Alex Schlattmann and Dawson McEwan emerged victorious from last weekend’s Greybull Memorial Invitational wrestling tournament, placing first and second in their respective weight class. With only six wrestlers competing in the tournament, the small Greybull-Riverside squad edged out larger teams like Thermopolis and Shoshoni while going toe-to-toe with others.
At 132 pounds, Felipe Gaytan hoped to start the tournament off strong for the Rebeloes. According to Sanford, Gaytan and other wrestlers up and down the line appeared more aggressive than at prior meets – possibly due to their home-mat appearance. While Gaytan hoped to channel that energy in his matches, he was pinned during the first period of his match against Dalton McMillan. After receiving a first-round bye in the consolation bracket, Gaytan went on to pin Lovell’s Alex Nicholson in the third period.
Following Nicholson, Gaytan faced Moorcroft’s Caleb Cook – a wrestler he fell to the night before. While he fared better against Cook that day than before, a slip up in the third period cost him the match.
“He wrestled his heart out but still lost 10 – 6,” said Coach Mark Sanford. “When he was going from our takedown, [Cook] stepped over him and dropped Gaytan to his back, scoring five points.”
One win short of placing, Caleb Bottom performed exceptional in the 138 pound weight class. Defeated by Moorcroft’s Cole Cook in the first round of the championship, Bottom fell into consolation round where he excelled. Although initially thrown on his back and held toward the mat, Bottom reversed Thermopolis’ Jeffery VanAntwerp for a second-period pin. He continued his victory romp with a 12 3 major decision win over Wind River’s Dawson Looper. According to Sanford, Bottom would have liked a pin but was unable to secure one.
“We had him on his back a couple of times but he kept getting away,” he said.
Despite having what Sanford felt was a “better showing,” Bottom was pinned at the end of the first period by Klayton Rose of Dubois.
Basin junior Alex Schlattmann emerged dominant at 145 pounds. According to Sanford, Schlattmann’s matches not only earned him the championship but also garnered him recognition for outstanding performance.
Schlattmann received a bye during the first round of the championship due to his high seeding, allowing him to rest and observe the competition before taking the mat. He made quick work of his quarterfinal opponent – Lander Valley’s Slater Coffee – pinning him in 17 seconds of the first period. Schlattmann would remain dominant throughout the rest of the bracket, winning his semifinal and championship matches via decision.
“I thought Schlattmann wrestled a really smart match,” Sanford said regarding his final match against Lander Valley’s William Atnip. “Atnip made a mistake at the end – he went to cut us loose and we took him down and rode him out.” While Corbin Slattery faced difficulty in the same weight, he did not back down from the challenge. A slip-up by Lovell’s Logan Nunn allowed Slattery to take the advantage and pin him in the third period. Slattery was pinned by Atnip, the eventual second-place wrestler, during the second period quarterfinal match.
During the second consolation round, Slattery defeated Wyoming Indian’s Jacob Perry by a 15 4 major decision. While Sanford was happy with the result, he knew Slattery could have pinned his opponent.
“Corbin is a better wrestler than Perry, but we needed to do a few things better to get the pin – we got out of position several times and kept it closer than needed at several points. He needs to do things correctly and to completion.” With a couple of matches under his belt at a heavier weight, Dawson McEwan demonstrated skill and capability at 182 pounds. In his first match against Lovell’s Kerry Powell, McEwan was able to pin his opponent early in the second period. He kept the momentum going with back-to-back, first-period pins against Moorcroft’s Peyton Morris and Rocky Mountain’s Kyle Hoyt – a currently ranked 2A competitor.
Sanford attributed McEwan’s successful string of pins to his strength and athleticism.
“When Dawson gets a guy and puts him down, it’s pretty hard to get away from him once he’s settled in.” For the championship match, McEwan faced off against Moorcroft’s Tucker Allison. According to Sanford, McEwan was able to maintain his pace with Allison but was ultimately pinned after a mistake.
“We tried to go under him but got stuck on our hip. We can’t do that – he’s way too good about knowing when there’s danger.” Allison pinned McEwan during the second period, taking the championship title.
Dade Greene was pulled due to injury, allowing Austin Paxton to wrestle at 220 pounds. According to Sanford, Paxton enjoyed competing against physically smaller opponents than true heavyweights. Receiving a first round bye, Paxton took the mat in the quarterfinals against Powell’s Logan Lamb. Lamb pinned Paxton late in the second period, moving him to the consolation round.
Paxton was able to pin Shoshoni’s Ethan Highsmith early in the first period. While Sanford was glad Paxton emerged with the win, he cautioned against solely relying on his strategy of throwing the opponent to the mat. According to him, once it is executed, it is easy to anticipate and counter.
While Paxton was able to take down Moorcroft’s Lane Mosteller in the consolation semifinals, Mosteller escaped and reversed the takedown. Paxton was ultimately pinned in the second period and eliminated from the bracket.
As Wrestling season winds down, the Rebeloes venture to Riverton this Friday and Saturday for the Ron Thon Memorial Invitational. Sanford plans on splitting the team between JV and varsity due to the expected level of competition.
“[The Ron Thon] is pretty much the best kids in the state – If you place in that, you’re one of the top wrestlers in your weight class. This gives the kids an opportunity to see the best guys in the state and watch them work at a pace they may not have seen before.” While he recognizes the challenges of a young team, Sanford remains optimistic about regionals and the state championship.
“It’s going to be tough, but hopefully we can get them all there. A lot of our younger, inexperienced kids are in weights with a lot of kids and tough competition. It’ll make it harder on us, but I know we can do it.”