Daily Archives: March 1, 2012
by marlys good
There will be a little bit of everything and something for everyone at Greybull’s first-ever Spring Home and Gift Show Saturday, March 10 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Herb Asp Community Center.
According to Heather Howe of the Greybull Recreation District, “We are trying to draw area and small businesses, as well as individuals, to let people see what this area has to offer. It is similar to the Christmas bazaar but with a wider variety of items. We have vendors coming who have never participated in bazaars before and we have a lot of very talented people in this area who need a venue such as this.”
There will be homemade lotions, soaps, hats, scarves, home-baked goods, rough-cut wood furniture, pottery, jewelry, a bridal/wedding section that even offers rentals, cabinetry, a full line of mattresses, and all-occasion gifts – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, baby, wedding and birthday, and much more.
Because of the larger items being offered, the number of booths has been downsized to 50.
Howe said the idea of a Home Improvement Show was discussed last year, but “It fell into the category of, would it be big enough to draw in enough people? We put it on the back burner and decided to think about it for another year and then decided to expand on it.”
Breakfast and lunch will be offered and tables will be set aside so diners can eat in comfort, or have a place to sit while their “better halves” are browsing the aisles.
All proceeds from the show will go into the general fund. Said Recreation Director Chris Waite, “We are saving money for improvements to the building – specifically the walls.”
Howe said she was excited about the Home and Gift Show. “I really hope it goes over well.”
With the straw poll completed and precincts having voted on their platforms and resolutions, the entire Big Horn County GOP will gather Tuesday at the Basin City Arts Center.
Results for the all of Wyoming were not available by press time with Sweetwater County conducting its caucus and straw poll on Wednesday. In Big Horn County Mitt Romney received 70 percent of the votes, 88 of 125 cast, for the GOP presidential nomination. Ron Paul received 17.6 percent (22 votes) and Rick Santorum received 12 percent (15 votes). Newt Gingrich did not receive any votes in the county.
County GOP Chairman Dave Mattis said he was pleased with the turnout last Tuesday at the Republican caucuses in Lovell and Basin. He said about 100 people attended in Lovell, and about 32 in Basin. Not all those attending cast votes in the straw poll.
Romney, with six counties yet to have their straw poll and caucuses, was leading in Wyoming with 691 votes of 1,651 cast. Santorum is currently in second place with 519, Paul third with 317, Gingrich fourth with 115 and there were nine other or write-in votes.
Of the counties reporting results as of Monday, Romney won in Albany, Big Horn, Lincoln, Sublette, Teton, Uinta and Washakie counties. Santorum won in Campbell, Carbon, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, Laramie and Natrona. Paul won in Weston and Sheridan counties.
Next up for the county Republicans is Tuesday’s county convention. The carry-in dinner will be at 6 p.m. with the convention starting at 7 p.m. Mattis said the Central Committee will meet prior to the dinner.
The convention’s main purpose, Mattis said, is to elect the 12 delegates and 12 alternates to the state convention and one national delegate to the national convention.
The county GOP delegates will also vote on the platforms and resolutions submitted from last Tuesday’s caucuses. The platforms and resolutions approved Tuesday will be submitted to the state for action at the state convention.
Mattis said all registered Republicans are encouraged to come to the dinner and convention, but only precinct delegates will be allowed to vote.
Tickets are also on sale from any precinct committee person for the Lincoln Day Dinner March 17 at the Lovell Community Center. Mattis said Governor Matt Mead will be the keynote speaker but due to the governor’s schedule he will speak at 5:30 p.m. A meet and greet will begin at 5 p.m. Dinner will begin at about 6 p.m., followed by other speeches and the auction.
by nathan oster
The family that bought and is working to restore the old Masonic Temple has added another property with historical significance in Greybull to its growing collection of real estate.
Erik and Susan Sales, along with sons Jacob and Ben and daughter Jennifer, recently completed the purchase of the old Greybull elevator property along North Seventh Street from David VanGelder, whose family had owned it since 1970.
Separated by just a couple of blocks, the two properties are part of the same vision for the Sales family, which as Susan describes it, is to “encourage tourism” and “share the wonderful history of our area with locals and people passing through town.”
The Sales still have big plans for the Masonic Temple, although Susan acknowledges that the opening of the theater and community gathering room has taken longer than anticipated.
