Collins, Mickelson take the gold at Don Runner

The Lovell High School wrestling squad put up some strong performances this weekend as they faced Cody in a dual meet Thursday in Cody and participated in the Don Runner Invitational Friday and Saturday in Pavillion.

Thursday at the Cody dual, the Bulldogs fell to the Broncs 57-24. Bulldog winners include senior Joey Mickelson (fall), senior Jaret Collins (fall), freshman Quinton Hecker (fall) and sophomore Alex Nicholson (fall).

“Overall, we wrestled and competed well,” coach Nick DeWitt said. “We didn’t quit in the matches we fell short in and in the matches we won, we were dominant.”

Don Runner Invite

Saturday at the Don Runner Invitational, Lovell placed fifth as a team with 147.5 points, 14.5 points behind Kemmerer and 39.5 points ahead of Rocky Mountain.

“It’s a big 2A tournament, so we got to see a lot of our competition,” DeWitt said. “While we placed fifth, we had three starters at home who would’ve been a great help team wise.”

Collins continued his undefeated senior season at 27-0 and won the heavyweight class. After receiving a bye in the first round, he pinned Brooks Woody of Shoshoni in the second round in 33 seconds and Austin Paxton in the quarterfinals in 1:53. Collins then stuck Asencion Pelham of Big Piney in the semis in 3:27 before pinning Conor Sullivan of Pinedale in the championship match.

“He continues to show dominance in the heavyweight bracket,” DeWitt said. “He’s attempting shots and trying different things to make sure he’s improving.”

Mickelson (22-3) took the gold in the 145-pound division. After receiving a bye in the first round, Mickelson stuck Jon Harvey of Thermopolis in 51 seconds and Trey Nate in the quarterfinals in 47 seconds. In the semifinals, Mickelson pinned Kaden Kranendonk of Big Piney in 5:10 and beat John Thoman of Wind River 3-1 in the championship match.

Lovell High School sophomore Jack Steed attempts to pin Greybull/Riverside grappler Felipe Gaytan during a recent meet in Lovell. Steed eventually prevailed 9-3.
Sam Smith photo

“It’s been nice getting him down to his competition weight,” DeWitt said. “He’s looking quick and smooth, and I’m excited to see where he goes from here.”

After receiving byes in the first two rounds, freshman Coy Trainor (20-7) pinned Sergio Saenz of Pinedale in the quarterfinals in 2:46 and Wyatt Mascaro of Rich County, Utah, in the semis in 3:20. In the championship match, Trainor fell to Wyatt Weston of Rich County, Utah in 1:17 to place second.

“He’s continuing to work hard,” DeWitt said. “As a freshman, he’s continuing to learn.”

Nicholson took third in the 120-pound division. Nicholson (10-4) beat Nicholas Garcia of Big Piney 16-0 in the first round and fell to Dax Yeardi of Wright in the second round in 5:41. Nicholson started to battle his way back through the consolation as he pinned Robbie Marta of H.E.M. in 3:33, Jacob Snell of Pinedale in 59 seconds and Dakota Bennett of Rawlins in 1:20 before beating Yeardi in the consolation semis 3-2. In the third-place match, Nicholson beat Jonathan Hagen 13-9.

“This is his first competition back since the first weekend, so we were a little out of shape, but he continued to battle through and fight for the win,” DeWitt said.

Freshman Quinton Hecker took fourth in the 106-pound division. After receiving byes in the first and second round, he fell to Dakota Baker in the quarterfinals in 2:26. After receiving another bye in the bracket, Hecker stuck Flynt Silva of Rich County, Utah, in the consolation fifth round and beat Austin Ireland of Thermopolis 9-6 in the consolation semifinals before falling to Baker again in the third-place match in 3:17 to take fourth.

Sophomore Jack Steed took fifth in the 126-pound bracket. He received a bye in the first round and took down Hiissiis Goodnight of Wyoming Indian in 3:44. In the quarterfinals, Steed stuck Breoghan Reynolds of Rawlins in 58 seconds before falling to Wes Teichert of Cokeville 8-5 in the semis. Steed fell to Aaron Braun of Rawlins in the consolation semis in 4:59 before pinning Jazzmine Ebell of Rawlins in the fifth-place match in 1:48.

“Overall, we had a good weekend,” DeWitt said. “We continued to improve, make adjustments and battle through different matches. Every week, it’s good to see that we haven’t hit a plateau but we continue to climb the mountain.”

Next up for the Bulldogs is the Moorcroft Invitational starting Friday at 1 p.m. and continuing on Saturday at 9 a.m.

“We’ll see a lot of 2A schools and some out-of-state competition,” DeWitt said. “It’ll be a fun one.”

By Sam Smith