SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Pinedale High School (PHS) girls’ and boys’ wrestling teams attacked the mats with ferocity at the 2023 Thoman-Jackman Tournament hosted by Green River and Rock Springs high schools on Jan. 13-14.
Taking on 19 teams from Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, the Lady Wranglers bagged gold in the bracket-style tournament with 77 points.
The boys’ tournament followed a duel format. The Wranglers began the competition in Pool D, defeating Wheatland, 60-18, and going on to beat Rock Springs, 45-30, and Rifle, Colo., 68-12.
Pinedale fell to Uintah, Utah, 64-12, in the final duel and the Wranglers secured second place in Pool C.
Pinedale advanced to the Gold Bracket on Saturday. Worland and Pinedale tied, 34-34, in the first duel. Worland ultimately won by a tiebreaker. In the subsequent duel, Pinedale trounced Rawlins, 54-24. Pinedale crushed Salem Hills, Utah, 60-18, to snap up fifth place in the gold bracket.
In order to maintain an equal number of competitors in the duels, several Wranglers stepped up to wrestle for other teams.
Junior Dustin Larsen joined the squad from Rifle, Colo., and posted a 5-2 record over the weekend. Freshman Landon Fornstrom competed with Buffalo and went 2-2. Fellow freshman Porter Kemp wrestled for Buffalo and tallied a 4-1 record.
Porter Kemp also earned the Thoman Spirit Award, chosen by meet officials for demonstrating an outstanding work ethic.
PHS sophomore Ryan Nutt (120 pounds) and freshman Wylee Willson (113 pounds) went undefeated wrestling for Pinedale. As a result, the grapplers advanced to compete in the Best of the Best bracket at the end of the tournament.
Nutt and Willson both won their matches in the Best of the Best competition. Nutt battled Green River’s Axel MacKinnon through three periods to win by an 8-7 decision. Willson beat Spencer Wright of Green River by a 6-2 decision.
Junior Jake Hammer (132 pounds) posted a 6-1 record for Pinedale. Senior Ethan Kemp (145 pounds), junior Fisher Vance (138 pounds), sophomore Garrett Haley (152 pounds) and sophomore Garrett Madole (126 pounds) each went 5-2. Junior Austin Green (195 pounds) and sophomore Cash McCann (285 pounds) both finished the tournament with 4-3 records.
Junior Katyana Dexter seized gold in the 235-pound division. She rapidly pinned Kemmerer’s Jentrie Lacey 13 seconds into the semifinal match. Progressing to the finals, Dexter took down Aaliyah Martin of Evanston with 15 seconds to spare in the first period.
Freshman McKinzie Mortensen snagged first place in the 100-pound bracket. Defeating Jayleigh Wright of Green River by fall in the second period of the semifinals, Mortensen went on to beat Braxton Burgener of Lyman by an 8-0 major decision.
Freshman Kaylea Mortensen won the championship in the 105-pound division. Making quick work of Buffalo’s Lindsay Peters in the semifinals, Mortensen pinned her opponent in 13 seconds. Proceeding to the finals, Mortensen defeated Trinity Warner from Cheyenne South 39 seconds into the match.
Senior Maddox Gehlhausen picked up silver in the 115-pound bracket. She pinned Neveah Major of Lyman at 44 seconds in the first period of the semifinals.
In the 120-pound classification, sophomore Sarah Helm took second place. During the second period of the semifinal bout, Helm took down Breauna Sigmon of Rifle.
Sophomore Alexis Thompson and freshman Alicia Dexter both placed fourth in their respective weight classes.
Boys’ Tournament – Pool D
Pinedale handily defeated Wheatland, 60-18, in the opening duel. Willson, Nutt, Madole, Hammer, Ethan Kemp, Haley and senior Ryker Marshall each pinned their opponents.
Vance and senior Tucker Kelly achieved wins by decision and McCann and freshman Cale Dauwen each won by open forfeit or beating an opponent wrestling for Wheatland from another team.
Pinedale pulled ahead of Rock Springs, 45-30, in the second duel. Nutt, Madole, Vance, Haley and Green each won by fall. Ethan Kemp defeated his opponent by a 5-1 decision. Willson and Marshall earned wins by open forfeit or defeating an opponent wrestling for Rock Springs from another team.
Pinedale crushed Rifle, 68-12, in the third duel. Willson, Madole, Vance, Marshall, Dauwen and senior Ian Cantu defeated their opponents by fall. Hammer won by a 17-2 technical fall. Haley beat his opponent by an 8-5 decision. McCann, Nutt, Ethan Kemp and Green won by open forfeit or beat an opponent wrestling for Rifle from another team.
The Wranglers fell to Uintah, 64-12. Hammer pinned his opponent in the first period. Willson won by an 8-4 decision with Nutt taking the win by a 6-3 decision.
Pinedale and Worland fought to a 34-34 stalemate with Worland winning the tiebreaker. Willson, Madole, Hammer, Vance and Haley each achieved wins by fall. Nutt beat his opponent by a 15-4 major decision.
Rallying, the Wranglers pulled out a decisive win, 54-24, against Rawlins. Willson, Nutt, Hammer, Ethan Kemp, Dauwen, Cantu and McCann all pinned their opponents. Vance and Green won by open forfeit or defeating an opponent wrestling for Rawlins from another team.
Pinedale clobbered Salem Hills, Utah, in the final duel to earn sixth place in the gold bracket. Nutt, Madole, Hammer, Ethan Kemp, Kelly and Willson each took down their rivals. Haley won when his opponent was injured in the first period. Green, Cantu and McCann won by open forfeit or by defeating an opponent from another team wrestling for Salem Hills.
The Wrangler and Lady Wrangler wrestling teams travel to the Lander Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21.