Alexander, Rosales top placers at home tourney

Nathan Oster

Freshman Loomis Alexander was the only Greybull-Riverside wrestler to reach finals while Caiden Sorenson, Jake Schlattmann, Erik Rosales and Curtis Strohschein joined him as placers at Saturday's Greybull Memorial Invitational at Buff Gym.

The tournament followed closely on the heels of a G-R dual win over Wright on Friday night.

Coach Rob Nuttall called it "a bit of an up and down" weekend for his team, which was lacking one of its top point scorers in 182-pounder Ty Strohschein.  The slightly-banged-up junior was held out as a precaution, with an eye on regionals coming up Feb. 17.

Friday night provided a highlight, as G-R rode contested-match wins by Schlattmann, Kevin Rosales and Alexander to a 42-28 win over Wright.

"We wrestled really well, won the matches we expected to win and won some that could have gone either way," said Nuttall.  While Wright doesn't have a big team, it bought some quality wrestlers, including 120-pounder Wyitt Knight.  Alexander beat him in the final match of the evening.

Dubois and Wyoming Indian also attended; their athletes matched up with G-R and Dubois wrestlers prior to the dual.    Cole Bolzer, Reese Whisenant and Strohschein notched wins for G-R in this phase of the evening. 

Saturday's tournament attracted 14 teams, nearly all of them from the 2A ranks.

G-R entered 12 varsity wrestlers.  Nine reached the quarterfinal round before losing their first.  Five reached semis, but of those five, only Alexander won, which left Sorenson, Schlattmann, Rosales and Strohschein to battle in the third-place matches.

Alexander was not able to run the table, losing to Knight in the final to place second.  The end came at the 1:09 mark.  "He wrestled a sound match — just got caught in a position we weren't supposed to be in," said Nuttall. "It was a good learning experience, though.  I'm hoping we can run into that match again."

Rosales captured G-R's only third-place finish, going 2-1 on the day.  "He's been that guy, quietly coming through for us by winning matches and scoring points," said Nuttall.

Sorenson's path to a fourth-place finish at 145 included a pin of Powell's Jeremy Harms, who had beaten him earlier in the season.   The freshman finished the day at 2-2.

 Strohschein wrestled well in his coach's eyes but found himself in a "loaded" heavyweight division that featured a couple of 2A's best in James Love of Lovell and Tucker Jensen of Wind River, who moved up from 220.  Strohshein placed fourth, going 1-2.

The luck of the draw wasn't on Schlattmann's side, either.  The Greybull senior, ranked No. 2 in 2A, shared a side of the bracket with 2A's top dog, Wyatt Trembly of Dubois, and Lander's Gabe Harris, who is ranked fourth in 3A.   Schlattmann beat Harris, 5-2, but lost in the semis to Trembly and in the third-place match to Tongue River's A.J. Moline (No. 3 in 2A) to finish 1-2 and fourth at that weight.

Looking at the day as a whole, Nuttall said, "We wrestled really well early on — in fact, before we got to the semifinal and placing rounds, we were sitting third as a team. But we had a hard time finishing in the tougher matchups.  We left a ton of points on the board — not having Ty in the lineup, having to pull Cole (Bolzer) because he was sick, Jake still battling injuries and not feeling 100%.  All of it affected our placing as a team."

Moorcroft won the tournament, scoring 269 points.  Wind River was second with 156.5, Wright took third with 124.5 and Thermopolis, with 121.5, and Lovell, with 115, rounded out the top five.

G-R placed eighth with 91 points.

"I definitely know we're a better team than how we finished," said Nuttall. He said he saw it coming, though, due to illness and injuries that caught up to his team. "Our highest number of guys at practice (last week) was nine and that was only one day; we had eight every other day."

Nuttall hopes that improves because time's running out.  G-R hosted a dual with Powell Tuesday night in Basin. Tonight, the team is in Worland.  And a week from tomorrow, on Friday, Feb. 17, G-R will be in Cokeville, site of this year's Class 2A West Regional.

The State 2A Wrestling Championships are Feb. 24-25 at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

Putting a bow on the annual home tournament, Nuttall offered a heartfelt thank you to all the school employees and volunteers who made it a success.  "It takes a village" to run a tournament, he said, adding, "We couldn't have done it without them."