ST. GEORGE – They did it for Dallin.
The Desert Hills wrestling team was down 33-15 with just four wrestlers remaining. With the Region 9 championship on the line, the Thunder were in need of a miracle.
Luckily for the home crowd, that’s when senior Ethan Del Toro stepped up and made the biggest pin of his life. Toro took down Pine View’s John Tai and after a couple of forfeits, it was all tied up at 33.
With the top two teams in the region going at it in The Thunderdome, it was only fitting that it would come down to the final match of the night.
“It’s always fun when it comes down to the last match, Pine View coach Brett Gifford said. “But that’s Region 9 for you. It’s always a battle.”
With the crowd on its feet, Trevor Ottenschot took a deep breath and after just 34 seconds, was able to take down Pine View’s Connor Harris to give the Thunder a 39-33 victory in a comeback for the ages.
“It feels so good to be region champs,” Ottenschot said. “We have worked so hard all season and it was nice for all of the seniors to go out like this.”
The victory was especially sweet for Dallin Birch, who will remember this moment for the rest of his life. Birch, a senior at Desert Hills with special needs, took on Toa Meredith in the first match of the night.
Desert Hills had already forfeited the match, but both coaches were nice enough to allow Dallin to step in and take on Meredith. When his name was called, Birch gave the fans a show that they will remember for a long, long time. Flexing his muscles, giving high fives to his teammates and a thumbs up to the crowd, Birch had everyone on their feet.
After a tough battle, Birch came away victorious and when the match concluded, everyone was a winner.
After taking pictures with the team, Birch proudly held the trophy up with his infectious smile.
When asked how it felt to be a champion, Birch smiled and nodded his head emphatically.
“Dallin is amazing. He inspires the team and is truly a winner on and off the mat,” Desert Hills coach Warrin Richins said. “He’s been with us for two years now and enjoys cheering everybody on.”
Even though every loss hurts, Gifford was pleased with his team’s effort and the way they competed. Jaden Peterson, Drew Hansen and Liam Williams each earned four points and Hunter Williams and Isiaah Johnson each had pins for the visiting Panthers.
With the win, Desert Hills finish the region season undefeated and as champions. Next up for both squads is the 3A South Divisional meet at the Sevier Valley Center in Richfield on Feb. 6 and 7.
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.