by nathan oster
It was a weekend of first steps for the Greybull-Riverside wrestling team.
Led by Coach Mark Sanford, G-R opened the season in disappointing fashion, losing all the contested matches in a Thursday night dual in Thermopolis, before bouncing back to wrestle better at the Powell Athletic Roundtable Invitational Friday and Saturday.
Cole Hill, who claimed third at 160, and Tre Nelson, fourth at 120, led the charge in Powell.
“The weekend was a lot better,” said Sanford. “The kids showed improvement.”
Thursday night was a downer for the Buffs.
Thermopolis won the dual 35-24, with all of G-R’s points coming via forfeit.
Six varsity matches were held.
Thermopolis won them all.
“We didn’t have our full lineup there and we knew we’d have to match up against their tough kids,” said Sanford.
Thermopolis is strong at the lower weights, with returning state placers Vinchinzo Castle at 120, Luciano Castle at 126 and Ryan Bradshaw at 138. They went a perfect 3-0, as Vinchinzo Castle pinned Tre Nelson, Luciano Castle outpointed Jorge Carmona 15-8 and Bradshaw topped Marshall Gibbs 13-2.
Sanford said Nelson, Carmona and Gibbs all did good things in losing efforts.
“We probably should have done a little better with (Luciano),” he said, noting that at one point in the match, Carmona led 6-2. An eight-point third period catapulted Castle to the win.
The other three matches also went to Thermopolis, as Cullen Becher topped Ryan Peoples 9-1 at 145 before Colter Hanson pinned G-R 152-pounder Chase Peoples and Michael Harvey pinned Morgen Wollam at 170.
Sanford said he knew the Buffs would need to win one of these three matches to win the dual.
It didn’t happen. Ryan Peoples might have had the best shot, but could never get on track against Becher.
Alex Schlattmann, at 132, Cole Hill, at 160, Anthony Eibert, at 182, and Billy Jones, at 220, won their matches by forfeit.
“We got outwrestled, we got outcoached and we lost to a seven-man team,” said Sanford, summing up the night.
The Buffs placed 13th at the tournament in Powell, scoring 33 points. Powell won it with 290 points, followed by Lander with 226 and Natrona County with 213. Lovell, with 152 points, was the top 2A finisher.
G-R entered only five wrestlers in the varsity division: Nelson, Schlattmann, Hill, Eibert and Chase Peoples.
Nelson, wrestling at 120, went 2-2 in pool wrestling, good enough the No. 5 seed for Saturday’s bracketed tournament. His reward was another matchup with Vinny Castle, which again went to the Thermopolis standout. Nelson beat a wrestler from Lovell before bowing out with a 9-1 loss to Wittick of Powell in the fifth-place match.
“Not a bad outing for Tre,” said Sanford. “There’s a lot to clean up, but we kept battling … and put himself in a position to place, which was good.”
Chase Peoples, wrestling at 138, “did a much better job” in Thermopolis. He didn’t make the bracketed tournament, but showed a lot of aggressiveness, something that wasn’t there on the opening weekend a year ago. Peoples did win a couple of exhibition matchups in Powell.
Schlattmann gained valuable experience as well, competing at 132. Like Peoples, he came up short of making the bracketed tournament. “But he came away with a good attitude and a greater understanding of what high school wrestling is about and what it’s going to take for him to succeed,” said Sanford.
Hill was one of the top wrestlers at 160. Looking “better and more offensive on his feet than he has in the past,” Hill went 4-0 in the pools and won two of his three matches in the bracketed tournament, with his only loss, a 6-1 decision, coming to the eventual champion, Davis of Powell, in the semifinals.
Eibert wrestled “up” at 182. Eventually he’ll likely be in the mix at 170. In Powell, he went 0-3 in pools, losing each by fall. On the plus side, he did notch wins in two of his exhibition matches.
In junior varsity action, Jorge Carmona placed third at 126, Marshall Gibbs placed fourth at 138 and Ryan Peoples did not place at 145. Nick Schlattmann won a match in the pools and two more in exhibitions. Matt Romero also won a couple of exhibition matches for G-R.
Greybull-Riverside will return to action this weekend at the Wright Dual Tournament.
Sanford said he’s looking forward to it. Among other things, he’s hopeful of having a few more wrestlers available to pencil into his lineup.