WORLAND – Trouncing nearly every team they met, the Pinedale Wrangler wrestling squad fought through six duels to earn second place in the gold bracket at the Battle in the Big Horns hosted by Worland, Dec. 17-18.
On Friday, Pinedale blasted through the competition in Pool C, winning all three duels by wide margins and taking first place. The Wranglers defeated Buffalo, 56-12, Worland, 66-6, and Thermopolis, 49-18.
Pinedale’s performance in the preliminary duels placed the team in the gold bracket on Saturday.
Pinedale squared off against Torrington in the gold bracket quarterfinals and scored a significant win, 66-12.
Advancing to the semifinals, the Wranglers triumphed against Rawlins, 51-27.
The Wranglers met their match against perennial power Star Valley in the final duel. Star Valley edged ahead by a single match for the win, 39-33, and first place.
Pinedale senior Wyatt Madole received the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the Battle in the Big Horns. Competing in the 160-pound division, Madole beat each opponent for a 6-0 record.
Senior Cody Phelps (138-pound class), sophomore Jake Hammer (132 pounds), and freshmen Garrett Haley (120 pounds) and Ryan Nutt (113 pounds) also dominated the competition and finished the tournament with undefeated records.
Seniors Tristan Haley, wrestling at 126 pounds, and Skyler Erickson, at 182 pounds, both tallied 5-1 records.
Sophomores Fisher Vance (145 pounds) and Austin Green (220 pounds) each went 4-2.
The Wranglers shared several members of the squad to even numbers on other teams. Sophomore Dustin Larsen wrestled for Cody in the 132-pound weight class and finished the tournament with a 5-2 record.
Freshman Garrett Madole (120 pounds) also joined Cody and went 4-3. Sophomore Eian Smith (120 pounds) wrestled with Powell.
Tristan Haley, Wyatt Madole, Phelps, Hammer, Garrett Haley and Nutt won “Best of the Best” awards after competing in a final round with the top four wrestlers in each weight class.
“Overall, it was a very exciting weekend and we are so proud of how the wrestlers performed,” said head coach Kendall Horrocks. “We saw some great things and will continue to work hard to improve each week. Being within six points of winning a duel against Star Valley is the closest we have ever finished.”
Day one – Pool C
The Wranglers handily defeated Buffalo, winning nine out of 12 matches (double forfeits not included).
Nutt took down Brenton Ross 1 minute, 14 seconds into the opening bout. Tristan Haley won by fall over Teila Peters with over a minute to spare in the first period. Hammer pinned his opponent, Daniel Blair, 1:36 into the match.
Phelps beat Colson Myers by a 17-2 technical fall. Vance scored a close win against Zander Tass by a 6-5 decision. Wyatt Madole pinned Hazen Camino at 1:26 in the first period.
Erickson defeated Ruben Cleveland by fall in under a minute. Green made quick work of Miles Packard, pinning his opponent in 23 seconds.
Garrett Haley won by open forfeit.
The Wranglers crushed Worland, losing only a single match to the Warriors.
Nutt pinned Luis Bernal with a minute and a half remaining in the first period. Tristan Haley won by fall against Rylee Anderson at 1:15 in period one. Hammer defeated Jacob Draper, pinning his opponent 1:21 into the bout.
Phelps pinned Jaiden Lloyd at 48 seconds in the first period. Vance felled Loren Fincher with 39 seconds remaining in the opening period. Wyatt Madole pinned Isaac Rose 12 seconds into the match.
Erickson took down Ethene Burns at 1:24 in the first period.
Garrett Haley, Gaige Zook, Green and Cash McCann won by open forfeit.
Maintaining their momentum into the duel against Thermopolis, Pinedale won nine of 12 matches.
Nutt struck first, pinning Will Ward 33 seconds into the match. Tristan Haley defeated Ethan Crow by fall in the second period. Hammer scored a win over Dalton Price with a pin at 23 seconds in the first period.
Vance defeated Jessen Basse by a 10-6 decision. Phelps took down Wyatt McDermott in a 15-2 major decision. Wyatt Madole battled Roedy Farrell into the third period before winning by fall.
Garrett Haley, Erickson and McCann won by open forfeit.
Day two – Gold Bracket
The quarterfinals pitted Pinedale against Torrington, the second-place team in Pool B. The Wranglers won 11 of 13 matches.
Nutt pinned Tyler Nicolay 48 seconds in the first period. Garrett Haley defeated Barrett Eichenberger with one and a half minutes remaining in the opening period. Tristan Haley took down Reece Grubbs by fall 1:05 into the match.
Hammer won by fall over Hunter Massie 21 seconds into the second period. Vance defeated Aiden Martinez by 11-4 decision. Wyatt Madole pinned Brian Garcia at 39 seconds in the first period.
Erickson fought Matthew Hellus into the second period before winning by fall. Green took down Sam Birdsall at 1:22 in the first period.
Phelps and Maddox Gehlhausen won by open forfeit.
Rawlins proved a tougher opponent to beat, with Pinedale pulling out a 51-27 victory.
Nutt pinned Adrian Trujillo in a bout running into the third period. Garrett Haley defeated Brayden Torstenbo 3:45 into the match. Hammer also scored a win by fall at 3:45.
Wyatt Madole defeated Josh Smith by a 9-4 decision. Erickson pinned Bronson Newell 34 seconds into the second period. Phelps took down Brinley Green 33 seconds into the match.
Green and McCann won by open forfeit.
The final duel against Star Valley turned into point-for-point nail biter with Star Valley pulling ahead by a single match.
Nutt defeated Levi Byrd 1:34 into the match. Tristan Haley scored a win over Peyton Andrews by a 4-2 decision. Hammer fought Porter Merritt into the third period, winning by fall. Wyatt Madole pinned Ryan Dunne 1:20 into the bout.
Phelps and Garrett Haley won by open forfeit.
Wrestlers on other teams
Battling for Cody, Larsen won his first match against Patrick Haney of Rock Springs by fall. He went on to pin Dalton Price of Thermopolis with a minute to spare in the first period.
Larsen felled Hunter Massie of Torrington 56 seconds into the first period. He went on to pin Aiden Russell of Douglas 42 seconds into the match.
Garrett Madole beat Barrett Eichenberger of Torrington at 1:44 in the second period. He defeated Barrett Eichenberger of Torrington by a 13-8 decision. Madole also won two matches by open forfeit.