“We have a projector and a sound system ready to go in, and we should have the theater, at the very least, functioning by Memorial Day weekend,” she said. “It’s been a very long project; so many things came up against us.
“The building is older and had been abandoned … it was a much larger task than we anticipated when we purchased it.”
Sales said Masonic Temple lacks the required space for a museum, and for that reason, she and her husband moved on the elevator property.
“This building has a lot more room and works for the museum we want to put together,” she said. The museum would celebrate “the history of our area — everything from oral history with local residents, to the history of farming, the railroad and the oil industry. All things that make Greybull what it is today.”
During a walk-through Monday morning, Sales shared her vision for the building. Construction of the elevator began in 1919. In 1939, a schoolhouse was brought in. As time went on, other rooms were added.
Sales has a vision for all of them, starting with the old schoolhouse, which she sees as “a gathering room for activities” and a showcase of “old school items.” That opening of that room, which also features an operational scale, will be celebrated in a grand opening sometime in March.
She also wants to turn an upstairs area into a “loft and study area.” In the elevator part, there is a room where there will be “a live, functioning exhibit” where people who visit will be able to see how grain was moved from the truck and taken through the whole process, including cleaning. One of the few operational Fairbanks scales in existence will also be a focal point of that room.
Elsewhere in the elevator Sales envisions a “tack room showing the history of shepherders and cowboys,” and arboretum filled with plants — ”kind of like walking into a rain forest,” she said — and an area for an indoor farmer’s market which could ultimately be expanded to include a dinner theater.
“But that’s way, way out there,” she said. “We’ll do everything in phases. We do have a vision. We are working on it as we have the funds.”
In a room that was once used as a sound room by the band formerly known as the Saugers, the Sales have developed an office, which includes a desk where oral histories are being filmed.
Sales said she and her husband haven’t worked through all the aspects of their business plan, saying simply, “We hope to gain whatever we can from being able to share (this building with the community).”
Sales said she has filed for non-profit status for both the Masonic building and the elevator. Local residents may have already noticed that the murals are once again illuminated at night, something the Sales did just a matter of weeks ago.
“We’ve applied for a grant to have the murals redone,” Sales said. “We got it re-lit though. That was a big chore. We had to rewire everything.”
Sales said anyone who would like to make a donation of cash, items or volunteer labor is invited to contact her at (307) 921-0751.
by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council is proceeding with plans to hire an administrator who would oversee the various departments and take the lead in the development and monitoring of the town’s budget.
Council members voted during a special meeting Feb. 20 to begin advertising for an administrator/finance director and to formally do away with the public works director position and instead hire a town foreman.
Town Clerk Kathy Smith suggested the council consider the hiring of an administrator in a memo. She cited several recent developments, from the changes atop the public works department following the termination of Randy Rumpler, followed soon thereafter by the sudden departure of his replacement, Mike Packer, as well as the impending retirement of deputy/court clerk Kay Mattis in June, as reasons for her reorganization plan.
Smith said in the memo the “position changes that would benefit the town and assist us in a more progressive direction.” Smith cited in her memo the need for “more professional assistance” that would “take some burdens off the mayor and the council and act as a stabilizer from one administration to another.”
The town clerk and treasurer for the past 12 years, Smith proposed that those duties be split, that she move into the clerk position and assume the duties of court clerk (now held by Mattis), and that the treasurer position be redefined as a finance office and include the additional title of administrator.
By hiring an administrator, she said in her memo, the town would relieve some of the duties that fell the public works director and the town clerk/treasurer, and by doing so, Smith said the pay for those two positions could be reduced and the public works director could become more of a town foreman.
Smith said her proposal would not have a dramatic impact financially on the town, though some of that would depend upon the pay for the administrator. Her preliminary estimate for an increase was set at $8,000.
During the special meeting, Smith conceded that the new position could cost slightly more than that.
In the ad appearing in this week’s issue, the town is seeking a person to “perform accounting and budgetary duties for the town,” along with “the supervision of department heads.”
The salary will depend upon experience, but the town is proposing in the range of $58,000 to $62,000.
Discussion at the special meeting focused on the need for the position. Mayor Frank Houk said administrators have worked in Star Valley and Moorcroft and that they’re becoming more common in smaller communities. Lovell had one, but does not at the present time.
