Lovell and the LHS Johnny Winterholler Gym will be a beehive of activity this weekend as Lovell High hosts the 2014 Class 2A West Regional Wrestling Tournament.
Schools participating will be Big Piney, Cokeville, Dubois, Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow, Greybull/Riverside, Kemmerer, Lovell, Rocky Mountain, Shoshoni, Thermopolis, Wind River and Wyoming Indian.
For many years the tournament was held at Wind River High School in Pavillion, but in 2009-10 the tournament began rotating among the various schools in the region and since then has been to Greybull-Riverside, Cokeville, Shoshoni, Hanna and now Lovell. It is slated for Big Piney next year, then Wind River, Dubois and Rocky Mountain in 2017-18, Lovell Athletic Director Joe Koritnik said.
The Class 3A West has rotated tournaments in various sports for many years, and next year it was Lyman’s turn to host regional wrestling, but with Lovell replacing Lyman in the 3A West ranks, Lovell will also take Lyman’s spot in the hosting lineup, hosting the 3A West tournament in February of 2015.
Koritnik said he went to Hanna last year to see how the school set things up and which things “worked well and things we could do differently,” he said. He and school officials Denise Harrison, Susan McArthur and Suzanne Winterholler also went to a training session last week in Casper on a new “Track Wrestling” program, a program that provides immediate results to those following a tournament.
This year’s tournament in Lovell will begin with weigh-ins and a seeding meeting at 1 p.m. Friday, followed by the first round of wrestling at 3 p.m. Prelims, quarterfinals and semifinals will be held Friday, along with some wrestlebacks.
Saturday’s schedule includes weigh-ins at 8 a.m. followed by consolation semifinals at 9 a.m. followed by third-fourth and fifth-sixth matches and, following a break, championship matches.
Koritnik said the school and general community have stepped up to make the tournament a success. Coach Devon Parks, Jodi Baxendale and the LHS golf team are working to provide food – pizza and sloppy joes – to the wrestlers, and the LHS student council is making welcome baskets for each team. The Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce will staff a welcome table for the teams and fans.
There will also be a hospitality room for officials, workers, coaches, administrators, bus drivers and the media.
Volunteers from the community are also helping to keep score and perform other duties.
“It’s nice to have people in the community willing to give of their time to help make it a success,” Koritnik said. “I thank them. We couldn’t do it without good people helping.”
By David Peck