports articles in college and for a local newspaper. Writing isn’t just writing, it is something that she loves to do.
inSantaquin News is proud to have Payson High Student Writers as contributing reporters this year. Our news organization hopes to help talented local writers gain valuable experience as journalists.