Houk described the administrator as “a full-time overseer” of the entire municipal operation.
Councilor Bob Graham was a strong supporter of the proposal, saying an administrator would function like a superintendent does for the school district — in other words, he or she would oversee all departments and report directly to the council.
Graham said one of the biggest check marks in the “pros” column is that an administrator would be able to pick up some of the work that is now being done — in many cases, at great expense — by the town’s engineering firm. He said an administrator might also be able to do some of the legal work that now falls upon the town’ legal counsel.
Councilor Bob McGuire said he had some concerns — including the fact that hiring an administrator would add a layer between the council and staff members. He also expressed concern about the impact the position would have on the town’s budget. Ultimately, though, he voted in favor of the position.
The last half of the special meeting was devoted to the structure of the public works department — and specifically, whether the town needed to add another employee. Betty Runyan and Joe Scott were recently brought on as the newest members of the crew.
Dalen Davis, who took over for Packer, is currently serving as the foreman. The other members include Brenda Peterson, who is in charge of the parks and snow removal; Jose Nevarez, who is back on the garbage truck; Roberta Nelson, who has been running the street sweeper and doing sewer work, and Steve Nielson, who handles the recycling program and reads meters.
The town will look to add a permanent foreman — but council members opted during the special meeting to first fill the administrator/finance director position before seeking applicants.
March 3, 1924 – Feb. 6, 2012
Shirley Oliver was born Myrtle Don Brown in Holland, Texas on March 3, 1924, to Leonard and Josephine Brown.
Shirley was educated as a nurse’s aid during World War II in Houston. In 1944, she married Joe Harris, which ended in divorce. Shirley came to Greybull, Wyo., in 1960. In 1961 she married the love of her life, Leland Oliver. They were married 35 wonderful years until he passed away in 1996.
Shirley worked as a cook at the Greybull/Basin Head Start for over 20 years. She found the children and cooking very rewarding. The kids called her “Cook Shirley” (which she loved) even years after they had grown up. “Cook Shirley” finally hung her apron up in 1997 at the age of 73.
She remained in Greybull until 2005, when she moved to Casper, Wyo., to be close to family. In 2009, Shirley moved to Sheridan, Wyo., where she lived her final years trying to help others and touching the hearts of everyone she came in contact with.
She was preceded in death by her husband Leland, her parents Leonard and Josephine, daughter Linda, a son Ronald, four sisters Minnie, Martha, Isabelle, and Rosie, two brothers Wesley and Leonard, two grandsons Josh and Bryant and one granddaughter, Toni.
Shirley is survived by five daughters and their husbands, Brenda and Dan, Judy and Doug, Rita and Steven, Carol and Shirley Jo; two sons Mike and Jeff; her long lost nephew David and his wife Joan, 25 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
Shirley Oliver will be laid to rest next to her husband in the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery in Greybull during graveside services this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Greybull/Basin Head Start.
by nathan oster
The Greybull Buffs are headed back to the state tournament after knocking off Big Piney and Kemmerer and capturing fourth place at last weekend’s Class 2A West Regional Tournament in Riverton.
The wins came sandwiched between losses to Wyoming Indian in Thursday’s opening round and to Lovell in Saturday’s third-place game.
But big picture, those didn’t matter.
The Buffs accomplished their goal.
“We had talked all week in preparation for the tournament that the goal was just to get through the weekend and move on to Casper,” said Coach Jim Prather. “We didn’t care, from the standpoint of whether we lost our first game or our second game – if we would have been fortunate enough to win our first game.
“Win two before we lose two…that was our mantra.”
That mindset came in handy after the opener, a crushing 68-63 loss to the Chiefs that had to feel like one that got away. Crushed earlier in the season in Ethete, the Buffs were competitive throughout and even led at one point in the fourth quarter before faltering in the final minute.
“The kids just played a fantastic game,” said Prather, who credited his assistant, Nolan Tracy, for his work on the bench in his absence. “One of the goals going in was to be better defensively, and as the final indicated, we made real progress in that area.”
With Austin Frazier clicking to the tune of 23 and Neil Getzfreid netting 13 and ripping down a man-sized 17 boards, the Buffs gave the Chiefs all they wanted. But in the end, it wasn’t enough.
