by nathan oster
The new year couldn’t have begun on a much happier note for the Greybull-Riverside wrestlers, who buried Lovell and Rocky Mountain to win their second Big Horn County Dual Championships title in three years.
Scores were 45-24 over Rocky Mountain and 56-28 over Lovell.
“Last year we were third, so it was good to come back after the break, wrestle well as a team and do some really good things,” said Coach Mark Sanford.
Rocky Mountain “didn’t have a full lineup,” but Sanford said that doesn’t diminish what his team accomplished Friday in Cowley. The Grizzlies went in ranked second in 2A, behind only Moorcroft, in the most recent wyowrestling.com rankings. G-R was sixth in that same poll.
“I think we’d have fared well (even if they had everyone),” said Sanford. “The effort was really good.”
Sanford said Luis Burgos (No. 2 at 113) scored a big win for G-R, beating Brian Crawford 8-3. Crawford is ranked No. 1 at 106. “Luis controlled the match and didn’t do anything to get himself in trouble,” he said. “A great win for us.”
Tre Nelson, wrestling for the first time this season, also picked up a win.
Jovani Garay turned in the heart-stopper of the night. He trailed his 152-pound opponent 11-2 going into the third period before scoring a takedown, putting him on his back and cinching him up for the pin. Jose Carmona also scored an impressive win for G-R.
“We got on a roll and kept it going,” said Sanford.
The biggest downer of the dual came when Anthony Eibert lost to Shay Bond, the No. 3 ranked 170-pounder in 2A. “We thought we could have done a little better there, but for the most part, it was a good outing for us.”
G-R was able to double up Lovell thanks to “a couple of really big wins” in highly contested matches. Sanford said Jorge Carmona got one of them, via the pin. Alex Schlattmann also came up big, sticking Joey Mickelson (No. 5 ranked 138 pounder in 3A). Eibert and Cole Hill also scored pins for G-R’s cause.
Sanford said a couple matches didn’t go his team’s way, including the 182-pound tussle involving Jose Carmona and Kenneth Powell. Powell came out on top, winning by pin. Up until that point, Carmona hadn’t lost a match all season. Another was at 195, where Lane Nielsen (No. 4, 182, 2A) faced Merrill Beck of Lovell (No. 3, 182, 3A). Beck prevailed, 10-1.
Dawson McEwan went 1-1 and Taven Pharris 1-0 in exhibition matchups.
The wrestlers spent Saturday at the Shoshoni Duals, where they won four of five matchups and placed third.
G-R opened with a 48-28 win over Dubois.
“They were open at a lot of weights, but we did have some nice wins,” said Sanford.
Jorge Carmona had one of them, beating Klayton Rose (No. 7 at 113).
Marshall Gibbs, Alex Schlattmann, Cole Hill and Anthony Eibert also notched pins for G-R, with Eiberts, in particular, being impressive because it came against one of the Rams’ top wrestlers in Zak Rose (No. 3 at 182).
Next up was Big Piney. G-R prevailed 48-32. “They’ve tightened the gap on us a little bit,” he said. Burgos, Schlattmann, Hill and Eibert won by pin, as did Jose Carmona, who faced a wrestler he’d had trouble with in the past.
G-R then faced Wyoming Indian. The school that won the Big Horn Basin Basketball Classic in Lovell isn’t known for its wrestling tradition. G-R spanked the Chiefs 60-6, winning every matchup by pin and giving up only a forfeit at heavyweight.
That set the stage for a showdown with Lyman, which entered ranked fifth in 2A.
“I knew they’d be tough to beat, especially since we didn’t have everything we needed to have in terms of kids in our lineup,” said Sanford. Lyman hung on to win, 39-33, and then proceeded to knock off Rocky Mountain (which came out of the other side) to earn the title.
Several G-R wrestlers won, including Burgos, Hill, Jose Carmona, Schlattmann and Nielsen. The latter two did so in dramatic fashion. Schlattmann was trailing on the scoreboard when he notched a third-period pin. Nielsen was in what Sanford described as a “battle” at 195, one that he won 9-5. “I was proud of how he wrestled … and how he finished,” said the coach.
G-R capped the day with a 42-30 win over the host Wranglers. Jorge Carmona and Marshall Gibbs both wrestled “up” a weight class — and both responded with pinfall victories. Among the other winners for G-R were Hill, Eibert and Jose Carmona.
Sanford called it “a good weekend” for his team. “The big thing we’ve talked about the last couple of weeks has been cutting down on our mistakes — and for the most part, we did that,” he said. “We lost a couple of matches we shouldn’t have, but I don’t think any of the teams, with the exception of Lyman, really took it to us with physicality.
“When we lost matches, it usually wasn’t something they did, but rather something that we did … which we can work on fixing. I feel good about where we are headed. Hopefully the kids keep working hard in the room.”
G-R heads to the Don Runner Invitational, which is typically a preview of the Class 2A West Regional. With the exception again of Lyman, everyone else in the region is expected to attend, including perennial power Cokeville.