Schlattmann paces G-R at State

Nathan Oster

Jake Schlattmann, Ty Strohschein, Loomis Alexander and Curtis Strohschein placed and several others won at least one match to power Greybull-Riverside to an 11th-place finish at last weekend's State 2A Wrestling Championships at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

G-R scored 3.5 more points than it did last year, but fell one spot in the final standings.  Kemmerer, with three champions, won the 2A crown this year, finishing with 218 points.  Moorcroft, with 171, and Big Piney, with 150, rounded out the top three, followed by Lovell, Cokeville, Thermopolis, Lingle-Fort Laramie, Shoshoni, Wind River and Saratoga.

Coach Rob Nuttall's team took just one senior, Schlattmann, to the culminating event.

"I come away from every competition thinking we could have done better, but with the team we had, 11th was great," he said. "We wrestled a nice tournament, had a couple nice wins and at one point, we were in seventh place.  Had we finished a little better on the backside, we'd have ended up there, so that's still on my mind.

"But we were young this year ... it'll be great in two or three years when they can go down there as a little more experienced group."

He may not have captured a state title, but Schlattmann earned plenty of respect for the way he battled Wyatt Trembly of Dubois.  Trembly, a junior, beat Schlattmann 6-0 in the final, capping a season in which he lost just one match — a 1-0 decision to Terran Grooms of Sheridan at the Ron Thon Invitational.

Schlattmann had won three matches prior to that, beating Ryder Pope of Cokeville by tech fall, Jacob Brown of Tongue River by pin and AJ. Moline of Tongue River by injury default in the semifinals.

"For a senior who has put in the time and dedication that Jake has over the past four years, you wish (the final) would have gone differently, but that's a tough kid (in Trembly) and we gave him a heck of a match," said Nuttall. "It may not look like it when you see the 6-0 final, we were in deep on shot and giving him all he wanted on our feet.  But Jake really wrestled a great tournament."

Alexander, a freshman, entered the tournament with momentum, having earned the West Region title at 120 pounds.  His run stalled in the state quarterfinals, where he lost to Tuker Carricato of Saratoga. Carricato would eventually reach the final.  Alexander regrouped, though. 

"He really came through for us on the backside," said Nuttall, citing three straight wins, all of which came by fall.  He eventually lost to his old nemesis, Wyitt Knight of Wright, in the third-place match, which left him in fourth.

"He stuck with it mentally (after the quarterfinal loss) and I was proud of him," said Nuttall.

Ty Strohschein, a junior, went 3-2 at 182 pounds, finishing fifth.  The highlight of his tournament came in the quarters, where he pinned the No. 1 seed from the East in Dayton Matthews of Glenrock at the 2:00 mark.  Strohschein lost his next two matches, losing 9-4 to Landon Heaps of Kemmerer and 3-1 to Julian Cabello of Shoshoni before rallying to win the fifth-place match, by fall, over Miles Ashhurst of Lusk.

"The last two times we wrestled Heaps, he gave us fits, but Ty did a great job — the final was 9-4, but he gave up a near fall near the end of the third to make it 9-4 instead of 6-4," said Nuttall.

Curtis Strohschein went 2-3 in Casper, finishing sixth at 285 pounds.  He lost to the eventual champ, Christian Reilly of Hulett, in the quarters.  Strohschein was competitive, as just a point separated them going into the third.

"He came through on the backside, too, like he always does," said Nuttall, pointing to a pair of pins at the expense of Emmet Coxbill of Lingle-Fort Laramie and Ben Wagy of Saratoga. "I wish things would have worked out a little differently in the consolation semifinal (a loss to Kellen Linnan of Shoshoni) and in the fifth-place match (a 2-1 loss to Case Barrett of Glenrock), but sometimes you have to take a couple on the chin to come out on top later.  He did a great job."

Wrestlers who won matches and contributed to the point total included Reece Whisenant, who went 2-2 at 132 pounds; Braxdon Engle, 1-2 at 138 pounds, and Caiden Sorenson, 1-2 at 145 pounds.

Nuttall gave Sorenson props for the way he competed at 145, which he described as "a meatgrinder." A freshman, Sorenson didn't get a seed and had a tough opener, which ended in a 13-9 loss to Caden Clifford of Big Piney. "He scrapped with him the whole time," said Nuttall. "We gave him some points on we shouldn't have, which comes down to experience. But every time we wrestled that kid, the matches got tighter.

"And Braxdon got us some points too.  When you look at all of our young guys, for them to go out and battle and be right there ... even though it didn't always result in a win, the silver lining is they gained experience while showing the heart to compete."

State was a learning experience for Troy Cheatham (113), Ben Mendenhall (120), Erik Rosales (195) and Kevin Rosales (220), as all of them went 0-2 in Casper.

On the team as a whole, Nuttall said, "We saw so many good things, I walked away wishing it wasn't over yet.  The kids are ready, but I'm not.  In so many matches, we were right there — so close to winning.  Wish we could have a little more time..."

"But I can definitely see us trending in the right direction. These guys showed they wanted to compete."

The team has seven kids signed up for a junior tournament this weekend in Lovell, which will be a springboard into the offseason.