by nathan oster
Greybull-Riverside won only one match in a dual with 3A buzz-saw Powell Thursday, losing 67-6 in the home lair of the Panthers.
The Panthers, currently the No. 2 ranked team in 3A, dominated the Buffs, who were missing a number of regulars due to illness or injuries. With the exception of Luke Zeller, who won his match at 160 pounds by pin, the rest of the Buffs who took the mat got blanked by the Panthers.
The Buffs had no one at 106 or 113. Marshall Gibbs, at 120, lost his match by pin.
At 138, Jesus Burgos scored a takedown on his opponent and was down by only two points heading into the third period. In it, he got taken down and put on his back. He avoided the pin, but still lost 11-4.
Cole Hill dropped a 10-1 decision at 145. Coach Mark Sanford said Hill’s opponent was a quality wrestler. Hill simply wasn’t able to score points on him, he said.
G-R 152-pounder Anthony Eibert was pinned in the second period.
After Zeller’s win at 160, the Buffs suffered four straight losses. Tom Bernstein, on the mat for the first time this season, got pinned in the first period. Matt Brown, at 182, battled his opponent, Tyler Patterson, to a 4-1 loss. Patterson is the No. 2 ranked kid in 3A, Sanford said. “He didn’t do a lot, but he didn’t let us do much to him, either,” said the coach.
Spencer Redland, at 195, suffered a 6-3 defeat at the hands of Spencer Shultz. “It wasn’t our best match,” said Sanford. “We gave up three takedowns … and we had several opportunities to have takedowns that we didn’t take advantage of.”
At 220, Zane Edeler of G-R was pinned by Zach Thompson, who is also a ranked wrestler in 3A.
While the dual was one-sided, Sanford credited his kids for hanging in there. “Even though the kids they were wrestling were a little more advanced and had more experience, we didn’t cower to them, which was nice to see,” he said.
The Buffs ran a strong fifth at the Thermopolis Invitational, scoring 124 points, which was 12 more than Wind River. Star Valley JV won it with 220, followed by Lovell with 175, Columbus, Mont., with 154 and Kemmerer with 127.
“Not as good as I was hoping,” Sanford said of the finish. He had thought a third-place finish would be about right for his team. “We needed to do a few things that would have put us into the third spot or so.”
Eleven of the 14 Buffs placed in Thermopolis, headed by Luke Zeller, who won the team’s only individual championship. Zeller, wrestling at 170, had an opening round bye and pinned his next two opponents to earn a spot in the final opposite Lovell’s Nathan Grant. In it, Zeller prevailed 4-3. It was the third meeting of the season between the two rivals; Zeller has now won two of them. Sanford said the key for Zeller was getting the first takedown of the match.
The Buffs didn’t have wrestlers at 106 or 113.
At 120, Marshall Gibbs lost his first two matches. In a “second-chance tournament” for wresters who failed to win a match on the first day, Gibbs placed second, losing to a wrestler from Riverton who had beaten him on day one.
At 126, Ryan Peoples went 0-2 and did not place.
The Buffs were open at 132.
At 138, Jesus Burgos placed fifth. He lost his first match to Dalton Perkins of Wind River, but then proceeded to win three of his next four, including, in the fifth-place match, a redemption pin of Perkins.
Cole Hill took fourth at 145 pounds. Sanford credited Hill for the way he came back strong after losing a tough 16-12 decision to a Columbus wrestler in the semifinals. Hill won his next match by pin, then significantly narrowed the gap with John Bartlett of Dubois, who had pinned him at the Don Runner. In Thermop, Bartlett won, but only a margin of two points, 4-2.
Anthony Eibert placed sixth at 152. He won his first two matches by pin, but then dropped three straight, including a 17-2 loss to the eventual champion, Jacob Shumway of Star Valley.
Jarrod Johnson and Tom Bernstein each placed for the Buffs at 170. Johnson went 1-2, finishing fourth. Bernstein went 1-3 and took sixth. The two wrestlers faced off in the consolation semis, where Johnson was credited with a 4-1 decision.
Matt Brown went 2-1 to capture third in the 182-pound weight class. Sanford credited Brown for avenging an opening-round loss to Billy Galloway of Star Valley. Galloway won the first matchup 9-3, but Brown came back to win the finale 2-1.
The Buffs had three wrestlers entered at 195. Spencer Redland placed second, winning his first two and losing only to Sterling Baker of Dubois in the final. Sanford said Redland wrestled a far better match against Baker than he did in Pavillion.
Herme Mendez, in his return to the mat from a lengthy absence, won two and lost three, finishing sixth. Luke Young won his first match, but then dropped two straight and failed to place.
Tanner Bernstein and Zane Edeler rounded out the scoring for the Buffs, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, at 220 pounds. The two faced each other in the consolation semis, where Bernstein scored a second period pin.
It may not appear that way from looking at the scores, but Sanford likes the way his team is trending.
“We wrestled a little better than last week (at the Don Runner),” he said. “We had a few more kids on the mat, which is always fine and good. But we also saw kids come back and win some matches or just wrestle better against (opponents they had seen earlier in the season).”
The Buffs will host their annual tournament this weekend at Buff Gym. Friday night, the Buffs will face Wright in a 6 p.m. dual, followed by Moorcroft. The tournament is set for Saturday, with action starting at 10 a.m.