by nathan oster
Greybull-Riverside got an up close and personal look last week at three of its top rivals in the Big Horn Basin. In dual action, the Buffs topped Thermopolis 42-24 on Thursday before splitting with their north-end foes Lovell and Rocky Mountain Friday in Cowley.
Forfeits played a role in all three duals.
Coach Mark Sanford said he expected his team’s dual with Thermopolis to be close. The Buffs came out on top 42-24. But they also took the mat knowing they had a 12-point lead, since they would be the recipient of four forfeits compared to two for Thermopolis.
With six uncontested weight classes, the two teams squared off only five times on the night.
Marshall Gibbs suffered one of G-R’s losses, falling by pin to Vinchinzo Castle, a returning state champ for the Bobcats. Sanford said Gibbs “did a good job,” even recording the match’s first takedown, before Castle asserted himself.
Ryan Peoples also lost for G-R, falling to Ryan Bradshaw in a first-period pin.
The Buffs owned the rest of the night, however, as Jesus Burgos earned a third-period pin over Caleb Sipe, Cole Hill pinned Ben Crosby in the first period and Luke Zeller racked up a second-period pin of Jon Burrows.
Anthony Eibert won an exhibition match for the Buffs.
The Big Horn County Dual Championships showed just how closely matched the county’s three 2A teams are as the new year begins. Lovell won bragging rights, beating Rocky Mountain in the day’s first dual and then adding a 42-30 win over G-R. The Buffs finished second in the field, holding off Rocky Mountain 42-39 in the finale.
Forfeits also played a role in the Lovell dual. Lovell picked up three wins by forfeit, G-R one. Those 12 points were the difference in the dual.
Burgos opened the scoring for the Buffs with a pin of Richard Walker.
Then, in what Sanford called ” one of our best matches of the weekend,” Cole Hill scored a 4-3 upset win over Hyrum Hopkin, a ranked wrestler in 2A. Hopkin, a “solid, stout kid who moves well,” led early, but Hill stayed with it, eventually winning by one.
Anthony Eibert made it 15-0 with a pin of Jacob Winterholler, setting the stage for a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wrestlers at 152 in Luke Zeller and Nathan Grant. Zeller got the better of his longtime rival, winning 3-1 to extend the G-R lead to 18-0.
A forfeit win by Tanner Bernstein and a Spencer Redland pin of Nash Jolley at 220 gave the Buffs a 30-12 lead. But the Bulldogs won every match that followed, including wins by fall over Oscar Gomez, Marshall Gibbs and Ryan Peoples.
Sanford said he saw some good things in the loss. “But as I have said all year, some of our inexperienced kids have to quit acting so inexperienced,” he said. “For us as a team to compete well, we need to have our young guys and our inexperienced guys moving on that learning curve pretty fast. We got handled in a couple of matches. We just can’t give up that much.”
The Buffs finished the day with a three-point win over Rocky. But considering they entered the dual with a 12-point lead (four forfeits compared to two for Rocky Mountain), the Buffs were actually outwrestled in the weight classes that were contested.
Cole Hill, Luke Zeller and Jesus Burgos picked up the three G-R wins. All three were by fall.
The Buffs would have preferred to sweep the duals, but Sanford said the meet is a stepping stone in the season. Greybull-Riverside will see Lovell and Rocky the next four weeks, and by the end of that stretch, the Buffs will have an even better idea how they stack up heading into the regional.
The Buffs will attend the Don Runner Invite this week, where with the exception of Cokeville, they will see virtually all the 2A teams from the western half of the state.
by nathan oster