“The kids were pretty grounded after the game … we knew we weren’t done,” Prather said. “We had played in an exciting game, in a great environment, but we knew that there was unfinished business to be taken care of, and the next day the kids came out and played with a purpose.”
The victim was Big Piney. The loser-out game was all Greybull, as the Buffs raced out to a 12-1 first-quarter lead and never looked back, winning 59-29. Frazier tossed in 17 and Kason Clutter 14 to key the victory.
What that game lacked in drama was made up in the Saturday morning, state tourney qualifier between the Buffs and Kemmerer. With a state tourney berth on the line, the two teams traded blows for four quarters before a couple of free throws by Frazier with 1 second to play secured a 47-45 win for the Buffs.
“It wasn’t our best game,” said Prather, whose team led by as many as 10 at one point before seeing the Rangers put on a late charge to tie it with 30 seconds to go. The Buffs tried going for the last shot, but a turnover cost them that opportunity.
Kemmerer returned the favor, however, with a turnover of its own that gave the Buffs the ball with 2.5 seconds left. Frazier was bringing the ball up the floor, 50 feet from the basket, when he was fouled by a Kemmerer kid “who was just trying to make a play,” according to Prather.
The Greybull senior calmly stepped to the line and drilled both, giving the Buffs a two-point lead. Kemmerer’s last-second bid to tie was unsuccessful, and the Buffs were on to state.
“We’ve been saying all season long that at some point, free throws were either going to cost us a game or win us a game,” Prather said. “Poor free-throw shooting probably cost us a league championship, because there were a couple games we could have won if we’d shot better at the line. This was one time when we really came through.”
In addition to Frazier’s clutch two, Hayden Goton also had a pair of clutch free throws late.
Clutter was the only Buff in double figures finishing with 17.
With their Casper trip secured, the Buffs didn’t have much to gain in the third-place game, and with a couple of starters “gimpy” and “banged up from a long season” Prather substituted freely throughout in a 70-46 loss to Lovell.
“Our goal was simply not to get anyone hurt,” Prather said. “We had qualified for Casper.”
Clutter was the top scorer with 14.
Prather said it was a good weekend for everyone, but singled out Clutter for “a phenomenal weekend” in which he exceeded every one of the team’s offensive goals, including shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from behind the arc and averaging 15 points per game.
And while he didn’t light it up statistically, senior Travis Sylvester drew praise for his defense. “He’s the heart and soul of our defense,” said Prather. “He worked so hard against Soundingsides, and in the two games we needed to win, he was just outstanding. He’s the focal point of what we do on defense and is a real leader in terms of his hustle and style of play.”
On to State
The Buffs will be returning to Casper after a year away. Two years ago, in 2010, the Buffs made it to the semifinals before eventually losing and placing fourth.
“I feel great for the kids,” said Prather. “It validates all their hard work and effort (and for their decision to make) a year-round commitment to the sport of basketball. It’s a goal of ours to make it to Casper every year, and this year, we felt we had the kids with the experience and the desire to get there. It was great to see it all work out for them.”
As the No. 4 seed, the Buffs drew Moorcroft, which won the East Regional and was champion of the Northeast Conference. The two teams will square off today (Thursday, March 1) at 9 p.m. at Casper College.
What’s known about the Wolves? They beat Tongue River three times, including once in come-from-behind fashion at the regional tournament, and split with Big Horn during the regular season.
Prather called them “a quality opponent,” but one the Buffs should match up well with. “They’re athletic, they have a couple of seniors who have placed at state and are nice players,” he said. “They’ll play a style similar to Lovell.”
Wyoming Indian and Burns are on the other teams on Greybull’s side of the bracket. If they beat Moorcroft, the Buffs will face the winner of that game Friday at 9 p.m. at the Events Center. If they lose, they’ll play the loser of that game at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The Buffs have seen the Chiefs twice. Burns, meanwhile, was the champion of the Southeast Conference — although it mustered just a third-place finish at its regional. ”They return a veteran crew from last year’s team which was the consolation champions at the state tournament,” said Prather.
In any game, the keys for the Buffs, in Prather’s estimation, include “taking care of the basketball, finding the hot players and rebounding the ball.
“If we do those three things,” Prather said, “then we should have as good a chance as anyone down there.”
