Bullldogs battle the big boys

The Lovell Bulldogs grappled with the big boys at the large school Battle of the Big Horns over the weekend in Worland, and when it was all said and done, the Class 2A Bulldogs had gone 5-2 against much larger schools.

“We did really well,” coach Daniel Robertson said. “Everyone wrestled pretty dang well, except for a couple kids.”

Posing with their best-of-the-best trophies following the Battle of the Big Horns Saturday are (l-r) Nathan Grant, Jesse Bassett and Dino Collins. The Bulldogs went 5-2 against much larger schools during the tournament.

The Bulldogs started pool play Friday by crushing Buffalo 50-15.

“There were a few forfeits, so part of that is a testament to our depth rather than our ability,” Robertson said.

Still, the Bulldogs picked up pins from Jacob Beck at 160 pounds, Nathan Grant at 152 pounds, Jesse Bassett at 138 and Hyrum Hopkin at 132, and a hard-fought 6-4 win by Tony Rodriguez at 170 over Cody Samburg.

Facing Riverton next, the Bulldogs clobbered the Wolverines 41-17 as Tristen Snyder at 106 pounds, Hyrum Hopkin at 132, Bassett at 138, Jacob Beck at 160 and Eli Moody at 195 picked up pins. Grant, Rodriguez and Dino Collins won by decision.

The Bulldogs dropped a hard-fought match to Powell, 39-22, as Hyrum Hopkin, Grant and Collins stuck their opponents and Bassett won by decision.

Lovell bounced back to complete pool play, ripping Green River 46-16 as Hyrum Hopkin, Bassett, Jacob Beck and Rodriguez won by pin and Adam Beck won by decision.

Taking their 3-1 pool record into the bracketed tournament on Saturday, the Bulldogs ran into the tough Worland Warriors in the first round and fell 42-36 despite pins by Bassett, Grant, Jacob Beck and Rodriguez and decisions by Jaccob Mickelson and Collins.

Wrestling in the consolation bracket, the Bulldogs edged Casper Kelly Walsh 42-41 as Bassett, Adam Beck, Grant, Jacob Beck, Rodriguez, Collins and Moody each pinned his opponent. But Robertson said the real key was Hyrum Hopkin avoiding a pin from Tanner Galey.

“He was second to last and fought off a pin,” Robertson said. “He gave up a technical fall, but he wouldn’t let that kid pin him. Then Jesse pinned his kid to win it.”

The Bulldogs then captured fifth place by beating Rock Springs 45-30 as Grant, Jacob Beck, Rodriguez and Collins won by pin and Bassett won a 6-4 decision in overtime.

Grant, Collins and Bassett went undefeated in the tournament and competed in best-of-the-best matches at the end of team competition. All three won their best-of-the best matches, Robertson said, with Collins beating Worland’s Bronson Hernandez for the second time in the tournament, Grant topping Rudy Batista of Riverton for the second time and Bassett stopping Lew Anderson of Mountain View.

Robertson said the Anderson match was interesting.

“He pinned him with his own cradle,” the coach said. “He adjusted his weight and Anderson was still locked up and rolled over onto his own shoulders. Jesse stuck his hip out to hold it. It was the darndest thing.

“Tony should have been in the best-of-the-best. He and Jacob Beck. They only lost one match each, and the guy they lost to (in each case) wrestled in the best-of-the-best.”

Robertson noted the performances of other Bulldog wrestlers.

“Eli found what he was good at this weekend,” he said. “He’s a tilter. He works to get near-fall points. He did a good job.

“Jacob Asay is wrestling way better than he did before. He still has to turn the corner a little bit. He is undersized, but he wrestled tough. Snyder is out-weighed by 10 pounds against everyone he touches. We’ve got to figure something out.

“Jaccob Mickelson is getting much better. He’s always tough. With Hyrum, it’s feast or famine. He’s getting much better, too. He’s tough just because he’s chaotic.”

Robertson said Dimas Patina and Daniel Strom performed well in junior varsity matches.”

The Bulldogs’ next matches will be at Greybull Friday, Jan. 6, against Rocky Mountain and Greybull, and the team will then travel to the Wright Duals Saturday, Jan. 7, and to Cody on Tuesday, Jan. 10, for a dual.

By David Peck