BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS – For many years, south Davis County wrestlers have had the opportunity to train with three distinct, but different, wrestling clubs.
The Tech Wrestling Club, Kingdom Klub, and the Bountiful Wrestling Club each were able to build their own programs, helping grapplers hone their own skills at the junior high level and move up to the high school ranks.
Thanks to more than a year’s worth of talks, the three clubs have now merged into one, forming one of the largest wrestling training centers in Utah.
The new club, now called TECH, will have current Viewmont Vikings wrestling coach Brandon Ripplinger, Shandell Smoot, Bountiful Braves wrestling coach Matt Ripplinger, and many other well-known wrestling coaches together under one roof.
That roof, literally, will be provided by the Kingdom Training Center in Woods Cross, formerly known as Kingdom Klub, where former Utah Valley University wrestler Ben Kjar heads the facility.
“For me, this was a no-brainer,” said Brandon Ripplinger. “I love the Kjars. I have always admired Shandell. The idea that we could expose all our young wrestlers to the level of wrestling and values that this coaching staff has to offer, connect our wrestlers with more training partners ... it was just something that needed to happen.”
Talks of the merge had been ongoing for over a year until it was completed earlier this month. Both Brandon and Matt Ripplinger and Smoot will be three of the coaches who will train wrestlers, using the Kingdom Training Center as its base.
Other coaches are Nate Larsen, Dereck Wesche, Alex Knight, Jared Richardson, and Wayne Larsen, according to Brandon Ripplinger.
For many years, the Northside Wrestling Club was the only one available for wresters in the area. The club was started by former Viewmont coach Steve Sanderson, and Smoot oversaw the club into the late 2000’s.
In 2010, Smoot began coaching at South Davis Junior High School, and Matt Ripplinger formed the Bountiful Wrestling Club around the same time.
Ben Kjar, who started a youth wrestling club called Utah United, also gained some success in the wrestling community.
“The club instantly gained notoriety, and with the leadership that (Kjar’s) commitment brought to the Kingdom Training Center, the area clubs began talks of joining forces,” Ripplinger said. “The idea of all three areas being put under one roof with one powerhouse coaching staff was exciting.”
TECH officially started on Nov. 11, and practices have been ongoing since Nov. 12.
The Kingdom Training Center is located at 1431 S. 1800 West in Woods Cross.
The next tournament that will involve TECH wrestling will be held at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington on Saturday, Dec. 14.