Greybull 14 11 22 15 – 63
Wyo. Indian 23 9 17 17 – 68
GREYBULL – Austin Frazier 8 4-5 23, Wyatt Good 1 0-0 2, Kason Clutter 7 2-2 17, Travis Sylvester 1 0-2 2, Neil Getzfreid 4 5-8 13, Hayden Goton 3 0-0 6. Totals 24 11-17 63.
WYO. INDIAN – Aragon 2 0-0 5, Clifford 1 0-0 2, Howell 5 1-2 11, Mitchell 1 0-0 2, Spoonhunter 8 0-2 21, Soundingsides 6 6-10 21, Williamson 2 2-6 6. Totals 26 9-22 68.
3-POINT GOALS – Frazier 3, Clutter. Spoonhunter 3, Soundingsides 3, Aragon. REBOUNDS – Greybull 41 (Getzfreid 17). STEALS – Greybull 11 (Clutter, Sylvester 4). ASSISTS – Greybull 13 (Sylvester 5). TURNOVERS – Greybull 32.
Greybull 12 17 15 15 – 59
Big Piney 1 15 6 7 – 29
GREYBULL – Frazier 7 2-3 17, Edward DeCabooter 1 0-0 2, Good 0 1-2 1, Clutter 6 0-0 14, Quinton Haley 2 1-2 5, Sylvester 1 0-0 2, Getzfreid 5 3-6 13, Goton 2 0-0 4, Brady Shoemaker 0 1-2 1. Totals 24 8-15 59.
BIG PINEY - Howard 3 1-4 7, Sims 2 0-2 4, Barron 1 4-4 6, Jones 0 0-1 0, Stovenburg 0 1-2 1, Jones 5 1-7 11. Totals 11 7-20 29.
3-POINT GOALS – Clutter 2, Frazier 1. REBOUNDS – Greybull 27 (Getzfreid 6). STEALS – Greybull 15 (Sylvester 6). ASSISTS – Greybull 14 (Clutter 5). TURNOVERS – Greybull 12.
Greybull 17 11 12 7 – 47
Kemmerer 16 8 13 7 – 45
GREYBULL – Frazier 1 5-6 7, Good 1 0-0 3, Clutter 8 0-1 16, Haley 1 1-2 3, Sylvester 3 0-0 6, Getzfreid 3 0-1 6, Goton 2 2-2 6. Totals 19 8-12 47.
KEMMERER – Fagnet 1 3-4 5, Mogen 2 2-2 7, Nishi 4 0-1 9, Simpson 1 0-0 3, Annali 4 0-0 8, Martinez 5 2-2 12. Totals 17 7-9 44.
3-POINT GOALS – Good; Mogen, Nishi, Simpson. REBOUNDS – Greybull 29 (Getzfreid 9). STEALS – Greybull 10 (Sylvester 4). ASSISTS – Greybull 10 (Frazier 4). TURNOVERS – Greybull 20.
Greybull 9 17 11 9 – 46
Lovell 20 24 11 13 – 70
GREYBULL – Gonzalez 2 0-0 6, Frazier 2 0-0 5, DeCabooter 2 2-2 6, Clutter 5 0-0 14, Haley 1 3-4 5, Sylvester 2 0-0 4, Stewart 0 1-2 1, Getzfreid 1 1-2 3, Shoemaker 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 7-10 46.
LOVELL – May 8 5-7 25, McArthur 2 0-0 5, Pickert 1 0-0 3, Hinckley 1 0-0 3, May 3 1-1 7, Baxendale 2 3-4 7, Hultgren 2 1-1 5, Clark 2 0-1 4, Savage 3 5-6 11. Totals 24 15-20 70.
3-POINT GOALS – Clutter 4, Gonzalez 2, Frazier; May 4, McArthur, Pickert, Hinckley. REBOUNDS – Greybull 34 (Getzfreid 9). STEALS – Greybull 7 (Sylvester 3). ASSISTS – Greybull 10 (Sylvester 4). TURNOVERS – Greybull 36.
by nathan oster
Greybull-Riverside didn’t win a trophy, but Luke Zeller captured the 152-pound title and two seniors, Matt Grovenstein and Nathan Hetzel, notched the highest finish of their stellar careers at last weekend’s State 2A Wrestling Championships in the Casper Events Center.
Cokeville nipped Lovell by 1.5 points (215 to 213.5) to win the team title. It was the Panthers second straight 2A win — and sixth in the past seven years, with the only interruption of that span coming with G-R’s breakthrough win in 2010.
