Hoffman wins state A mat title

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Hoffman wins state A mat title

Chain wrestling Dillon’s Cooper Hoffman scrambled through multiple moves in order to get a takedown on Glendive’s Nelson Crisafulli in the 170-lb. state championship at Billings on Saturday. Hoffman attempted a fireman’s carry, switched off to a high crotch single leg and then switched to a double leg in the sequence. Yellowstone Newspapers/Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Dillon senior Cooper Hoffman has been about setting goals and accomplishing them. Saturday in Billings, he defeated Glendive senior Nelson Crisafulli, 8-5, in the 170-lb. title match in the Montana Class A wrestling division at the All-Class Montana State Wrestling Championships.

“I knew I had a good chance to win a state championship last year, but the outcome wasn’t what I wanted it to be,” said Hoffman on Monday of his silver medal finish a year ago. “This year I went a lot harder, pushed every chance I got wrestling and working out to make sure that it didn’t happen again.”

The gold medal completed a high school career in which Hoffman ended the state tournament on the podium all four years. He was fifth as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore, second last year and a champion Saturday.

“I really can’t explain how it feels, I can’t comprehend it really,” said Hoffman. “It was probably one of the best experiences of my life.”

After being named Western A Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year and an all-state linebacker in football, and now the state title Saturday, Hoffman will aim to win the state title in javelin after placing fourth as a sophomore and second as a junior.

Hoffman demonstrated a senior’s focus on his path to the March of Champions and the eventual state title. In consecutive order he pinned Carlos Estrda of East Helena in 35 seconds, Nate McAvoy of Miles City in 3:34 and Conner Schwend of Hardin in 2:57 of his semifinal match. Schwend was a quality opponent who would bounce from his loss to Hoffman to place third.

“Going into it (title match), I was nervous, but I knew I had been training super hard and that if I wrestled my own match I could take it,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman edged Crisafulli in overtime at the Montana State A Duals at the end of January. The first round of that match ended in a scoreless tie, and then Crisafulli scored a takedown to lead 2-0 going into the third period. Hoffman started the final frame on top.

“In the third period I had to cut him, take him down, cut him and take him down again, and that tied it up,” recalled Hoffman. “We went into overtime and I just kept working until I got the takedown to win it.”

With that experience, both wrestlers were prepared with a game plan for the state title match.

“The game plan was really not to change anything at all and to wrestle the way I had all year,” Hoffman explained. “I knew if I could stay in close and work with my ties, that I could definitely win the match.”

Hoffman said Crisafulli (41-5) was an excellent leg rider and was effective with that the first time they tangled.

“It was really against my style, so this time I pressed the pace better and it worked out,” said the champion.

Dillon coach T.J. Nelson noticed Crisafulli made his own adjustments for the second bout with Hoffman.

“He changed his style on Cooper,” said Nelson. “Every match we scouted and that we had on tape, he was very aggressive. Against Cooper, he slowed it down and really frustrated Cooper by changing the pace. He tried to keep it close and give himself a chance to win at the end. They had scouted Cooper’s tilt pretty good and set Cooper up and got a reversal out of it. He was able to score a couple of times because Cooper got over-agressive. Overall, Cooper kept the pressure on and stayed to the game plan and got it done, 8-5.”

The match was close throughout with Hoffman adding a late takedown to boost his lead from a single point to the three point final margin. At one point in the round, it looked as though Crisafulli would take advantage of his strength with a leg ride and a power half. It seemed as though Hoffman was in danger of giving up back points.

‘I felt he was getting really close there (to back points) in the third period,” recalled Hoffman. “It honestly got me a little nervous because at that point we were either tied or I was up one.”

The Dillon coach felt the match ended like all of Hoffman’s (44-1) matches end.

“It followed Cooper’s form becuase of his dedication to training he has been able to go like I want all of our kids to go, a full six minutes and score first and score last,” said Nelson. “Cooper Hoffman does that better than any kid I have. It is great to see a kid who works that hard get it done.”

The Dillon coach was equally impressed with Crisafulli.

“The one thing I was bummed about was I didn’t get to talk to the kid after the match,” said Nelson of the opponent. “I heard he was a class act and good kid. He was hard-nosed and athletic. I’m going to send him a card.”

