A mostly healthy and nearly intact Lovell wrestling squad took to the mats at the Greybull Memorial Invitational Saturday and won the team title, topping the 11-team field with 145 points and edging second-place Shoshoni by 13 points.
The final standings were Lovell 145, Shoshoni 132, Greybull/Riverside 108.5, Powell JVs 92.5, Wind River 75, Rocky Mountain 71, Wright and Cody 69, Thermopolis 68, Dubois 22 and Wyoming Indian 15.
“We did a good job. We finally got some finalists,” Coach Daniel Robertson said. “That’s the key. It’s the next step in our maturation process, getting some people in the finals and winning a couple matches there. Next, we’ll think about state placings.”
The Bulldogs had two individual champions Saturday: sophomore Merrill Beck at 145 pounds and junior Zeke Collins at 195.
Beck went 3-0 to win the 145-pound crown, beating Dylan North of Rocky Mountain 4-1, crushing Tyler Wollam of Greybull/Riverside 19-10 and beating Tucker Darrah of Powell for the title, 4-1.
“He wrestled well. He wrestled within himself but stayed a little more aggressive,” Robertson said.
Collins pinned his way to the title at a combined 182-195 weight class. He stuck Bobby Goodnight of Wyoming Indian in 19 seconds, Garrett Vezain of Rocky Mountain in 2:38 and Zane Edeler of G/R in 5:15 for the title.
“That was a very good win for Zeke over Edeler, who was a state semifinalist two years ago,” Robertson said. “Edeler is a 195-pounder, and Zeke wrestles at 182. So it was a good win.
“Zeke is doing a much better job of keeping himself in good body position and he’s in really good shape. When he makes it into the third period with someone he has more in the tank than they do. He finishes well.”
Sophomore Joey Bassett placed second at 120 pounds, beating Nathan Martinez of Wright 10-5 before falling to Connor Wilkinson of Shoshoni 8-2 in the title match.
“That was a quality win (in the semifinals),” Robertson said. “Martinez is a good wrestler. Wilkinson is good. He was second at State last year (at 113 pounds).”
Freshman Joey Mickelson returned to action after being out several weeks with a shoulder injury and placed third at 113 pounds with a 4-1 record. Mickelson pinned Trevan Lytle of Rocky Mountain in 27 seconds and stuck Marshall Wittick of Powell in 1:46 before falling to eventual champion Vinchinzo Castle of Thermopolis 19-3 in the semifinals. He came back to pin Mat Dillon of Shoshoni in 48 seconds and Nathan Gifford of Cody in 4:39 for third place.
Robertson said Mickelson is now 17-6 on the season and is having a good season, noting, “There are some good kids in that weight.”
Brother Jaccob Mickelson, a junior, also went 4-1 to place third at 132 pounds. He pinned Michael Bowman of Rocky in 34 seconds and Nate MaGill of Powell in 1:15 before falling to eventual champ Zak Rose of Wind River on a pin in 48 seconds. “He got caught,” Robertson noted.
Mickelson came back to pin Ashton Wollam of G/R in 2:27 and Justin Smith of Rocky Mountain in 1:54 for third.
“He did a good job,” Robertson said. “It’s what you kind of expect out of him.”
Senior Hyrum Hopkin went 3-1 at 152 pounds to place third. He pinned Carl Pate of Cody in 30 seconds, then fell to eventual champion Alex Ferguson of Wright 3-1. Hopkin bounced back to pin Stetson Durand of Rocky Mountain in 1:31 and Dylan Lookingbill of Wind River in 4:24 for third.
“Hyrum beat Ferguson the night before (during a dual match),” Robertson said. “He had a good tournament in total, though I wish he would have beaten Ferguson for the second time, which would have evened the score this season.”
Freshman Joe Murnion placed fourth at 106 pounds. He pinned Chase Smith of Powell in 1:34, then fell to eventual champ John Thoman of Wind River in 3:34. After a bye, he fell to Xavier Wantulok of Powell in 3:19.
“He’s gotten better the last couple of weeks,” Robertson said. “It helps him to have Joey (Mickelson) to wrestle in the room.”
Junior Trey Smith went 2-2 at 126 pounds to place fourth. He crushed Orion Smith of Wright 14-3, fell to Danny Huxtable of Shoshoni 9-4, pinned Brock Baker of Dubois in 5:30 and fell to Max Dickerman of Cody in 1:31.
“He beat the Smith kid from Wright, which was a good win to have,” Robertson said. “That’s a rough weight. Trey did a good job. He’s a smart wrestler. He tries everything he’s taught and doesn’t fall into a rut.”
Sophomore Jacob Winterholler had a solid tournament at 160 pounds, going 2-2 to place fourth. After an opening-round loss to eventual champion John Beaudrie of Cody, he battled back to beat teammate Kyle Burton 18-3 and pin Eli Briggs of Powell in 3:31 before falling to JJ Crichton of Shoshoni in 1:37.
“That was pretty awesome. He loses out early to the eventual champion and comes back and wrestles some people tough,” Robertson said.
Junior Nash Jolley didn’t place but did some good work at 220 pounds. He lost to Patrick Forster of Shoshoni by default when he suffered a scrape on the front of his nose, running out of blood time, Robertson said. He came back to pin Billy Jones of G/R in 27 seconds, then fell to Powell varsity wrestler Riley Stringer by fall in 2:19.
Freshman heavyweight Jaret Collins went 1-2. He beat Kyle Sheperd of Thermop, then fell to Galen LaGois of Shoshoni and Jose Gonzales of Wyoming Indian.
The Bulldogs also defeated Wright in a dual Friday night, 45-21, getting wins by Smith, Jaccob Mickelson, Hopkin and Zeke Collins, plus some forfeits.
The Bulldogs will join dozens of other teams by traveling to Riverton this weekend for the all-class, best-of-the-best Ron Thon Memorial Tournament. Action begins at 9 a.m. each day.
by David Peck