After a disappointing opening league match with Bear River last Thursday, the Tooele wrestling squad brought home the gold, winning the nine-team duel tournament at Desert Hills High School last weekend.
Head coach Gary Coffman was pleased with the way his team responded at the tournament after dropping a 52-16 league contest to the Bear River Bears. The Buffs won only three matches against Bear River in Garland.
Zach Coffman, suffering from an illness, was able to earn a major decision 15-4 over Chad Hornberger. Seth Manning nailed Conner Hughes to the mat in the first period and Garrett Gleed also earned a pin, dumping Bear River’s Weston Kolste in the second period.
Four matches could have gone either way, as the contests went back and forth. At 195 pounds, Tooele’s Johnny Sullivan was edged by Kyle Peterson 7-5. Jacob Leo, a new freshman wrestling his first high school match, turned Bear Dixon Hirschi to his back late in the match, trailing 3-2. Hirschi rolled back and forth on his back, but at the buzzer. The official didn’t award any pin points, which was puzzling to the Tooele coaching staff and fans.
Nick Porter, at 120, met an old foe in Bear River’s Brady Haramoto. These two excellent wrestlers have met several time in the past couple years with each one earning some wins. Porter got a quick takedown, but was reversed to his back and trailed 5-2 after the first period. The match ended 9-7 with Porter just short of the victory. Tooele’s KC Hansen ran into Tanner VanValkenberg in a classic low scoring affair. Hansen lost the close 2-1 battle.
At the Desert Hills tournament, Coach Coffman knew that Union and Desert Hills should be tough competition, but Virgin Valley was an unknown.
On Friday, Tooele had an easy start with the Desert Hills Gold (Junior Varsity) team winning 64-15. Union was next and the matchup proved to be one of the toughest back-and-forth contests of the tournament. Tooele jumped to a quick 16-3 lead with pins from Tyson Vigil and KC Hansen and a major decision from Jarrid Lavios. But Union answered back with three pins and two decisions to take a 27-16 lead. The Buffs took their turn, grabbing a decision and two pins and a forfeit. Coffman had a rough battle with Allen Hamblin, coming out with a 15-9 win. Sullivan and Thomas Jensen earned pins and Maka Kioa earned a forfeit win. That pushed the Buffs back out in front for good at 37-27. A final pin for Union closed the gap to 37-33.
Desert Hills varsity gave Tooele their closest contest on Friday. With pins from Lavios, Porter, Gleed, Manning, Coffman and Jensen and a close 4-2 decision from Hansen, Tooele edged Desert Hills 39-37. In their final match Friday night, the Buffs had an easy time with Diamond Ranch Academy, winning 75-6. JD Furuta won a close decision and the Buffs earned seven pins from Cole Fonger, Manning, Coffman, Sullivan, Kioa, Porter and Vigil. Forfeits were claimed by Gleed, Hansen, Lavios, Leo and Jensen.
Tooele handled Pineview 51-27 to open Saturday morning. They then turned away Canyon View 42-27. Their most heated battle came from Nevada’s Virgin Valley. The Bulldogs forfeited the opening three matches to Manning, Coffman and Sullivan, giving the Buffs an early 18-0 lead. Tooele stretched the lead to 28-12 with a major decision from Jensen at heavy and a pin from Lavios. After a pin from Vigil and a tech fall from Gleed, Tooele held a 39-21 lead with three matches left. But Virgin Valley grabbed two quick pins to bring the score to 39-33. A pin for Virgin Valley would tie the match and they would earn the win with the tie breaker. They would have six pins to five pins(and forfeits) for Tooele.
Aaron Kurek, a senior wrestling in his first competition at the tournament, had lost his previous three matches at varsity. He came out against Virgin Valley’s Rafel DeSantiago and the two rolled around back and forth in the opening seconds of the first period.. When the two settled down on the mat, Kurek came out on top with a tight headlock. He pinned his opponent in 1:07 of the first period to secure the win for the Buffs. Beating Dixie 66-18 in their final match of the tournament, assured Tooele of the nice first place trophy.
The Buffs crowned two champions. Coffman was 8-0 with five pins and Lavios was 8-0 with four pins. Six Buffs earned a second place award. Manning (7-1) had four pins; Jensen (7-1) had three pins; Gleed (6-2) earned three pins; Sullivan, Porter and Vigil were all 6-2 with five pins each. Hansen was 4-0 on Friday, but due to an injury, didn’t compete on Saturday. The others representing Tooele on varsity include Kyle Turner, Demetrio Samaniego, Kurek, Furuta, Fonger, Leo, and Maka Kioa.
Tooele’s JV team finished 3-4 in the same varsity tournament, beating Dixie 42-39, Diamond Ranch Academy 72-12 and Desert Hills Gold 48-36. They lost to Virgin Valley, Union, Pineview and Desert Hills Black. Those wrestling for the JV include Triston Gossett, Josh Bishop, Aaron Garcia, Jake Hansen, Andrew McReavy, Samaniego, Jackson Gavin, Braden Richter, Blake Johansen, Byron Baker, Jeremy Straub, Ivan Hernandez, Ethan Reynolds and Abraham Hernandez. Bishop and Garcia both went 5-2 and just missed placing in the top two spots in the varsity tournament.