by nathan oster
The Bobcat Invitational may not be what it once was in terms of size and quality, but winning the team title on Saturday in Thermopolis still provided a much-needed boost for the Greybull-Riverside wrestling squad.
The Buffs, who for the first time this season found themselves out of the top five in 2A on wyowrestling.com, accumulated 146.5 points to top the seven-team field. Among the teams in that field were Lovell, which wyowrestling.com had ranked fourth in 2A, and Thermopolis, the fifth-ranked team in 2A.
The Bobcats finished second with 121.5 points, Columbus, Mont., was third with 115, Lovell — with several kids missing — was fourth with 106, Wind River fifth with 86.5, Worland JV sixth with 65.5 and Dubois seventh with 52.
G-R finished with only two champions, as Zane Edeler took top honors in the combined 182-195 class and Spencer Redland did the same in the combined 220-285 class. Edeler, normally a 195-pounder, feasted mostly on 182-pounders en route to compiling a 4-0 record, according to Sanford.
As for Redland, he was perfect 3-0, notching a win over teammate Tanner Bernstein in the final. Bernstein usually goes at 285, or heavyweight, for the Buffs.
G-R was open at 106.
Jorge Carmona went 2-3 and finished fourth at 113.
Tre Nelson, who didn’t make weight at 106, gave it a go at 120 and won two of his three matches to capture second place.
Marshall Gibbs, at 126, went 1-2 and finished third.
Dylan Roberts went 2-3 and placed third.
Nick Schlattmann went 0-2 and placed third at 138.
Cole Hill went 2-1, losing only to Thermopolis standout Zack Larson, en route to a second-place finish at 145.
Ashton and Tyler Wollam represented G-R well at 152. Both won two and lost two. Tyler earned fourth place, while Ashton landed in fifth.
At 160-170, Anthony Eibert went 3-2 and placed third.
Rounding out the G-R effort were heavyweights Bernstein, who went 2-1 and placed second, and Billy Jones, who went 0-2 and didn’t place in the 220-285 class.
“While the level of competition wasn’t what we needed, it was good for the kids to come out of there with a victory,” said Sanford. “But we need to be able to do that against stiffer competition as well.”
The tournament win came two days on the heels of a 63-11 thrashing at the hands of Powell.
Led by Nate Urbach, the Panthers are a 3A powerhouse. Not only are they the top-ranked team, but they also have five wrestlers who hold down No. 1 ranking in their respective weight classes on wyowrestling.com.
While the score suggests it was a rout, Sanford said, “I didn’t feel terrible about the effort we put out on the mat. We wrestled hard. We didn’t say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s the black-and-orange, Powell.’ We battled them.”
G-R was credited with two wins — one came on a forfeit at 220 pounds, which is Spencer Redland’s turf, the other on a major decision by 113-pounder Jorge Carmona, who beat Marshall Wittick 15-1.
Several Buffs turned in solid performances in losing efforts, however.
Jesus Burgos lost 6-1 to Matt Widdicombe, the No. 2 ranked 152-pounder in 3A.
Tyler Wollam “had a good effort” before getting pinned by Jacob Davis, the No. 2 ranked 160 pounder in 3A.
Zane Edeler, at 195, “went for broke too early in the match” and ended up getting pinned in the first period by Zack Thompson.
Tanner Bernstein suffered the same fate at heavyweight, losing by a first-period pin to Rowdy Gard. Bernstein did get the first takedown in the match, however.
Tre Nelson did a “a fine job” in his first foray at 106, losing 9-3 to Noah Wozney, who for a time was the No. 2 ranked 106-pounder in 3A. Sanford said Nelson put Wozney on his back in the third period, and that as the season winds down, 106 — and not 113 or 120 where he started the year — is where Nelson will enjoy the most success.
Sanford also offered kudos to Marshall Gibbs for his work against Nic Urbach at 126. Urbach is ranked No. 1 in 3A, and while he did record a second period pin, he had to earn it, as Marshall “battled through everything Nic threw at him in the first period.”
The most competitive match of the night came in the finale when Cole Hill lined up opposite Kye Catlin at 145. Catlin, ranked No. 1 in 3A, got the first takedown and led 3-2 after one. But Hill, ranked fifth in 2A, rallied in the second to tie it at 4 apiece. In the final period, Catlin scored a point on an escape, then two more on a takedown when Hill got out of position while in the process of going for a takedown of his own, all of which added up to a 7-4 Catlin win.
G-R gets to stay home this weekend, as the Buffs will host a dual with Wright on Friday night followed by their annual memorial tournament on Saturday.
Whereas in the past they have been joined by Moorcroft, this year Wright will be the only team on the dance card for Lovell and Greybull on Friday night. Wright and Lovell will dual at 6 p.m., followed by the Greybull-Wright dual at 7 p.m.
Saturday’s tournament starts at 10 a.m. Moorcroft won’t be here, but several other quality 2A teams will be. As of Monday, the field included Shoshoni, Wind River, Rocky Mountain, Thermopolis, Dubois and some representatives of the Powell and Cody teams.
Sanford said the weekend will feature a number of important head-to-head matchups, and that his team “needs to be ready to compete” starting the moment it steps onto the mat against its 2A rivals, some of whom they won’t see again until the regional tournament. He called Shoshoni “the team to beat” in the team competition.