I'm from Murray, my assistants are from Murray — we consistently wrestled for the region title when we were in school. When I got to Murray the last time they had won a region title was in 2003 — so it's been a long time. It's a big step forward in the right direction trying to return Murray to an upper echelon team. —Murray coach Todd Thompson
SARATOGA SPRINGS — It's been nearly an entire decade since Murray was relevant on the mats.
That's all changing this season.
The Spartans squeezed past Herriman 385.5-360.0 to capture the Region 7 title at Westlake High on Thursday night. It marked the first time since 2003 that the Spartans reigned with a region championship.
"I'm from Murray, my assistants are from Murray — we consistently wrestled for the region title when we were in school," said Murray coach Todd Thompson when asked what the title meant to the program. "When I got to Murray the last time they had won a region title was in 2003 — so it's been a long time. It's a big step forward in the right direction trying to return Murray to an upper echelon team."
Murray's championship patches didn't come without a fight, however. Herriman, which trailed significantly heading into the last day, made a valiant comeback, but ultimately fell short.
"It (was) pretty close. Coming in after last night I knew that we had the numbers, I think some of our kids kind of coasted today and made it a little (more) interesting than it should have been," Thompson said. "The kids weren't going to go to state battled through and picked up valuable pin points which helped us."
Westlake (289.0), Olympus (237.5), Skyline (215.0) and Hillcrest (102.0) rounded out the rest of the Region 7 standings.
Murray's Jackson Lightfoot (38-6) secured his first region championship as an individual along with the overall team title in his senior year.
"It means the world," he said after beating Skyline's Mamadu Trawalley, 22-9, in the 126-pound division. "We've come so close every year. We've been second and third and now that we're seniors it means the world to me."
Along with Lightfoot, 13 others joined the list as individual medalists: Herriman's Chandler Strand (106), Westlake's Danny Green (113), Skyline's Brandon Winward (120) and Jess Clapier (132), Herriman's Jed Diederich (138), Murray's Joel Haro (145), Herriman's Jentry Diederich (152), Murray's Bradley Brockbank (160), Olympus' Brandon McBride (170), Trevor Ringwood (182), Will Rudman (195) and Garrett Hanson (220) and Murray's Dallas Howard (285).