A young Rocky Mountain High School wrestling team traveled to Casper last weekend to compete in the culminating event of the wrestling season: The Wyoming 2A State Wrestling Championships held at the Casper Events Center.
Tyler Lindquist and Jake Jones came home with medals from the event. Lindquist finished in third place with a 3-1 record through the tournament. He suffered a heartbreaking 8-6 loss to eventual champion Kole Schell in the semifinals on Friday night.
He started off the tournament with a bye; followed by a quarterfinal pin over Chaze Wiant of Saratoga. Lindquist came back strong on Saturday morning with a consolation win over Nathan Martinez of Wright and a second round fall over Tyler Pohlman of Burns/Pine Bluffs. The sophomore placed for the second straight year as he finished sixth at 106 pounds last year. He completed the season with a record of 22-8.
Jake Jones finished with a 3-1 record as he reached the championship finals for the fourth consecutive year and came up short with a second place finish. It was a disappointing end to a great career for the Rocky Mountain senior.
“It was obviously not the way I wanted to finish, but I know that wrestling is not the most important aspect in my life and I am ready to move on to the next phase,” said Jones. “Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win. It has been a goal for a long time. I did my best and Brock out-wrestled me. I’ve got to move on to other goals now. I have had a great run with Coach Collins and my Dad. Coach is a good coach, but he is a better man and has taught me a lot.”
Jones finished the season at 32-4 and a career mark of 126-25.
“He is the only person in school history to make all-state four times in wrestling,” said Head Coach Josh Collins. “It will be hard to see Jake go. He is a great example to our other wrestlers of how to wrestle and how to work. After the tournament Jake was awarded the Academic All-State Award for his weight.
“He is a good student and a strong competitor. He brought intensity to the room that helped push everyone to get better. That roll will probably fall to Tyler (Lindquist) in the coming years. He had a great tournament and really made the right sacrifices as we came down to State.”
Other Grizzlies who competed at the state meet were as follows: Freshman Spur Hackney at 106, who went 0-2 with a difficult draw for his bracket. Hackney lost his opening match 11-2 to Louie Castle of Thermopolis, followed by a loss to Bradley Bifano of Saratoga.
Freshman Mikey Bowman at 120 went 2-2 and missed placing by only one match. He had wins against Thomas Brown of Big Piney and Dakota Trump of Hanna. His losses came at the hands of state runner-up Thatcher Spiering of Saratoga and Colt Larsen of Cokeville.
Also wrestling at 120 was sophomore Jordan Arnold. Arnold went 0-2 with losses to Colt Larsen and Stevie Mellott of Lusk. Justin Smith, a sophomore at 126, went 0-2 with losses to opponents from Kemmerer and Wright. Freshman Shay Bond picked up a win against Kimzey from Burns, but was unable to get past No. 2 ranked Lawrence of Moorcroft and Hageman from Lingle.
In the middleweights Rocky had Josh McCracken at 160 and Ian Davidson at 170. Both wrestlers finished 1-2 for the tournament and gained points for the team.
“We were happy that many of the guys qualified and had their first state experience,” said Collins. “We did some things right and we did some things wrong. We have a lot to work on to get better for next year. A good weight program and wrestling camps will help our wrestlers get to where they need to be. The team is young and excited and I hope that translates to summer training and wrestling.”
Rocky Mountain finished in 14th place out of 21 teams. However, Jones is the only team member they will lose to graduation and the Grizz should have a good nucleus of wrestlers to build around for the next several years.
By Tim Jones