By David Peck
The young Lovell High School wrestling team seems to be turning the corner as the Bulldogs split with Rocky Mountain and Greybull Friday, then placed first at the Wright Duals Saturday.
The Bulldogs were 5-2 on the weekend.
“I was very pleasantly surprised,” Coach Daniel Robertson said. “I’m not sure what it was, but we did significantly better. It has nothing to do with me. It was all on the boys.”
As for specifics, Robertson noted that the team is improving in some fundamental areas.
“We didn’t give up as many takedowns, and we are a little more aggressive on our feet,” he said. “We’re doing a better job of having a plan. We didn’t wait for the match to happen. The kids had their own game plan as they went in and it turned out pretty well for them.”
Friday, hosting the annual triangular among Lovell, Rocky and Greybull/Riverside, the Bulldogs beat Rocky 42-33, then fell to G/R 45-32.
The Bulldogs had two extremely fast pins against the Grizz as Nash Jolley pinned Robert Logan in 12 seconds at 220 pounds and Zeke Collins pinned Conner Holzwarth in 13 seconds at 182.
Jaccob Mickelson pinned Michael Bowman in 1:45 at 132 pounds, and senior Hyrum Hopkin stuck Dylan North in 4:32 at 152. Merrill Beck out-pointed Shay Bond 8-2 at 145 pounds and Jaret Collins edged Wes Homewood 5-2 at heavyweight.
For the Grizzlies, Brian Crawford pinned Joe Murnion in 1:49 and Ian Davidson beat Jacob Winterholler 12-8 in a very entertaining match. The rest of the points for both teams came from forfeits.
Against Greybull/Riverside, Trey Smith beat Marshall Gibbs 7-0 at 126 pounds, Jaccob Mickelson crushed Dylan Roberts 17-2 at 132, Winterholler pinned Ashton Wollam in 3:27 and Murnion pinned Jared Chavis in 1:51 at 106.
4-1 at Wright
Saturday in Wright, Lovell defeated the Cheyenne East JVs 54-10, tied the Sturgis JVs 35-225 but won on criteria points (winning the greater number of matches), crushed the Gillette JVs 51-24, fell to Lingle on criteria points (the team with the most first match points, which rewards aggressive wrestling) after a 34-34 tie and beat host Wright for the title, 41-33.
Against East, the Bulldogs got wins from Murnion (pin), Joey Bassett (pin in 37 seconds), Smith (pin), Mickelson (pin), Beck, Hopkin (pin) and Zeke Collins, plus forfeits.
Against Sturgis, the Bulldogs got wins from Bassett, Smith (pin), Beck (pin), Hopkin, Zeke Collins, Jolley (pin in 23 seconds) and Jaret Collins (pin), then beat Gillette with wins coming from Bassett (pin), Smith (pin), Mickelson, Beck (pin), Hopkin (pin), Winterholler (pin), Zeke Collins (pin in 23 seconds) and Jaret Collins (pin).
Winning against Lingle were Bassett (pin in 27 seconds), Smith (pin in 39 seconds) and Beck (15-3), and Lovell beat Wright for the title thanks to wins by Murnion (pin in 31 seconds), Smith (pin), Mickelson (16-1), Beck (pin) and Zeke Collins (pin in 22 seconds).
Robertson was very pleased with some of his team’s individual performances.
“Merrill (Beck—6-1 on the weekend) was more definite and didn’t go down easy,” he said. “He’s sticking to what he’s good at and learning when he’s in trouble or not in trouble. He just tore it up.”
Zeke Collins was 4-0 on the weekend, brother Jaret 2-0.
“I’ve been telling everyone you’ve got to watch out for Zeke. He’s a stud,” Robertson said. “Nobody knows it yet, but they’re going to learn.
“Heavyweight is wide open. As soon as Jaret decides he’s not just a freshman he’ll be able to rip through a lot of his heavyweight competition.”
Bassett went 4-1 Saturday after getting no matches on Friday.
The Bulldogs will travel to Cody Thursday to meet the Broncs for a dual at 6 p.m., then head to Pavillion Friday and Saturday for the Don Runner Invitational.
Action begins at 1 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday, Robertson said.
By David Peck