The Lovell High School wrestling program started the 2016-17 season strong at the Powell Invitational as they had one varsity champion and placed seventh in the 16-team field.
Casper Natrona again won the team title with 295.5 points, followed by Powell with 207 points, Cody with 205, Livingston, Mont. 171.5 and Buffalo 167.5. Lovell placed seventh with 132 points, 30 points ahead of Rocky Mountain.
“As a first tournament, it’s always nice to see where you stack up against other teams,” coach Nick DeWitt said. “There needs to be lots of improvement, but as coaches, it was evident that they have been listening in practice and were trying new moves during competition.”
Senior Jaret Collins took the title at 285 by going 5-0 during the two-day tournament. After going 3-0 in Friday’s pool play, Collins defeated Parke of Natrona County in the semifinals after a bye in the first round and McLaughlin of Powell to win the title.
“Jaret had a good weekend,” DeWitt said. “He wrestled smart and ambitious. He went out there like he had something to prove.”
Senior Joey Mickelson placed second at 152 as he went 4-1.
“Joey wrestled really well,” DeWitt said. “He showed that he continued to improve since last year. He looked smooth and confident on the mat.”
Other placers at the tournament were: freshman Quinton Hecker second at 113 pounds, sophomore Alex Nicholson third at 120, sophomore Mikel May sixth at 152, sophomore Kerry Powell fourth at 195 and freshman Coy Trainor fourth at 220.
In the junior varsity division, sophomore Kaleb Snyder went 2-2.
“Overall, the team wrestled really well,” DeWitt said. “We still have a lot of little things to work on and to improve. But, you could see them applying techniques from practice into competition.”
The Bulldogs will travel to the Battle of the Big Horns tournament in Worland starting Friday at 12:30 p.m. and continuing Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
“We’ll continue to increase our technique and get in better shape,” DeWitt said.
By Sam Smith