RIVERTON – Demonstrating grit and skill on the mats, the Pinedale High School Lady Wranglers continue to make a powerful statement in girls’ wrestling with a second-place finish at the largest meet in Wyoming before State, the Ron Thon Memorial Tournament in Riverton on Jan. 27-28.
Six athletes advanced to the finals in the girls’ tournament, with four breaking into the finals and three returning home with Ron Thon Championship belts. The Lady Wranglers beat more than 30 teams from all classifications in Wyoming to secure second place with 148.5 points.
“It was very exciting to see the girls place at Ron Thon,” said Head Coach Kendall Horrocks. “These girls are wrestling so well this year and have a very good shot at winning a state title. It is well within their reach, but it will take all 12 athletes stepping up to the challenge to make it a reality. We will be working hard over the next three weeks towards this goal. We are so proud of their accomplishments both individually and as a team. They are an amazing addition to the wrestling program here at Pinedale High School.”
The Wrangler boys’ varsity wrestling team finished in 16th place out of 26 teams with 54 points. The boys’ roster continues to be plagued by injuries and illnesses, said Coach Horrocks.
“Overall, we had a lot of good matches and our wrestlers went out and battled,” he added. “We are proud of them.”
Junior Jake Hammer was the only member of the boys’ varsity squad to place at Ron Thon. Hammer bagged silver at the tournament in the 132-pound bracket.
In the quarterfinals, Hammer pinned Jameson Siemens of Natrona County High School at 1 minute, 36 seconds. Advancing to the semifinals, Hammer defeated Ashton Leegaard of Thunder Basin High School in Gillette by fall in the second period.
The final match pitted Hammer against Rock Springs’ Broc Fletcher. Hammer battled Fletcher through three close periods. Fletcher secured the win by a narrow 10-6 decision.
“Jake wrestled very well throughout the tournament and was very aggressive,” said Horrocks. “He wrestled a good match in the finals.”
Ron Thon girls’ tournament
Freshman McKinzie Mortensen earned the championship in the 100-pound weight division. She pinned Cheyenne Central’s Ellyse Rimmasch with 51 seconds remaining in the second period of the semifinal bout.
McKinzie Mortensen progressed to the first-place match and beat Lucy Ticknor of Glenrock by an 8-0 major decision.
Fellow freshman Kaylea Mortensen captured the championship in the 105-pound bracket. In the quarterfinals, she pinned Cora Remacle of Wind River at 1:09.
Advancing to the semifinals, Kaylea Mortensen defeated Star Valley’s Kenna Merritt by fall midway into the second period. The first-place match came down to the wire. Kaylea Mortensen pinned Molly Bornhoft of Wind River seconds before the final buzzer sounded in the third period.
Junior Katyana Dexter snagged gold in the 235-pound classification. Making quick work of her opponent in the quarterfinals, Dexter pinned Evanston’s Aaliyah Martin 25 seconds into the match.
Dexter secured a swift victory against Jordan Muth, of Rocky Mountain, pinning Muth with 1:30 remaining in the first period of the semifinals.
Squaring off against Katlin Barral, of Thermopolis, in the first-place match, Dexter defeated Barral by fall at 52 seconds to win the championship.
In the 115-pound bracket, senior Rhonda Auradou took home silver. She pinned Tymberlee Stanley, of Riverton, 44 seconds into the first period of the quarterfinals.
The semifinals pitted Auradou against Chay Stephans from Thunder Basin High School in Gillette. Auradou felled her opponent with 28 seconds left in the third period.
Senior Maddox Gehlhausen took fourth place in the 110-pound classification. Sophomore Sarah Helm achieved fourth place in the 120-pound bracket. At 155 pounds, senior Morgan Grossman captured sixth place.
Ron Thon junior varsity
The Pinedale High School junior varsity squad performed well at Ron Thon, finishing 10th out of 38 teams with 89 points.
Freshman Landon Fornstrom won the championship in the 152-pound bracket. He defeated Natrona County’s Aydan Fuller by a 4-2 decision in the quarterfinals.
Fornstrom pinned Bobby Matthews of Cheyenne East with 16 seconds remaining in the first period of the semifinal match.
In the first-place bout, Fornstrom defeated Lane Rabel of Buffalo at 1:46.
Freshman Cale Dauwen secured bronze at 182 pounds. He felled Powell’s Denton Wainscott at 2 minutes in the third-place match.
“Landon and Cale both did very well in a very large junior varsity tournament,” said Coach Horrocks.
The Lady Wranglers and Wranglers travel to compete at the Rawlins Duels on Saturday, Feb. 4, followed by the Rock Springs Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 7.