by nathan oster
Coach Mark Sanford was looking for his Greybull-Riverside wrestling team to step up for last weekend’s Class 2A West Regional in Lovell — and for the most part they did, putting six wrestlers through to the placing rounds and taking third as a team behind Cokeville and Lovell.
With 188 points, Cokeville would have been a tough catch for G-R, which tallied 135 points. But Lovell, with 147 points, was catchable. “We easily could have been second,” said Sanford, referring to just a couple of matches that slipped away. “But overall, the effort was good and we had some kids set themselves up pretty well for state.”
G-R had three champions in 152-pounder Jesus Burgos, 220-pounder Spencer Redland and heavyweight Tanner Bernstein, and two others, 138-pounder Cole Hill and 195-pounder Zane Edeler, who lost in the finals and took second. Tre Nelson, a fourth-place finisher at 113, rounded out the G-R placers.
Of the six, Burgos may have had the best tournament.
“He was probably the guy I was the most proud of,” said Sanford. The No. 3 seed going in, Burgos reeled off four straight wins, three of them coming by pin, including a stoppage of Dylan Lookingbill of Wind River in the final.
Burgos’ big conquest was a 7-6 win over Ellis Toomer of Cokeville, who entered at 33-13. Toomer beat Burgos earlier in the season, and at one point in Lovell, he was up 5-0. Burgos wouldn’t be denied, though, as he rallied to tie it at 5-5 and then take a 7-5 lead on a reversal.
Lookingbill, who had upset No. 1 seed Hyrum Hopkin in the semis, was up on Burgos too before the Greybull standout stuck him for a pin.
Redland and Bernstein didn’t have to work nearly as hard, as their brackets at 220 and 285 were sparse, in terms of competition. In fact, Bernstein didn’t wrestle until the semis, when he made quick work of West Homewood of Rocky Mountain to earn a berth in the final opposite Jose Gonzalez of Wyoming Indian. That one ended the same way with a Bernstein pin that secured his region title.
Redland’s road to the final included two quick pins — each of them coming in the first period. That set up another encounter with Patrick Forster of Shoshoni, and while Redland didn’t get the pin, he dominated, winning 6-0.
By winning their weight classes, the G-R trio assured themselves of being on the opposite side of the state bracket from the No. 1 seeds from the East Region, meaning the earliest they could clash would be in the final.
That won’t be the case for Hill and Edeler, who lost tough matches in their regional finales and will have to beat a No. 1 seed from the other side of the state in order to make it to the finals in Casper.
Hill, wrestling at 138, was impressive in his first two matches, winning one by pin and the other by majority decision, before running into Macen Petersen of Cokeville. The No. 1 ranked 138-pounder in 2A, Petersen emerged with the 9-0 win. To earn a rematch with Petersen, Hill would likely have to go through Moorcroft’s Toby Reynolds, who is 41-9.
Like Bernstein, Edeler didn’t have a match until the semifinals. In it, “He went out like a man possessed,” said Sanford, noting that a pin in 3:01 of Raustin Grandy of Cokeville was “an awesome achievement” for the GHS senior. In the final, he faced Sterling Baker, a Dubois wrestler with a sparking record of 40-2. Edeler was up to the challenge, and was within striking distance in the third period (5-0) when Baker notched a pin.
Nelson also had a big weekend for G-R at 113 pounds, winning two of his four matches to earn a trip to state. Sanford said the key win was his first one, a pin over Mat Dillon of Shoshoni. “He really came out like he needed to,” said Sanford, noting that Dillon was the No. 4 seed. “He had beaten us before, but we put him on his back and stuck him. It was a great way to start the tournament for Tre.”
Nelson also earned a win over Tia Hampton of Wind River, which was sandwiched between losses to Vincinzo Castle (in the semifinals) and Luciano Castle (in the third-place match), both of Thermopolis.
“Placing was what Tre really needed to do — and he did it by wrestling a good tournament,” said Sanford.
Weight by weight
G-R was open at 106, 170 and 182.
Jorge Carmona, the No. 5 seed going in at 120 pounds, went 1-2 and did not place, although he did qualify for state. Ditto for Marshall Gibbs, who went 1-2 and didn’t place at 126. Ryan Peoples rejoined the lineup at 132, and he proved his worthiness, winning two of his four matches. Sanford said he had hopes all three — Carmona, Gibbs and Peoples — would make it into the placing round.
Dylan Roberts lost his two matches at 132, and was unable to break through in a wrestle-off held Saturday for one of the extra state berths, which was available because only seven wrestlers were entered at 132 in the East Regional.
Ashton Wollam went 1-2 at 138 and qualified for state.
Nick Schlattmann wasn’t as fortunate at 145, going 0-2.
Chase Peoples advanced on two byes, but lost his only two contested matches at 145. He did, however, qualify for state.
Tyler Wollam, at 152, turned in a nice performance in “a tough weight class,” according to Sanford. Wollam lost his first match, but then pinned his next two foes before being ousted by Ellis Toomer of Cokeville in the consolation semifinals. “He really battled and earned his spot at state,” said Sanford.
Anthony Eibert was the hard-luck case for G-R. After showing promise during the regular season, he found himself in a tough spot at regionals after losing his opening round match to Colter Viehweg of Cokeville. Eibert needed to beat Jacob Winterholler of Lovell to advance to state, and was up by seven points late when he got put on his back and pinned.
Billy Jones qualified at 220 pounds, going 1-2. His one win was a good one, as he pinned Robert Logan of Rocky Mountain in 2:05.
G-R will head to the state tournament in Casper with a goal of winning a trophy. Moorcroft, the beast of the East, is the prohibitive favorite, with Cokeville lurking, among a pack of several other contenders which includes G-R.
“We needed to set ourselves up just a little better,” said Sanford. “We needed nine guys to place, not just six.”