Halen Raymond knew what he had to do.
With 35 seconds left, Hayden middle school wrestling coach Dallas Robinson reminded Raymond that the Tigers needed a pin to tie Moffat County for the Soroco Middle School Wrestling Tournament title.
Raymond, Hayden's heavyweight at 195 pounds, responded during the Saturday meet.
"In Halen's own way, as he always does, he turned the kid with like 28 seconds left," Robinson said. "It's an uncanny thing. When he knows the pressure is on, he's a whole other kid."
The six points pushed Hayden into a tie with Moffat County atop the team standings. Robin--son said he and the other coaches are working with the Tigers on becoming a top tournament team.
"It really is a process," Robin--son said. "You have to have a team that is unified. It's important to have kids looking at the bigger picture. They have their minds set on being a state championship team in the next three years."
On Saturday, the Tigers put eight wrestlers in the championships and three in the consolation finals, which should have been enough to win.
"We were a shoo-in to win," Robinson said. "We had a really bad final round. There were a couple heartbreakers, and Craig ended up coming through in the finals."
Eleven Tigers placed in the top four, including Cory Terry (75 pounds) and Raymond, who won tournament titles. Terry is unbeaten this season.
Hunter Johnston (70), Chad Terry (80), Ben Williams (105), Treyben Letlow (120), Jake Walker (135) and Rene Valdez (155) placed second.
Robinson said Walker's second-place finish was impressive considering the opponent -- Grand County's James Harvey.
"The kid was the best wrestler at the tournament, hands down," Robinson said. "Jake wrestled this kid so tough. He ended up losing, 4-0, but you can chalk that up as an accomplishment. I told him he was the only kid that didn't (lose by technical fall or pin) against this kid in probably the last two years. I was really proud of him."
Nick Williams (90) and Koleman Williams (110) placed third, and Alex Roulett (125) was fourth.
Robinson said the tournament -- one of the largest middle school tournaments this season -- lasted nine hours.
Up next is a weekend tournament in Meeker, but several middle school wrestlers and several varsity wrestlers are heading to the Rocky Mountain Nationals this weekend.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org