by nathan oster
Coach Mark Sanford called his team’s effort at the Matador Invitational in Forsyth, Mont., “a step in the right direction.”
Greybull-Riverside placed 10th and in the middle of the pack in the final team standings, accumulating 74 points during the two day varsity tournament.
Colstrip, Mont., placed first with 241 points. Other Wyoming teams that made the trek across the border included Cody, which placed fourth with 165 points, and the Powell junior varsity squad, which was ninth with 104 points.
The tournament attracted 20 teams, and unlike the Powell tournament during the season’s opening weekend, there was no pool wrestling in Forsyth. Instead, wrestlers were placed into large brackets at each of the weight classes.
Three Buffs navigated their way into the placing round, with Spencer Redland taking the top prize at 220, while Cole Hill and Zane Edeler each earned fifth-place finishes at 152 and 220, respectively.
For myriad reasons, the Buffs were far from full strength in Forsyth. In five of the weight classes, they didn’t enter anyone.
At 106, Jared Chavis won his first match, but then dropped two straight to finish 1-2.
Tre Nelson finished with a similar line at 113; his win came in his second match, with losses in his first and third tilts.
Marshall Gibbs, in a “very crowded backet” at 126, lost his first match, won his second and then lost his third to finish 1-2.
At 132, Christopher Ogg opened with a win — but it was a costly one, as the GHS junior came away with an injury. He defaulted out of his next two matches as a precautionary measure, finishing 1-2. Sanford said Monday he didn’t know the extent of the injury.
Dylan Roberts also gave it a go at 132. He won his first match, but then dropped two straight to finish 1-2.
Ashton Wollam went 1-2 and didn’t place at 145.
Hill’s campaign at 152 began with a pair of victories — both coming against Billings wrestlers — but he couldn’t get past his semifinal opponent, losing by fall. He also lost his next match, which dropped him into the fifth-place match. In it, he dominated a Billings Skyview wrestler to secure fifth place.
Anthony Eibert went 2-2 at 160, going win, loss, win, loss.
The Buffs did most of their scoring at 220 pounds, where they had three wrestlers entered.
Redland was the best of the bunch, going undefeated. One of his victories came at the expense of a wrestler from Colstrip who had beaten him in the past. Not only did he win … but it came via first-period pin.
Edeler won his first two matches, then fell in the semifinals and again in the consolation round to drop into the fifth-place match. In the second of those two setbacks, Edeler was up big when he got caught and pinned. “That was disappointing,” said Sanford. “But he came back strong, winning his next match and taking fifth.”
The third G-R wrestler at 220, Billy Jones, went 0-2.
Sanford said he was encouraged by his team’s performance.
“On Saturday morning, they let a lot of those kids who lost early to get exhibition matches against other kids who had been beaten out — and for the most part, everybody got a win in that,” he said.
Jones picked up his first win as a Buff, beating a heavyweight opponent.
Chavis, Gibbs and Wollam also tasted victory in that phase of the tourney.
“It was good to have those guys who did get beat out get to wrestle again,” said Sanford. “As a whole, I think we took steps forward. We didn’t make the kind of big mistakes that we did the previous week. So we got that cleaned up, I think. Yes, we lost some matches, but we were battling in them.
“What everyone needs to realize is, when you’re facing better competition, it’s not like they’re running anything different. They are just running it harder and faster. We need to react to that. We are doing the right things. But to beat that level of competition, we just need to do it harder and faster. Everybody who went took a step forward, though.”
G-R will compete in a dual tournament this weekend in Wright, with action scheduled Friday and Saturday. Sanford said he likes the tournament because G-R will get to see how it stacks up against 2A teams from the eastern side of the state. But with it being a dual tournament, G-R will be hampered if it has a lot of open spots in its lineup, as it did in Forsyth.