The Lovell High School wrestling squad placed three wrestlers in the top four as the Bulldogs concluded the 2016-2017 season at the Class 2A State Tournament Friday and Saturday in Casper.
As a team, the Bulldogs finished eighth with 92 points, 8.5 points ahead of Rocky and 6.5 points behind Wright.
“It was tough,” coach Nick DeWitt said. “We weren’t on our game this weekend. Overall, we went from second in Regionals to eighth at State.”
The team had one second-place finisher at 195 pounds and two third-placers at 285 and 106.
Freshman Coy Trainor placed second at 195 pounds and finished the season 27-14. Trainor quickly pinned Gabe Cash of Shoshoni in the first round in 12 seconds and Conner Smith of Southeast in the quarterfinals in 2:51. Trainor then defeated Darrell Goeckeler of Burns/Pine Bluffs 4-2 in the semifinals before falling to Solomon Petz in the championship match in 5:07. Trainor received 2A All-State honors.
“He’s a freshman at a junior-senior level weight so it makes it difficult to compete against those that have been in this tournament before,” DeWitt said.
Senior Jaret Collins completed his senior season with an impressive 40-1 record and placed third at 285 pounds. After receiving a bye in the first round, Collins stuck Elias Orozco of Glenrock in the quarterfinals in 57 seconds before falling to Tanner Feehan of Moorcroft in the semifinals in 2:47. Collins then bounced back to pin Asencion Pelham of Big Piney in the consolation semifinals in 38 seconds then Hunter Woodruff of Southeast in the third-place match in 36 seconds.
“The loss Friday night was devastating to the whole team,” DeWitt said. “To see an undefeated wrestler fall short is always difficult to come back from and overcome. Taking third showed the character and mentality of a champion to come back from that loss and finish the way he did.”
Freshman Quinton Hecker finished his season 20-11 and placed third at 106 pounds. After receiving a bye in the first round, Hecker beat Myles Stefanich of Sundance 14-1 in the quarterfinals then fell to Preston Seamonds of Wright in the semifinals in 3:41. Hecker stuck Zach Cudney of Burns/Pine Bluffs in the consolation semifinals in 2:22 to advance to the third-place match.
In the third-place match, Hecker trailed Mica Herrera of Moorcroft 4-3 with seven seconds left to go. Hecker responded quickly by getting a takedown and a near fall to defeat Herrera 8-4.
“It was definitely a big win,” DeWitt said. “We lost to him last time so it was big for him to come back, beat him and compete like he did.”
Senior Joey Mickelson (36-11) went 2-2 at 145 pounds, pinning Trey Nate of Cokeville in the first round in 3:18 and Jeff Langlois of Burns/Pine Bluffs in the consolation second round in 1:47 for his two wins.
Sophomore Kaleb Snyder went 2-2 at 120 pounds, sticking Sam Dayton of Cokeville in the first round in 1:56 and Kobe Tillman of Wyoming Indian in the consolation second round
Sophomore Kelly Powell went 2-2 at 170 pounds, beating Tanner Hansen of Big Piney 5-4 in the first round and pinning Colton Befus of Wind River in the consolation second round in 4:46.
Sophomore Alex Nicholson (19-14) went 1-2 at 120 pounds, pinning Robbie Marta of H.E.M. in the first round in 1:08.
Sophomore Jack Steed (21-19) went 1-2 at 126 pounds, sticking Brendan Miller of Kemmerer in the first round in 3:43.
Junior Jared Wilkerson went 1-2 at 138 pounds, pinning Haydin Julander of Kemmerer in the consolation first round in 2:06.
Sophomore Mikel May went 1-2 at 152 pounds, sticking Zeb Goodrich of Wright in the consolation first round in 2:05.
Sophomore Kelly Powell went 1-2 at 182 pounds, taking down Austin Grohman of Rocky in the first round in 2:25.
Freshman Dallas Oliver competed at 152 pounds.
The state tournament was the last tournament for seniors Mickelson and Collins and managers Eliza Beck, Kaitlin Stevens and Savannah Jolley.
“We are still a young team,” DeWitt said. “We have a lot of opportunity for growth as we move into the off-season to prepare for next year.”
By Sam Smith