Greybull-Riverside saw eight of its 12 wrestlers place, including freshman Nathaniel Boreen who claimed the 120-pound crown, at the Class 2A West Regional tournament Saturday in Kemmerer.
Thermopolis won the team title with 186 points, followed by the hosts with 170 and Cokeville rounded out the top three with 158.5 points. G-R finished the day with 68 points, good for eighth place and ahead of Wind River, Dubois and Wyoming Indian.
Boreen was G-R’s only champion. Coach Mark Sanford said the freshman set himself up to have success at the state tournament by pinning Temperance Mickelson of Lovell and Ammon Halls of Cokeville to reach the final, where he defeated longtime nemesis Alex Nicholson of Lovell by a 7-2 score.
It was the sixth time Nicholson and Boreen had squared off this season, and while Nicholson has won four, Boreen’s victory on Saturday was the most impactful, as it’ll put Nicholson on the same side of the state bracket as the No. 1 seed from the East. Sanford said the key to Boreen’s win was getting ahead of Nicholson early.
Even though he made his path to the 120-pound semis and possibly final a little easier by winning, Boreen will still have some tough customers on his side of the bracket in Casper, including the Halls kid from Cokeville and a Hulett wrestler, said Sanford.
Other G-R wrestlers who placed included Wyatt Bolken, sixth at 113; Oscar Martinez, fifth at 126; Caleb Bottom, fourth at 145; Shawn Erhart, eighth at 160; Bryant Davis, fifth at 182; Tate Clutter, fourth at 195, and Dade Greene, third at 220.
Sanford said the 113-pound division ended up being stronger than anyone anticipated after a couple of 106 pounders, ranked first and third in the state, moved up. Bolken went 0-2, losing to the wrestler who eventually won the tournament (Austin Ireland of Thermop) and to Malachi Lane of Shoshoni.
Martinez lost two matches at 126, but won the one he needed to qualify for state, beating Zakirie Malone of Kemmerer by a 10-5 decision. Martinez lost to the No. 3 seed in the opening round, which set up the big match with Malone.
Sanford said one of the highlights of the tournament for him was Bottom’s effort at 145. After dealing with injuries for much of the regular season, he entered as a sixth seed. All he did was upset the No. 3 seed, Brendan Miller of Kemmerer, 10-4. In his next match, Bottom put a scare into Shoshoni’s Tryston Truempler, one of the top kids at the weight.
“Caleb ended up getting pinned in the third, but in the first, he threw us, we rolled him and put him on his back,” said Sanford. “If we could have got that pin, that would have really been something.”
Bottom also got the first takedown on Truempler as part of a wild, 17-point first period.
Bottom followed that up with a 14-10 win over Ethan Long of Big Piney before losing the third-place match on a 9-7 decision to Jeffery VanAntwerp of Thermopolis. “I was really pleased with Caleb,” said Sanford. “He did some smart things and is really moving in the right direction.”
At 160, Erhart went 2-2. He recorded a big win in his opening match, beating Colter Collver of Wind River 9-0. Collver had beaten him earlier in the season. Erhart lost his next one by fall to Calder Taylor of Big Piney, but on the backside, he followed that up with a pin to earn another matchup with Thermop’s Jon Harvey. Erhart lost that one and finished eight.
Davis had a tough draw at 182, drawing the No. 1 seed (Nathan Hatch of Rocky) in his first match and the No. 4 seed (Colton Befus of Wind River) in his second. Davis lost them both, but battled to the end, refusing to be pinned. Because it was only an eight-man bracket, Davis was credited with a fifth-place finish.
Clutter’s path to a fourth-place finish at 195 included pins over wrestlers from Shoshoni and Kemmerer but also losses to the No. 1 kid in the state at that weight, Hayden Walker of Kemmerer, and Owen McAdams of Wind River.
Sanford said Clutter had a good tournament, but that he thought he would be able to defeat McAdams. “We were on the wrong side of the bracket to get to finals,” Sanford said, noting that Walker is tough to beat.
After sitting out the previous week with an elbow injury, Greene returned to the lineup at 220 and went 2-1. There were only five wrestlers entered and Greene entered as a three seed and left with a third-place finish, losing only to Coy Trainor of Lovell.
Sanford credited Greene for the two matches he won, saying he wrestled well against Jonathan Hilder of Shoshoni in a 3-1 win and against Thomas Archibald of Kemmerer in a 6-4 overtime triumph. “It was a nice win to finish his regional tournament,” said Sanford.
G-R experienced a scoring drought between 132 and 138, as none of its wrestlers broke through to place or qualify for the state tournament. Felipe Gaytan, the team’s only returning state placer, was unable to compete at the regional.
Ivan Rodriguez represented G-R at that weight, winning a match but losing two. Because there was an open slot on the East, he and a Big Piney kid had a challenge match for the last spot at state, but Rodriguez got pinned in that one.
At 138, Cyle Murph went 0-2.
So, too, did Jackson Long at 145.
Also going two-and-out was Carlos Garay at 152 pounds. Like Rodriguez, he also lost a challenge match for a state berth.
So G-R will be sending eight to the state tournament, which begins Friday at 9 a.m.
The third- and fifth-place matches are set for 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by the championship faceoffs at 3:35 p.m. and the finals at 3:45 p.m.
“Of the eight who are going on, I think Dade did a good job, Caleb did a great job and Shawn, early on, did too. I think that for the most part, we’re moving in the right direction. I was really thinking Ivan and Carlos would qualify, so I’m a little disappointed in that.”
Sanford was asked about his outlook for the state tournament.
“As a team, it’s tough for us … so it’s kind of an individual deal again this year,” he said. “The good news is that we put ourselves in situations where we have opportunities to place at state. Hopefully they’ll place even higher there than they did at regionals.”
by nathan oster