The Buffs went to Casper this year with a goal of placing in the top four, but came up a little short. Moorcroft landed in third with 164, followed in fourth by Thermopolis with 153. G-R came in fifth with 130 points.
“I knew for us to be in the trophies, we were going to need more than six guys place,” said Sanford. “We needed about eight. But even with the six, we were still right in the hunt. Thermop edged us out for the trophy…but give them credit for wrestling a good state tournament.”
The six Buffs who made semifinals were the only ones who went on to place.
In addition to Zeller’s win at 152, the Buffs got seconds from their other two finalists, Nathan Hetzel, who lost to Thermopolis’ Chris Ryan at 160, and sophomore Zane Edeler, who fell to Lovell’s Mark Grant at 220. Grovenstein wrestled to a third at 120, Spencer Redland captured fourth at 170 and Kyle Strasheim earned sixth at 113 for the Buffs.
Zeller may have had the toughest road, too. The junior was in a class with three other standouts in Lovell’s Nathan Grant (winner of the prestigious Ron Thon), Rocky Mountain’s Jake Jones (a two-time state finalist, he lost to G-R’s Nathan Gossens last season) and Bronson Teichert (the reigning 152-pound champion).
As expected, those four made Friday’s semifinals. On one mat, Jones beat Grant. On the other, Zeller notched a 6-4 win over Teichert to set up the final. Zeller was up 4-2 in the third when he scored a takedown to go up four. That was the key moment of the match, according to Sanford.
With the win, Zeller advanced to face Jones, a wrestler he had beat twice previously. Their third encounter may have been their tightest. Jones scored on an escape. Then Zeller did the same. It was 1-1 in the third when the ref called Jones for stalling, giving Zeller the 2-1 lead which he held until the end.
“Luke wrestled really smart,” said Sanford. “He kept pressuring and pressuring, constantly moving forward and keeping (Jones) on his heels so he couldn’t get an opportunity to set up what he can do.”
Zeller finished with a 33-6 record.
For Hetzel, it was a breakthrough weekend. Three times previously he had made semifinals — and each time, he lost. This time, in his final go as a senior, he got over the hump, beating his old nemesis, Lovell’s Jacob Beck, 11-10, to advance to the big stage.
Sanford said Hetzel was concerned going into the match because Beck had been narrowing the gap in recent bouts. Sanford, too, admitted being worried, especially after Beck came out and scored the first points.
But Hetzel proved too much. With the match tied 9-9, he scored a decisive takedown to advance to the final. In it, he had to face Chris Ryan, “a real quality wrestler.” While there were a couple of missed opportunities to “make something happen,” Sanford lauded his young grappler. After the two butted heads late, Hetzel waved him off, saying he wanted to continue. And he did. He just couldn’t get going, losing 11-0 to finish at 28-8.
“He had such a great career here,” Sanford said. “He was such a hard worker. I am very proud of what he accomplished. He was a four time state placer. And this year he was in a tough weight class. I can’t say enough about him.”
Edeler set himself up for success by wrestling well at the regional tournament. In Casper, he was dominant his first three times out, winning each time by pin. One of them came in less than a minute.
But in the finals, he had to face Grant, a reigning state champion. Sanford told Edeler before the match he had “nothing to lose” and that he needed to make something happen. Edeler tried, taking a shot after he blocked a Grant move, but just couldn’t get it tight enough. Grant eventually won the match by pin in 1:59.
But Edeler established himself as a future threat, winning three of his four at state to finish 22-16. “He just did an outstanding job,” Sanford said. “I think he realized some things about himself through the season. I don’t think he knew he could do this. When he moved into that weight class, he started realizing he could be successful and took off from there. He made big strides for us.”
Unlike Edeler, Grovenstein’s cause was hurt by what happened at regionals, when he was nipped in the final, which meant he would be on the same side of the bracket as Moorcroft’s Luke Lovett.
So instead of meeting in the final, the two met in Friday’s semis, and as he had done previously, Lovett won out, doing so by pin in 3:51 to end Grovenstein’s title bid. But the senior finished strong, winning his last two matches by fall to place third and finish 23-8.
In fact, all four of Grovenstein’s state wins came by pin.
