Six Lovell High School wrestlers placed in the top five of their respective weight classes at the Wyoming State Wrestling Tournament Friday and Saturday in Casper.
The team placed eighth in Class 2A with 113 points, 1.5 points behind Big Piney and 11 points ahead of Southeast. The team had two third-placers, two fourth-placers and two fifth-placers.
Senior Alex Nicholson placed third at 120 pounds. Nicholson pinned Randy Peters of Moorcroft in the first round in 28 seconds and Owen Haiar of Sundance in the quarterfinals in 3:10 before falling to Preston Seamands of Wright in the semifinals in 3:05. Nicholson bounced back Saturday and defeated Peters 9-1 in the consolation semifinals and pinned Haiar in the third-place match in 1:56. Nicholson finished his senior season with a record of 33-8.
“It was great to see Alex finish his high school career with a win,” coach Nick DeWitt said. “He was able to fight back after a tough semifinal match to finish third. Over the past two years, it seems as if Alex knows how to compete on the big stage of State.”
Junior Coy Trainor placed third at 220 pounds. Trainor stuck Gavin Robertson of Sundance in the quarterfinals in 45 seconds before falling to Phoenix Buske of Wright 5-3 in the semifinals. Trainor stormed back to pin Dade Greene of Greybull/Riverside in the consolation semifinals in 2:36 and Jasper Caldera of Niobrara County in the third-place match in 1:41. Trainor finished the season with a record of 7-3.
“I know Coy did not finish where he wanted to, but under the circumstances, I felt he wrestled outstanding,” DeWitt said. “He had a difficult obstacle of a short season and little time to prepare for matches against high-caliber opponents. He proved that he was right in the mix through his match in the semifinals and finishing in third.”
Trainor missed much of the season while recovering from knee surgery.
Junior Quinton Hecker placed fourth at 126 pounds. Hecker pinned Wyatt Mackey of Coke-
ville in the first round in 2:39 and won by injury default over Trezdon Martinez of Saratoga in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Colter Julian of Kemmerer 7-4 in the semifinals. Hecker then defeated Dustin Simmons of Glenrock 16-7 in the consolation semifinals and fell to James Knigge of Shoshoni 2-1 in the third-place match. Hecker finished the season 39-12.
“Quinton was in a difficult weight class,” DeWitt said. “There were some opponents that we have never seen and some that we had seen one too many times. Quinton is an outstanding wrestler, but this time two of his opponents were able to develop a strategy that didn’t allow him to maximize his potential.”
Senior Jack Steed placed fourth at 160 pounds. Steed stuck Mike Cook of Cokeville in the first round in 3:03 and Alex Mastrovito of Hulett in the quarterfinals in 5:16 before falling to Noah Halsey of Glenrock in the semifinals in 5:55. Steed came back to defeat Dekken Mayer of Moorcroft 5-3 in the consolation semifinals, then fell to Devan Moody of Cokeville 9-8 in the third-place match. Steed finished his senior season with a record of 25-10.
“Jack finished his high school career on a positive note,” DeWitt said. “He improved overall as a wrestler and a leader and placed the highest that he has over his four years. Both losses came from quality opponents, but he never gave up. Both of the matches (he lost) were hard fought battles with high scores.”
Sophomore Asher Nicholson placed fifth at 132 pounds. Nicholson pinned Ezekiel King of Shoshoni in the first round in 34 seconds, then fell to Caleb Cook of Moorcroft in the quarterfinals in 3:15. Nicholson came back and stuck Greg Logsdon of Southeast in the consolation second round in 2:14 and Braeden Cash of Shoshoni in the third round in 1:42 before falling to Tonka Lytle of Rocky Mountain 8-1 in the consolation semifinals. Nicholson crushed Blake Williams of Thermopolis 17-3 in the fifth-place match. Nicholson finished the season 37-16.
“Asher had a long and tough season,” the coach said. “He wrestled the most matches on the team and he was never wanting to sit out whether battling injuries or health. At State, he showed how pure determination can overcome technique and skill. There were times when he would be in a position that is unorthodox for most athletes and he was able to finish on top.”
Senior Kelly Powell placed fifth at 170 pounds. Powell defeated Tanner Hansen of Big Piney 3-2 in the first round before falling to Tate Carson of Southeast in the quarterfinals in 26 seconds. Powell stormed back to beat Austin Barral of Thermopolis 7-3 in the consolation second round and pinned Wyatt Peters of Moorcroft in the consolation third round in 1:58 before falling to Riley Shaffer of Thermopolis 10-2 in the consolation semifinals. Powell defeated Hansen 4-0 in the fifth-place match. Powell finished his senior season with a record of 28-19.
“It was a great feeling to see Kelly finish off his career on the podium,” DeWitt said. “His finish goes to show that hard work, discipline and heart are key components for an athlete to succeed. He knew going into the tournament that to place he was going to have a very difficult road but in every match he went out with high expectations and the determination to place.”
Sophomore Cardon Mickelson went 2-2 at 113 pounds, beating Jerry Everett of Saratoga 16-5 in the first round and Payton Bastrom of Tongue River in the consolation second round in 1:26 for his two wins at State.
Sophomore Kyler Marchant went 1-2 at 113 pounds, pinning Nathan Thornock of Cokeville in the consolation first round in 1:59 for his lone win in Casper.
Senior Kerry Powell went 1-2 at 182 pounds, sticking Joseph Borah of H.E.M in the consolation first round in 14 seconds.
Other Bulldog grapplers wrestling at State were senior Temperance Mickelson at 120 pounds, sophomore Myzek McArthur at 152 pounds and junior Dallas Oliver at 195 pounds.
“Like I told the team, the outcome of the tournament wasn’t what we all wanted or expected,” DeWitt said. “But, I couldn’t be more proud of how they competed, the effort they gave in every match and the character they showed on and off the mat. Finishing the season with six state placers is no small feat, but having them not finish where they wanted will keep them hungry for next season.”
The state tournament was the last tournament for Temperance Mickelson, Steed, Alex Nicholson and Kerry and Kelly Powell.
Going into the off-season, DeWitt said the Bulldog wrestlers will compete in a couple of tournaments to get ready for next season. Lovell will compete at the WAWA Junior State Tournament this Saturday in Sheridan and at the Montana Open in Billings on March 30-31.
The Bulldogs will host a wrestling camp June 7-8. Coming to lead the camp will be Olympic gold and bronze medalist Rulon Gardner.
By Sam Smith