Good things did indeed come in threes for the Mesa High wrestling team Thursday night.
The Jackrabbits were the three seed. They own their third straight 5A-I team state title. And they sealed the championship with three matches left.
Ben Horne won the 171-pound match, 15-0, and his technical fall assured Mesa of a victory as the Jackrabbits beat Tempe Corona del Sol 35-22 in the final at Chandler Hamilton High.
In the 5A-II final at Hamilton, Tucson Sunnyside beat Yuma Cibola, 53-13.
Horne said he wasn’t aware that his match could seal the deal.
“My coach told me to be a Spartan,’’ he said. “I just left it all out on the mat.”
Horne’s victory gave Mesa a 35-12 lead and mathematically eliminated the Aztecs.
The victory at 171 was important because Corona had two undefeated state champions, Luke Macchiaroli at 215 and Trevor Stapp at heavyweight, lurking.
“We were happy to wrap it up a little early,’’ Mesa coach Bobby Williams said. “We were aware of who they had. But we knew if we had to we could hang in there. We have some good heavyweights, too.”
As it turned out Corona won the last three matches but not by enough to have surmounted Mesa’s lead even before Horne’s win. Williams said this championship was a little more nerve-wracking than the past two. Mesa beat Mesa Red Mountain 39-26 in the semifinals earlier in the day.
“This is the first tournament we’ve won all year,’’ Williams said. “Of course we knew where the state title was all along.”
Corona was the top seed based on winning the team competition at the individual state tournament last week. The Aztecs beat Mesa Dobson 55-16 in the semifinals.
“We had a great run,’’ coach Dave Vibber said. “Hats off to Mesa. They wrestled great when they had to.”
Corona opened the final with a victory at 103, with Justin Cullins edging Christian Miranda 5-2.
Efren Damian won by a pin at 112 to give Mesa a 6-3 lead. Kasey Turner won at 119 to tie it. Victor Montaño beat Ryan Miller at 125, starting Mesa on five-match win streak that gave the Jackrabbits a 24-6 lead. Corona sophomore Derek Felton won with a pin at 152 pounds. But Mayk Ordaz’s pin at 160 put Mesa on the verge of clinching the title.
5A-1 TEAM WRESTLING FINALS
Corona del Sol 22
5a Team Championship
103: Justin Cullins (Corona) dec. Christian Miranda 5-2. 112: Efren Damian pin Kevin Etchells 3:51. 119: Kasey Turner (Corona) dec. Calvin Clifford (Mesa) 10-4. 125: Victor Montano (Mesa) dec. Ryan Miller 8-5. 130 Marcio Maldanao (Mesa) pin Jordan Pagel 2:35. 135: Craig Alger (Mesa) dec. David Hoover (Corona) 5-2. 140: Edward Martin (Mesa) dec. Trey McAlister 9-2. 145: Nick Robles dec. Patrick Szajna 10-4. 152: Derek Felton (Corona) pin Tanner White (Mesa) 3:30. 160: Mayk Ordaz (Mesa) pin Skyler Fish (5:10). 171: Ben Horne (Mesa) tech fall Sean Larsen 15-0. 191: Mike Howard (Corona) dec. Zion Galloway (Mesa) 11-6. 215: Like Macchiaroli (Corona) major dec. Bryce Lane 14-3. 285: Trevor Stapp (Corona) dec. Fernie Valdez (Mesa) 6-2.