In other weight classes, Dillon’s Noah Huffaker, a state finalist at 103 a year ago as a freshman, won his first match and then lost his second. The match would end his season. He went into concussion protocol with headaches and nausea and would be ruled out of his loser out match, with a medical forfeit, ending his tournament.

“They’re cautious as they should be,” said Nelson. “It is what it is and the kids health has to come first.”

Preston Hales won two matches and lost one on Friday and was one win away from placing, but overnight he came down with a 24-hour flu that made the rounds in Billings.

“We tried everything, pedialite, Alka Seltzer, he couldn’t sleep and he couldn’t keep anything down” said Nelson. I’m very confident that if he was healthy, he would have been on the podium, but he got that flu.”

Hales had been one of the hardest workers in the practice room and focused on becoming a technically sound wrestler, which he had become. Despite the sickness, he insisted on trying to go in his consolation match. He had a good first round, but according to Nelson, just ran out of gas and didn’t have the energy to compete.

“I almost cried,’ said Nelson. “He had worked his tail off to become a good wrestler.”

Nelson noted that a number of other wrestlers were able to get invaluable experience on the big dance and that will benefit the wrestlers in future trips to the Big Dance.

Dillon scored 42.5 points and placed 16th. Sidney dominated the tournament with a Class A record 340 team points, more than double runner-up Frenchtown’s 156.5 points.

Montana 2020 State A Wrestling Tournament at Billings MetraPark

Class A team scores – Sidney 340, Frenchtown 156.5, Miles City 145.5, Havre 142.5, Laurel 141, Lewistown 134.5 Glendive 73.5, Columbia Falls 72, Livingston 69, Corvallis 63, Hamilton 53.5, Hardin 50, Libby 50, Browning 46, Polson 43, Dillon 42.5, Billings Central 23, Ronan 21, Stevensville 18, Whitefish 17, East Helena 3, Lockwood (Billings) 3, Butte Central 0.

Class A Championship matches

103 - Owen Lonski (Sidney) 49-5, Fr. over Landen Stewart (Frenchtown) 49-1, Jr. (Dec 5-4).

113 – Walker Dyer (Frenchtown) 26-1, Sr. over Zander Dean (Sidney) 51-3, Fr. (Dec 5-4).

120 – Kaiden Cline (Sidney) 45-7, Sr. over Eli Warner (Frenchtown) 47-7, Jr. (Dec 8-2).

126 – Cooper Birdwell (Lewistown) 27-0, Jr. over Jake Bibler (Frenchtown) 37-2, Sr. (MD 15-2).

132 – Jordan Darby (Sidney) 49-6, Jr. over Cameron Pleninger (Havre) 5-2, Sr. (Dec 7-4).

138 – Damian Leidholt (Miles City) 45-3, Jr. over Keagan Campbell (Laurel) 23-2, Sr. (Dec 3-2).

145 – Aden Graves (Sidney) 52-4, So. over Triston Davis (Corvallis) 40-2, Sr. (Fall 1:38).

152 – Connor Harris (Havre) 7-0, Sr. over Trey Thompson (Libby) 44-7, Sr. (Fall 5:42).

160 – Orion Thivierge (Havre) 7-0, So. over Bridger Williams (Hamilton) 46-6, Sr. (Fall 4:28).

170 – Cooper Hoffman (Dillon) 44-1, Sr. over Nelson Crisafulli (Glendive) 41-5, Sr. (Dec 8-5).

182 – Riley Waters (Sidney) 48-1, Jr. over Cameron Younger (Laurel) 23-4, Sr. (Dec 12-7).

205 - Jett Jones (Sidney) 46-0, Sr. over Tate Jones (Frenchtown) 38-4, Sr. (Fall 2:28).

285 - Brodey Skogen (Sidney) 47-6, Jr. over Tyler Harms (Miles City) 32-7, Sr. (Dec 4-0).

Dillon results

103, Parker Smith (10-15) 0.0 team points. Round 1 - Noah Michaelson (Laurel), decision over Smith (Dillon) 11-4.

Conso. - Sheldon Rod (Glendive) pinned Smith (Dillon), 3:33.

120, Noah Huffaker (32-13) scored 3.5 team points. Round 1 - Noah Huffaker (Dillon) 3won by tech fall over Johnathan Herr (Laurel) 15-0 in 3:22. Quarterfinal - Kaiden Cline (Sidney) 44-7 won by major decision over NoHuffaker (Dillon), MD 14-0. Conso. - Tucker Ellison (Miles City) won by medical forfeit over Huffaker (Dillon).

