Horns Take Flowing Wells To The Mat

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The Payson Longhorn wrestling team chalked up its most impressive win of the campaign, whipping Class 5A eighth-ranked Tucson Flowing Wells 47-25.

The win Jan. 10 in Wilson Dome highlighted a four-way match that started at midday and continued until late in the afternoon.

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Payson's Chad Simmons (top) gets the best of his opponent during a four-way meet Jan. 10 in Wilson Dome. In the round robin, the Longhorns finished with a perfect 3-0 mark.

In addition to pounding Flowing Wells, the Longhorns beat Higley 43-26 and Lake Havasu 67-11.

Although the clean sweep was impressive, it was the upset of Flowing Wells that had coach Rich Ormand spewing superlatives.

"The kids really stepped up," he said. "As a coaching staff, we didn't know if we could get past them. We won some matches we probably shouldn't have.

The Horns got off to a 12-0 start thanks to Flowing Wells forfeits in the 125- and 130-pound classes.

After 135-pound David Cluff pinned his opponent in the third period, Payson led 18-0.

Refusing to quit, Flowing Wells closed the Horn cushion to 18-15 at the conclusion of the 152-pound clash. Larry Wilbanks (160) put the crimps on the Tucson rally winning by a fall. Nate Lee (171) posted a victory by a 10-5 decision to expand the Longhorn lead to 27-16.

After Flowing Wells won the 189-pound battle by a pin and the 215-pound skirmish by a decision, the Tucson team trailed only 27-25.

But, that was all the points Flowing Wells would muster. The match wrapped up with Adam Munson (heavyweight) winning by forfeit, Porter Wilbanks (103) posting an 18-3 victory, Tyler Goodman (112) recording a fall and Brad Wilembrecht edging out a 11-9 triumph.

In the final four clashes of the match, the Horns scored 20-consecutive team points.

The win over a Class 5A powerhouse could mean the Longhorn roster is strong enough from top to bottom to make some state noise when the 4A championships are held Feb. 13 and 14 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.

Two more wins

In the 17-point victory over Higley, Wilembrecht (119), Brandon Chovanec (125), Lee Perez (130), Larry Wilbanks (160) and Nate Lee (171) paved the way with victories by pins.

Porter Wilbanks won 14-1, Tyler Goodman survived 10-7 and Cluff rolled to a 11-1 triumph.

Engler (189) muscled his way to a 9-4 victory by chalking up four points on reversals, two on a near fall and another two on a takedown. His single point was scored on a first-period escape.

Against Lake Havasu, the Horns jumped out to an early 13-0 lead. Lake Havasu's only points were scored in the 140- and 145-pound classes.

For Payson, Goodman (112), Wilembrecht (118), Lee Perez (130), Shane Hounshell (152), Larry Wilbanks (160), Lee (171) and Engler (189) won by falls.

The Longhorns return to action Jan. 21 at a Grand Canyon Region multi-meet at Mingus High School in Cottonwood. Start time is 1 p.m.

Payson hosts one of its biggest tournaments of the season, the Tim Van Horn Invitational, Jan 23 and 24 in Wilson Dome.

Among the younger set, the Longhorn junior varsity travels tomorrow (Saturday) to the Moon Valley tournament in Phoenix.

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