Rocky Mountain High School sophomore Nathan Hatch and senior Garrett Vezain placed second at the Class 2A State Tournament Friday and Saturday in Casper with senior Brian Crawford taking third.
As a team, the Grizzlies placed ninth with 83.5 points, 12.5 points ahead of Sundance and 8.5 points behind Lovell.
Hatch (22-10) pinned Torin Hedley of Saratoga in the first round in 22 seconds at 170 pounds and Phoenix Buske of Wright in the quarterfinals in 3:11. Hatch then beat Boe Clayson of Burns/Pine Bluffs 15-8 in the semifinals before falling to Hayden Walker of Kemmerer in the championship match in 1:03 to place second. Hatch received 2A All-State honors.
“He had a tough final match against a guy from Kemmerer,” coach Josh Collins said. “He (Walker) took second at the Riverton Tournament. Hatch fought his way through for first and second. He’s a sophomore and it’s his first time placing at State. I’m very proud of him. It’s a privilege to see kids place that high.”
After receiving a bye in the first round at 220 pounds, Vezain (27-5) stuck Lane Mosteller of Moorcroft in the quarterfinals in 47 seconds and Cooper Fargen of Glenrock in the semifinals in 3:32 to advance to the title match. In the championship match, Vezain fell to Yuli Viergets of Sundance in 4:30. Vezain also received 2A All-State honors.
“He just made a little mistake at the end,” Collins said. “He had the potential to take State this year. He’s a great kid and a great wrestler and was fun to be with in the wrestling room.”
Crawford (28-4) pinned Nathaniel Roberts of H.E.M. in the first round in 59 seconds and Tate Hullinger of Moorcroft in the quarterfinals in 3:21 before falling to eventual champion Tate Stoddard of Glenrock 11-0 in the semifinals. Crawford bounced back to pin Colter Julian of Kemmerer in the consolation semifinals in 1:41 and beat Lochlyn Teichert of Cokeville 16-1 in the third-place match.
“He slaughtered him, which was nice to see for his last match,” Collins said. “He worked hard. He placed every single year at State, which not very many wrestlers can say they’ve done.”
Burlington High School junior Malachi Cook (25-7) went 2-2 at 126 pounds, pinning James Moore of Wright in the first round in 24 seconds and Titus Schelling of Sundance in the consolation second round in three minutes for his two wins.
Sophomore Travis Lytle (20-13) went 2-2 at 138 pounds, sticking Nathaniel Rickert of Kemmerer in the first round in 35 seconds and Caleb Cook of Moorcroft in the consolation second round in 2:01.
Sophomore Kyle Hoyt (15-13) went 1-2 at 182 pounds, receiving a forfeit over Dmitri Richards of Niobrara County in the first round.
Other Grizzly wrestlers at State were sophomore Cole Boardman at 138 pounds and junior Austin Grohman at 182 pounds.
The state tournament was the last meet for seniors Vezain and Crawford.
“There are times where we could’ve done better, but for the kids that never gave up and gave it their all, those were the fun matches to watch,” Collins said.
By Sam Smith