Short-handed wrestling team still snags silver

Sandy Wanfalt photos

EVANSTON – Hitting the mats for the first competition of the season, the Pinedale Wrangler wrestling team made a strong showing at the Evanston Invitational on Dec. 11.

Pinedale took second place out of 11 teams from across Wyoming, Utah and as far away as Nevada, tallying 123.5 points.

Three Pinedale athletes fought through their respective brackets to win championships – seniors Cody Phelps and Wyatt Madole and sophomore Jake Hammer.

The Wranglers achieved success fielding only a portion of their roster with numerous wrestlers out due to injuries and other issues.

“The team had a great showing at Evanston,” said head coach Kendall Horrocks. “There is no doubt that we would have taken the tournament had we had the entire line-up competing. Overall, we are very proud of our athletes. They have been working hard and represented Pinedale well over the weekend. We have a handful of injuries that we are working through, but we continue to focus on getting better individually and as a team.”

How it happened

Phelps advanced through the 138-pound weight class to square off against teammate and sophomore Dustin Larsen in the first-place match.

Phelps pinned Wyatt Bradford of Spring Creek, Nev., 23 seconds into the second period of the quarterfinals. Phelps then took down Bradley Giatras of Weber, Utah, by a 20-5 technical fall.

Larsen beat Kemmerer’s Ayden Kelley by an 8-6 decision in the quarterfinals and pinned Riley Kohler of Evanston with 9 seconds left in the first period of the semifinals.

Phelps and Larsen battled into the second period before Phelps pinned Larsen at 55 seconds to take the championship and Larsen placing second.

In the 160-pound division, Madole pinned Bodey Fraughton from Mountain View in the first period of the quarterfinals. Advancing to the semifinals, Madole won by fall over Rudy Lunceford from Layton, Utah, halfway into the first period.

Madole pinned Carson Eardley of Mountain View 26 seconds into the first-place match to snag the championship.

The 132-pound weight class included several Pinedale athletes. Hammer won in the quarterfinals, pinning Kyson Hamilton of Evanston in the second period.

Hammer took on teammate and sophomore Fisher Vance in the semifinals, ultimately winning by a 16-3 major decision.

Hammer won the championship taking down Wesley Ricaporte of Spring Creek by a 7-1 decision.

Senior Tristan Haley hit the mat against Mountain View’s Clay Walker in the 132-pound quarterfinals. Haley fell to Ricaporte, but rallied to beat Kyson Hamilton in the consolation semifinal.

Haley and Vance entered the third-place match. Haley pinned his teammate with 7 seconds remaining in the first period to take third place with Vance finishing in fourth.

Freshman Ryan Nutt took third place in the 113-pound weight class. He pinned Big Piney’s Jackie Meador in the consolation semifinals and pinning Austin Ruvalcaba of Kemmerer in the second period of the third-place match.

Junior Ian Cantu snagged fourth place in the 220-pound division. Junior Ethan Kemp and freshman Garrett Haley took fifth place in the 145-pound and 126-pound divisions respectively.

Pinedale wrestlers compete at the Battle of the Big Horns hosted by Worland on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 17-18.

“We are excited for this weekend in Worland and expect a great showing,” said coach Horrocks.

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