By VICTOR FLORES email@example.com
Coming off of a fourth place finish at state, Bonneville High School wrestler Jacom Stacey wanted to end his senior season with his second state title (he won sophomore year). But the disappointing finish to his junior year subdued the expectations.
“(People) probably didn’t expect anything great, so I didn’t have to live up to anything,” Stacey said.
Stacey combined his calm demeanor with a renowned work ethic to make it back to the state title match, where he narrowly lost. He finished the season with a 51-6 record and didn’t lose to a District 6 opponent.
For those reasons, Stacey is the Post Register’s 2014-15 Middleweight Wrestler of the Year.
Stacey and teammate Jared Bird — the Post Register’s Heavyweight of the Year — have a lot in common. Both have blonde hair, plan to go on LDS missions after they graduate and wrestled in the 170-pound weight class this season.
But their leadership styles are polar opposites. Bird often shouts commands and encouragement to his teammates. Stacey keeps to himself.
“I don’t really like to get out there and voice my opinion very much,” Stacey said. “That’s just kind of my personality.”
On the mat, Stacey was dominant.
“You look at every aspect of wrestling, Jared Bird and Jacom Stacey have it all,” retired Idaho Falls coach Jeff Einerson said. “(Stacey) gets in a tough position and he’s able to scramble. That’s college-level stuff.”
Stacey lost four matches as a 160-pounder in 2014-15. Two of those came against eventual state champion Taylor Owens of Borah.
Stacey also lost to Nevada state champion Sam Goings of Churchill County.
Highland’s Denver Dobson, who placed fourth at state, was the last 160-pounder to beat Stacey, and the only by pin.
“It still makes me feel like I wish I had won, but it feels better that I’m not losing to people who aren’t good,” Stacey said.
Stacey moved up to 170 pounds right before the 5A District 5-6 tournament. He cruised to the district finals, but Highland’s Tucker Leavitt handled Stacey in a 12-5 decision.
Stacey and Leavitt met a week later in the state finals, and the result wasn’t nearly as one-sided.
Leavitt and Stacey both scored last-second points to force ties, eventually going to an ultimate tiebreaker. Leavitt prevailed, finishing the season at 50-0.
“I’m glad I didn’t go down without a fight,” Stacey said.
Bonneville, like Stacey, finished second at state.
Stacey will go to the Czech Republic for his mission following graduation this spring. After that, he’ll wrestle at the United States Air Force Academy.
Bonneville coach Zairrick Wadsworth knows wrestlers like Stacey don’t come around often. Stacey poured through match film, constantly lifted weights and turned the wrestling room into a second home.
“If we had more kids who worked like that,” Wadsworth said, “we would be an unstoppable team.”