Wrangler grapplers earn fifth at Regionals

Sandy Wanfalt photo The Wrangler and Lady Wrangler wrestling teams take a break from practice in Casper before the Girls’ State Tournament on Feb. 23-24 and the Boys’ State Tournament on Feb. 24-25.

Girls snag gold at Lyman Invitational

WYOMING – The Pinedale High School Wrangler and Lady Wrangler wrestling teams hit the mats with resolve and vigor over the final week of competition before the State Tournament in Casper on Feb. 23-25.

Seventeen athletes on the boys’ team qualified for State at the 3A West Regional Tournament in Evanston on Friday, Feb. 17. Pinedale bagged fifth place with 148 points, beating Lyman, Lander, Mountain View and Riverton.

The Lady Wranglers captured gold at the all-girls’ Lyman Invitational on Thursday, Feb. 16. Pinedale posted 113 points, overwhelming 14 other teams at the event.

“The Wrangler wrestling team competed at Regionals and had some great success,” said Head Coach Kendall Horrocks. “Of 23 athletes who competed, 17 qualified for the State Tournament. We are very happy with their performances, especially since the 3A West (Conference) is arguably the most competitive region in the state for wrestling. Four of the top five teams are in this region.”

Both the girls’ and boys’ teams are “peaking at the right time,” Horrocks added.

“We are proud of them and their accomplishments this year and look forward to a very exciting and successful State Tournament this week,” he said.

The Girls’ State Wrestling Championships take place on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 23-24, at the Wyoming Ford Center in Casper. The Boys’ State Wrestling Championships begin on Friday, Feb. 24, with finals on Saturday, Feb. 25.

3A Regional Tournament

Junior Jake Hammer earned the Regional Championship in the 132-pound weight bracket. Facing off against Cody’s Reed Deming in the quarterfinals, Hammer pinned his opponent at 1 minute, 25 seconds.

Advancing to the semifinals, Hammer defeated teammate and junior Fisher Vance. In the first-place match, Hammer battled Green River’s Conner Todd through three periods, pulling out the win by a 14-4 major decision.

Sophomore Ryan Nutt picked up a silver in the 120-pound weight classification. He pinned Wade Whiting, of Mountain View, with 1:05 remaining in the first period of the quarterfinals. Moving up to the semifinals, Nutt defeated Cody’s Trey Smith by a 10-8 decision.

At 113 pounds, freshman Wylee Willson took second place. Taking on Evanston’s Lukus Heflebower in the quarterfinals, Willson defeated his opponent by fall at 51 seconds. Willson won the semifinal match against Green River’s Spencer Wright by a 2-1 decision.

Senior Ethan Kemp secured third place in the 138-pound bracket. He won the third-place match against Lander’s Hunter Velarde by sudden victory.

Sophomore Garrett Madole snagged a bronze in the 126-pound weight classification. He defeated Green River’s Ethan Guzman by a 6-4 decision in the third-place match.

Senior Austin Green snapped up fourth place in the 182-pound bracket. Senior Tucker Kelly (160 pounds), sophomore Garrett Haley (145 pounds) and sophomore Nolan Orm (195 pounds) each placed fifth.

Seventh-place finishes included senior Ian Cantu at 195 pounds, junior Dustin Larsen at 145 pounds and freshman Porter Kemp at 113 pounds.

Sophomore Cash McCann and freshman Cale Dauwen both placed eighth in their respective brackets.

Vance and senior Ryker Marshall also qualified for State.

Lyman Girls’ Invitational

Junior Katyana Dexter won the championship in the 235-pound bracket. Grappling against Evanston’s Aaliyah Martin in the semifinals, Dexter pinned her opponent 21 seconds into the second period. Progressing to the final match, Dexter defeated Jordan Muth, of Rocky Mountain, at 1:32.

Freshman McKinzie Mortensen earned gold at 100 pounds. She pinned Jayleigh Wright, of Green River, in both the semifinals and finals.

In the 105-pound bracket, freshman Kaylea Mortensen snagged first place. Battling Wind River’s Molly Bornhoft through three periods in the semifinals, Kaylea Mortensen won by an 8-1 decision. Kaylea Mortensen defeated Lyman’s Braxton Burgener by a 10-3 decision in the first-place bout.

Senior Maddox Gehlhausen secured a silver in the 110-pound bracket. Gehlhausen pinned Allison LeBlanc, of Powell, 34 seconds into the second period of the semifinals.

Fellow senior Morgan Grossman snagged silver at 155 pounds. She pinned Kemmerer’s Lynsie Julander at 4:28 in the semifinals.

Sophomore Sarah Helm took second place in the 120-pound division, pinning teammate and junior Alexis Thompson in the semifinal match.

Thompson finished third at 120 pounds, pinning Rocky Mountain’s Emmilee Wambeke in the third-place bout.

Senior Rhonda Auradou bagged bronze in the 115-pound bracket. She pinned Evanston’s Sidney Liechty 1:48 into the third-place match.

Sophomore Mya Swain earned fourth place in the 130-pound bracket.