Region 10 wrestling: Hurricane beats Crimson Cliffs with four wins by pin, strong team effort

HURRICANE — The Hurricane High School wrestling team had four grapplers finish with pins and three others that won by decision in a solid 39-24 win over Crimson Cliffs in a meet Thursday night in the Tigers Den.

Hurricane and Crimson Cliffs wrestlers in a Region 10 match, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 6, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“I thought it was a great effort,” Hurricane coach Phillip Armstrong told St. George News following the win, adding that he had to make some last minute adjustments to the lineup due to illness and one wrestler who didn’t make weight.

“I was really pleased with how they came through,” Armstrong said. 

Hurricane started off with a 6-0 lead after heavyweight Mahonri Tonumaipea won his match by forfeit.

Crimson Cliffs came right back to make it 6-3 after Eli Baeza won his match at 106 pounds in a 13-8 decision for the Mustangs.

Then, at 113 pounds, Hurricane got its first win of the night by pin when Caden Andersen put his opponent on his back late in the second period.

The Mustangs kept the meet close at 12-9 when Corbin Hansen won the 120 pound division with a pin for Crimson Cliffs, but Hurricane ran off a string of 27 consecutive points with victories in the next six matches to secure the victory.

In that streak, three Tigers won by pin: Paul Gregory (132 pounds), Cole Johnson (150 pounds) and Tristyn Dennett (157 pounds).

“Those pins are always crucial. It gives us that much more momentum in the match,” Armstrong said. “I was impressed with some of those wins that we had.”

Hurricane and Crimson Cliffs wrestlers in a Region 10 match, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 6, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

The other three wins in the Tigers streak included decisions at 126 pounds (Seth Armstrong, 5-0), 138 pounds (Mikah Murphy, 9-4) and 144 pounds (Patrick Miller, 10-3).

The Hurricane coach said that Seth Armstrong and Dennett are unbeaten in their weight classes so far this season for the Tigers.

The visiting Mustangs made the score respectable by picking up points in the last four matches of the meet, highlighted by Eldon Milton’s win by pin at 190 pounds.

Milton, who trained with former Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner last summer, said he was patient in the match and waited for his shot.

“I just went down to the basics, took my shot, got it deep and finished,” Milton said. “When I went to his (Gardner’s) practice, he would have me drill and drill on just taking the shot, lifting and returning. That definitely helped.” 

The pins by Hansen and Milton represented consistent performances over the course of the season. Crimson Cliffs coach Courtney English called the pair “our two hammers.”

“They performed like I thought they would,” English said. “They have a lot of wrestling knowledge and leadership that hopefully we can get them to continue to spread to the rest of our team.”

The three remaining wins for Crimson Cliffs at the end of the meet were victories by decision at 165 pounds (Nic Baum, 7-0), 175 pounds (Trey Terry, 8-3) and 215 pounds (Connelly Ulrich, 8-4).

Crimson Cliffs is building a program and has sophomores and first-time wrestlers in most of the lower and middle weights.

“Sometimes you’ve got to take your lumps while you’re learning, so to speak,” English said. “We’ll just keep our shoulders to the wheel and keep pressing forward.” 

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