“Matt deserved to be all-state,” Sanford said. “In my opinion, he was the second-best kid in the weight … we just didn’t get ‘er done at regionals. But he finished on a good note as a senior. Through his career, I watched him grow and how hard he worked, both physically and mentally. He was a real joy to coach.”
Redland went 3-2 at 170 pounds, with a big win over Dubois’ Jesse Hawk to go along with losses to Lovell’s Tony Rodriguez (10-1 in the semis) and Wyatt Somsen of Southeast (in the third-place match).
Sanford emphasized the win over Hawk. The two had split their four previous meetings. In Casper, Redland won the rubber match, 3-2. By weekend’s end, he was 17-10. “I was very pleased with Spencer’s progression throughout the season,” Sanford said. “He did an outstanding job for us.”
Strasheim’s sixth place finish at 113 gave the Buffs a nice boost. The win that gave him a shot to place was his pin of Thomas Garvie of Lingle-Fort Laramie, the No. 2 seed from the East, in the opening round. In that match, Strasheim trailed at one point 14-4, but “he kept moving, kept hustling, until he eventually got the pin,” Sanford said.
With that win, he advanced to the semifinals. Strasheim didn’t win again, losing three straight to finish sixth. His record ended at 14-22. “But I was really proud of how he finished the season,” said Sanford. “We needed him to place — and he did.”
No other Buffs placed. Several had especially tough draws that they could not overcome. In fact, four Buffs opened in matches against No. 1 seeds; a fifth G-R wrestler had to face a No. 2 seed in his opener.
Freshman Chris Ogg went 1-2 at 120 pounds, with his losses coming to the No. 2 and No. 3 wrestlers from the East in Tyrell Lawrance of Moorcroft and Jesse Bunner of Lusk. Ogg ended the season at 27-13. But with three years to go, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to redeem himself, Sanford said, adding, “He really wrestled well for us this season.”
Senior Levi Kelly went two-and-out at 132 to finish 12-16. “I was disappointed for Levi to go out that way,” Sanford said. “But he did a lot of good things for us. He was committed to doing what was best for the team. 132 was a tough weight class. It’s too bad he couldn’t have done better, but he had a good career for us.”
Jesus Burgos went 1-2 at 138. One of his losses was to the eventual champ in Cokeville’s Brock Teichert. The other was to Marty Thoman of Wind River, who also placed. Burgos finished 14-22, but Sanford saw great improvement. “I was really pleased with Jesus,” he said. “He’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
Senior Stephen Kerr was knocked out on a doorstep of placing, losing to Kodiak French of Wright. Had he won, he would have placed. Instead it went down as 2-2 weekend — and the end of a 20-16 campaign. One of his losses was to the eventual champ, Blake Mastrud of Kemmerer.
Sanford said Kerr was “a hard worker who pushed himself to be his best. I know he didn’t finish where he wanted to … but he gave good effort and was right there.”
Dylan Brenner won his opener by default, but then dropped two straight and bowed out at 182. He finished 11-16. Just a junior, Brenner is already strong enough to be successful, Sanford said. “He just needs to learn more technique. I’m hoping we can stay healthy next year and that he’ll put in the work during the offseason to improve.”
At 195, the Buffs could have used Gabe Villegas. But the state placer from a year ago went down to injury late in the year. To help the team, Rob Nuttall, normally a 170-pounder, offered to step in. He battled valiantly in Casper, evening winning a match by fall and taking his final foe, Brandon Shelstad of Moorcroft, the distance before losing 9-3. Nuttall’s final line for the year was 9-9.
“Rob wanted to try it, in the hopes of scoring some points for us,” Sanford said. “It wasn’t a bad effort by any means. Hopefully we’ll be able to split those two (Nuttall and Redland) up a little better next year.”
At 285, Trenton Kelly went two and out, losing both times by pin to finish at 13-19. But Sanford said he was glad to see him come out this season. “He should have been out all the way through from middle school on up to high school,” said Sanford. “He’d have been a different wrestler. But he still did a great job.”
As he looks ahead, Sanford acknowledges that the Buffs will miss their five seniors — Grovenstein, Kelly, Kerr, Hetzel and Kelly. But of that grouping, only two scored points in Casper. The rest were generated by kids who should return next year.
“The way our sophomores ended the year, and if our juniors can keep getting better, we’re going to be competitive again next year,” he said.