Coach Daniel Robertson and his Lovell Bulldogs are probably sick to death of dual wrestling matches, having competed in seven duals over the weekend in Cowley and Wright to start the New Year, but maybe not. The Bulldogs went 6-1 in the team-vs.-team matchups.
Lovell competed in Cowley Friday afternoon for the annual Lovell-Greybull-Rocky Triangular, which rotates among the three schools. Lovell stopped Rocky Mountain 54-24, then edged Greybull/Riverside 39-30. Lovell then went 6-1 at the Wright Duals Saturday to take the team title.
“We haven’t really missed a beat,” Robertson said of his team’s performance after the holidays. “We came back really solid. We had a lot of good practices over the break.
“We went back and worked on some basics, less than in the past, though. We focused mainly on in-house competition. We tried to make practices really intense and really short.”
Friday in Cowley, the Bulldogs and Grizzlies faced off in only eight matches, with forfeits in six other weight classes. The dual began at 132 pounds where Shay Bond of the Grizzlies beat Lovell freshman Merrill Beck 16-10, then sophomore Richard Walker fell via a pin to Jake Loyning in 1:25 at 138 pounds.
Lovell rebounded as junior Hyrum Hopkin pinned Dylan North in 3:00 at 145, but the Bulldogs trailed 15-6 after Jake Jones stuck Jacob Winterholler in 52 seconds. After Nathan Grant pinned Rocky’s Ian Davidson in 1:02, Lovell won four straight matches via forfeit, with neither team fielding a 195-pounder, to lead 36-15. Lovell lost via forfeit at 106 to make the score 36-21, but sophomore Trey Smith pinned Duke Wang in 3:26.
Rocky picked up three points when Tyler Lindquist beat Jaccob Mickelson 9-4, and the Bulldogs closed out the match with freshman Joey Bassett pinning Michael Bowman in 3:42 at 126 pounds.
The Greybull-Lovell match started at 138 pounds, where Walker fell to Jesus Burgos by pin in 1:31. Hopkin fell to Cole Hill 4-3 at 145, and Winterholler was pinned by Anthony Eibert in 42 seconds at 152.
G/R’s Luke Zeller edged Nathan Grant 3-1 at 160 pounds as Greybull led the match 18-0, but Jacob Beck won by forfeit at 170 and Dino Collins pinned Matt Brown in 2:49 at 182 to cut the deficit to six points. Tanner Bernstein won by forfeit at 195.
At 220, Nash Jolley was pinned by Spencer Redland in 3:42, but senior Jacob Asay stuck Oscar Gomez in 1:41 to keep Lovell close at 30-18.
Neither team had a wrestler at 106, but Smith won by forfeit at 113 and Mickelson at 120 to make the score 30-30.
In a pivotal match, Bassett pinned Marshall Gibbs in 3:26, and then Merrill Beck closed out the match by edging Ryan Peoples 13-8.
“Joey Bassett probably made our biggest strides this weekend,” Robertson said. “In the Greybull dual they kind of gambled that they would beat him and moved a kid to his weight, but Joey kind of handled him. That was excellent.”
Noting Beck’s win over Peoples, Robertson noted, “Our young guys have flashes, they do have flashes. They’re inconsistent.”
Lovell went 4-1 to win the Wright Duals Saturday. The Bulldogs beat the Cheyenne East JVs 51-21, fell to the Surgis JVs 37-33, beat the Gillette JVs 54-19, beat Lingle 42-33 and defeated Wright 51-27 in the title match.
Smith went 3-1 at 113 pounds Saturday and pleased his coach by edging Nathan Martinez of Wright 9-7 in the final dual. Martinez pinned Smith three times last season, Robertson noted, but since then has learned how to “combat a straight body scissors.”
Mickelson went 3-2 at 120 pounds Saturday and “showed some pretty good flashes,” Robertson said.
Other records Saturday included: Bassett 1-4 at 126, Merrill Beck 0-4 at 132, Walker 0-5 at 138, Hopkin 3-2 at 145, Winterholler 1-3 at 152, Grant 5-0 at 160, Jacob Beck 3-0 at 170, Collins 1-0 at 182, Jolley 2-1 at 220 and Asay 0-1 at heavyweight.
Collins is now 15-0 on the season, Grant 19-1 and Jacob Beck 16-1.
Don Runner next
The Bulldogs hosted Cody for a dual match Tuesday and will travel to Pavillion Friday and Saturday for the annual Don Runner Invitational, hosted by Wind River High School, which Robertson said starts a three-week period when the Bulldogs will see a lot of 2A competition. Action begins at noon Friday and continues Saturday at 9 a.m.
By David Peck