by nathan oster
Greybull-Riverside wrestlers won eight of their 15 varsity encounters at the Big Horn County Dual Championships, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome the points they lost due to forfeits in matchups against Lovell and Rocky Mountain.
The Bulldogs ended up winning this year’s championship, going 2-0 in dual action. Rocky Mountain followed at 1-1. G-R went 0-2, falling to Lovell 45-27 and to Rocky Mountain 48-36.
In both, open weights proved costly for the home team.
G-R didn’t enter a wrestler at 106, 113, 195, 220 or 285. So in the Rocky Mountain dual, 30 of the Grizzlies’ 48 points came via forfeit. In the Lovell dual, the Bulldogs were also open at 106, so the swing in those same five weight classes represented a difference of 24 points.
It should be noted that G-R also got some cheap points on the night, with Jorge Carmona scoring a forfeit win at 120 against Rocky Mountain and Lane Nielson, at 182, and Tyler Wollam, at 152, doing the same in the Lovell dual.
The net result of all the forfeits was that before a single whistle was blown, G-R knew it would have to make up 24 points in the Rocky Mountain dual and 12 points in the Lovell dual. While it came up short, G-R turned in several quality performances, according to Coach Mark Sanford.
“We were starting matches aggressively, getting after it, no matter who we were up against,” said Sanford. “Some of the kids we were facing had had success before. We went right after them, and that’s the attitude you have to have.
“Some of our inexperience showed against those kids who had the experience. But as a team, we did a lot of good things.”
G-R went 3-4 in the contested varsity matches against Lovell.
Jorge Carmona, wrestling at 120, pinned Jaret Wilkerson in 1:36.
Cole Hill, the team’s most accomplished returnee going at 160, decisioned Merrill Beck, 8-1.
And at 170, Jose Carmona notched a pin in 3:22 for his first ever varsity win. He was filling in for Anthony Eibert, who suffered an injury in practice. “Jose did a great job of getting in there,” said Sanford. “He went like crazy… sometimes I wasn’t sure if even he knew which way he was going out there … but it was awesome that he got a win.”
Sanford offered praise for the four G-R matmen who lost matches as well.
Tre Nelson wrestled up at 126, a class or two above where his weight suggests, and came up short against Trey Smith, 8-1.
Marshall Gibbs had a tough customer in Jacob Mickelson. “He wrestled him tough,” said Sanford. Mickelson eventually earned a pin in 5:00.
Ashton Wollam was right in his match with Joseph Bassett at 138 before he too succumbed to a pin, losing in 4:59.
Same story for Matt Romero at 145, who was pinned by Joey Mickelson in 4:44.
“All of these guys wrestled hard against some good opponents,” said Sanford.
The Rocky Mountain dual was every bit as competitive. G-R won five of the eight contested matchups. Tre Nelson pinned Trevan Lytle in 31 seconds at 126; 132-pounder Marshall Gibbs pinned Emmett Carlson in 1:37; 160-pounder Cole Hill pinned Michael Bowman in 1:35; 170-pounder Jose Carmona pinned Dylan North in 4:55 and 182-pounder Lane Nielson pinned Chace Brand in 11 seconds.
Among the highlights of those triumphs, Sanford said Nielson’s pin was one of the fastest of his tenure as G-R wrestling coach, that Hill’s win over Bowman was “a quality one,” and that Gibbs did a nice job in his match at 132. Carmona also came up big, overcoming a deficit in his pin of North.
Ashton Wollam, Matt Romero and Tyler Wollam all lost via the pin. Sanford said Ashton Wollam’s was a particularly tough one to swallow, as he was leading 8-2 at the time. So instead of gaining points at 138, G-R instead lost six to the Grizzlies.
Sanford said his lineup remains a work in progress. His hope is that at some point in the near future, he’ll be able to pencil in Luis Burgos at 106, Nelson at 113, Jorge Carmona at 120, Alex Schlattmann at 126 and Gibbs at 132.
G-R heads to the Don Runner Invitational this weekend. A bracketed varsity tournament, it’ll also serve as a preview of the Class 2A West Regional. “How we fare at this tournament will play a big role in determining seedings for regionals,” said Sanford. “In some cases, there will be kids there that we see again. But in some, there won’t. So it’s important for us to wrestle well.”