126, Gunner Wright (11-24): Round 1 - Kolby Hutzenbiler (Sidney) pinned Wright (Dillon), 2:38. Conso. - Roman Duke (Frenchtown) pinned Wright (Dillon), 1:51.

132, Kaden Pittman (19-25) Round 1 - Danyk Jacobsen (Livingston) pinned Pittman (Dillon), 2:57. Conso. - Bryce Hirsch (Miles City) decision over Pittman (Dillon), 8-4.

138, Eli Carlos (7-23): Round 1 - Damian Leidholt (Miles City) pinned Carlos (Dillon), 3:46. Conso. - Kolter Kidrick (Whitefish) pinned Carlos (Dillon), 3:25.

152, Peter Gibson (12-11): Round 1 - Tyler Emineth (Laurel) pinned Gibson (Dillon), 3:02. Conso. - Gibson (Dillon) pinned Dylan Janes (Stevensville), 1:25. Conso. - Dalton Tvedt (Miles City) pinned Gibson (Dillon), 3:34.

170, Cooper Hoffman (44-1) placed 1st and scored 28.0 team points. Round 1 - Hoffman (Dillon) pinned Carlos Estrda (East Helena), 0:35. Quarterfinal - Hoffman (Dillon) pinned Nate Mcavoy (Miles City), 3:34. Semifinal - Hoffman (Dillon) pinned Conner Schwend (Hardin) 40-11, 2:57. 1st Place Match - Hoffman (Dillon) decision Nelson Crisafulli (Glendive) 41-5, 8-5.

205 - Preston Hales (32-13) scored 7.0 team points. Round 1 - Hales (Dillon) pinned Brody Landrum (Miles City), 0:20. Quarterfinal - Jayden Salios (Browning) 11-6 decision Hales (Dillon), 4-2. Conso. - Hales (Dillon) pinned Aaron O`Roake (Polson), 0:49. Conso. - Dante Pallone (Hardin) 29-24 pinned Hales (Dillon), 1:59.

285 – Anthony Weary (7-37) scored 1.0 team points. Round 1 - Brodey Skogen (Sidney) 46-6 pinned Weary (Dillon), 0:45. Conso. - Anthony Weary (Dillon) 7-37 decison Trey Schepens (Sidney) 35-19, 7-2. Conso. - Chuck Braverock (Browning) 32-8 pinned Weary (Dillon), 0:34.

U. Montana Western 62 – Rocky 41 UMW team stats and individual leaders oints (62) – Shannon Worster 12, Brynley Fitzgerald 12, Savanna Bignell 10, Gracey Meyer 8, Lily Gopher 5, Paige Holmes 5, Mesa King 4, Jenni Weber 3, Sydney Sheridan 3, Shainy Mack 0, Natali Denning 0. Rebounds (32) – Worster 7. Assists (10) – Worster 2, Bignell 2. Steals (4) – Fitzgerald 2. Blocks (1) – King.

U. Montana Western 58 – Carroll 56 UMW team stats and individual leaders Points (58) – Holmes 16, Bignell 15, Fitzgerald 10, Worster 10, Meyer 4, King 3, Weber 0, Sheridan 0, Gopher 0, Mack 0. Rebounds (29) – King 8. Assists (15) – Worster 5, Meyer 4. Steals (6) – Bignell 3. Blocks (1) – Fitzgerald.

Montana Western 81 – Rocky 74 UMW team stats and individual leaders Points (81) – Cedric Boone 21, Max Clark 17, Derek Durocher 15, Connor Burkhart 12, Brian Howell 7, Connor Kearns 7, Tanner Haverfield 2, Cole Lake 0. Rebounds (31) – Burkhart 7. Assists (12) – Boone 4. Steals (10) – Boone 4. Blocks (1) – Clark.

Carroll 71 – U. Montana Western 60 UMW team stats and individual leaders Points (60) – Durocher 16, Clark 12, Haverfield 12, Burkhart 6, Howell 5, Jones 5, Kearns 4, Eason 0, Lake 0, Boone 0. Rebounds (25) – Clark 6. Assists (12) – Haverfield 3, Burkhart 3. Steals (3) – Haverfield 2. Blocks (0).