WEST JORDAN You could call the Hunter wrestlers party crashers for what they did Thursday.
Be sure to call them Region 3 champions while you're at it, though.
On a night host West Jordan honored longtime wrestling coach Larry Jaramillo, the Wolverines denied letting the Jaguars send their retiring coach out with another region championship.
You wouldn't know that looking at the championship round. West Jordan wrestlers picked up seven individual region titles Thursday night to close the gap, but the Wolverines' strong showing in the early rounds put them over the top with a 385.5 score to the Jaguars' 370.
Bingham, which crowned four individual champs, placed third in the top-heavy region with 334 points.
With a 40-plus point lead heading into the championship round, Hunter basically only needed one of its 10 finalists to win an individual crown to secure its second straight region title.
Senior Colton Griffiths, who'd placed second two years in a row at region, accomplished that by beating Bingham's Travis Mcrae in a 10-1 major decision in the 145-pound weight class.
"It finally feels good. The third time I actually took it," said the relieved Griffiths, who was excited to win both an individual and team title. "It's awesome."
Hunter's Nate Black gave the Wolverines an extra cushion by edging West Jordan's Tyler Birch 5-2 in the 171 finals.
Though the championship round was a bit anti-climactic for the Wolverines, their depth proved superior over the rest of the region in the consolation rounds. Hunter coach Craig Stauffer was thrilled that 15 of his wrestlers qualified for state, including at least one in each weight category. Those contributions all ended up playing major roles in securing the region team title.
"What an exciting experience for the kids ... ," he said. "The only way we did it was the whole team doing it together and that was neat."
Jaramillo held out some hope that his team could pull off a last-round shocker, but the Jags pretty much needed to win every final by pins or earn technical decisions while having Hunter lose out.
"They had a pretty good meet," he said of the Wolverines. "I knew we had a chance, but it was a slim chance. I told them it was kinda like New England and the Giants and we were the Giants and we had to upset them and we didn't but we came close.
"They did me proud. They worked hard."
Despite not notching the team championship, West Jordan had a strong showing. The Jaguars received a trophy for going 5-0 in region dual meets; Jaramillo was recognized as the Region 3 coach of the year; and 125-pound champ Nicko Paraso (lower weights) and 275-pound champ Justin Blackmore were honored as the Region 3 meet's outstanding wrestlers.
Freshman Jacob Falk (103), Collin Grant (130), Chase Burns (135), Jared Hall (160) and Tyler Wallace (189) also won individual championships for West Jordan.
"We wrestled good in the finals. Hunter won it in the consolations with their depth," Jaramillo said. "But I'm proud of having seven region champs."
West Jordan qualified 13 wrestlers for state, while a dozen Bingham grapplers earned spots in the 5A meet.
Another highlight for West Jordan and Jaramillo was a pregame ceremony in which dozens of former wrestlers thanked and hugged their old coach for his contributions to their lives and the school.
"I was touched," said Jaramillo, who won nine team region championships, six state runner-up showings and one state title in his 28 years at WJ. "It was nice. It was nice."Other Region 3 champs included: 215-pounder Eli Feildon of Riverton; and Ryker Vandertoolen (112), returning state champ Kade Moss (119), Kieth Sasine (140) and Andrew Park (152) of Bingham.
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