Payson Longhorn wrestlers, in their final tune-up before taking a brief holiday respite, had a big-time opportunity to flex their collective muscle in two relatively easy wins.
On Dec. 19 at Tempe High School, Horn matmen outclassed the homestanding Buffalos 40-23, and then ran roughshod over the Coolidge Bears 68-5.
Following the team’s return to Payson, coach Casey Woodall lauded a trio of standouts including Tate Sweeney, Kyle Brown and Chase Elmer.
Sweeney, the coach said, stood out in the Tempe match because he was able to decision, 10-8, a wrestler who had beaten him three weeks ago on a technical fall.
“Tate (145 pounds) has been working hard to correct mistakes and it is paying off for him,” Woodall said.
About Brown, the coach said, “He looked like he was on a mission. In both his matches his force of will allowed him to pin his opponents. He kept the pace high and was on the offensive until his opponents quit.”
Woodall continued to laud the 171-pound Brown saying, “He is a team leader and he demonstrated exactly how he wants our kids to wrestle.”
The coach praised Elmer, a sophomore who was locked in a tight 2-1 match with returning state placer Sergio Chavez of Coolidge.
“Elmer exploded in the third period to score nine points and win 11-4,” Woodall said. “It was a big win for him and he showed a lot of poise.
Against Tempe, Anselmo Vasquez (195), Conner Anderson (160) and Brown won on falls.
Gabe Hernandez (121) emerged victorious 17-8; Sweeney (145) won 10-6; Tanner Dandy (113) came out on top 6-4; and Gabe Hernandez (120) survived 17-8.
Cayse Barry (106), Dakota Harold (152) and Stephen Tubbs lost by falls. Dallin Macnab lost a heartbreaker14-12. William McCray (132) and Elmer won on forfeits. Payson forfeited the 182-pound due to lack of an entrant.
In the win over Coolidge, Barry, Macnab, McCrary, Tubbs and Brown won on falls.
Sweeney won on a technical fall. Elmer was victorious 11-4 and Hernandez lost on a technical fall. The 182-pound match was a double forfeit.
A week before the Tempe-hosted three-way meeting, the Horns battled to a 14th-place finish among the 32 teams entered in the McClintock Invitational.
Anderson and McCrary turned in the Horns’ finest showings, both placing fifth against top flight competition.
The Longhorns return to action Jan. 10 at Williams Field High School.