Dowling, Strohschein lead varsity charge at Ron Thon Memorial

Nathan Oster

Greybull-Riverside won individual titles in the varsity girls and JV divisions and all four of its wrestlers won matches in the highly competitive varsity boys’ competition at last weekend’s Ron Thon Memorial Invitational in Riverton.
The Ron Thon is up there with the state tournament in terms of prestige. Just about every wrestler in the state attends, and with a format that renders classifications meaningless, each weight class becomes a competition to determine who is the best of the best in Wyoming.  To the winners, go championship belts.
Gabby Dowling earned one of them for G-R, going 5-0 and winning the 135-pound varsity girls division.
Coach Rob Nuttall said it wasn’t just that she won — it was how she did it.  At one point in the finals, Dowling trailed 9-2 in a matchup with Remington Aullman of Star Valley.  Dowling chose top to the start of the second period, “settled in” and “developed a wouldn’t-be-denied mentally,” which ultimately resulted in a second-period pin.
Tawny Bertolini also competed in the varsity girls’ division, going 2-2 but not placing.
Ellie Holloway, the third member of the team, has been fighting an injury and did not wrestle, but is expected back soon.
 G-R took 13 boys to Riverton, entering four in the varsity division and the remaining nine in the JV.
Ty Strohschein was the only varsity placer, going 3-3 and placing sixth at 175 pound.  He beat the only 2A kids he faced and all three of his losses were to 3A wrestlers from Buffalo, Rock Springs and Mountain View.
“That’s a huge accomplishment — maybe not as big as winning it, but being the only 2A guy to place, at that weight and at that tournament, it’s very impressive,” said Nuttall.  “He did  some really good things.”
None of the other three placed, as 138-pounder Loomis Alexander and heavyweight Curtis Strohschein each won three and lost two while 138-pounder Reece Whisenant won one and lost two.
“Curtis and Loomis were just a round out (of placing), just couldn’t quite come through,” said Nuttall. “It was heartbreaking for them because they were so close, but again, just being competitive at the biggest tournament in the state and against the top kids at every single weight is something to be proud of.”
Whisenant went 1-2, beating a grappler from Jackson but losing to a pair of 4A kids from Cheyenne East and Laramie.
Just about every G-R wrestlers entered on the JV side won matches.
In addition to Caiden Sorenson’s win at 150 pounds, G-R also got a second-place finish from Bennett Sanford.  Wrestling at 126 pounds, the freshman went 4-1, with his only loss coming in a matchup with Zavier Clifford of Big Piney.
Nuttall said he considered entering Sorenson and Sanford in the varsity, but it worked out well as the two got a combined 11 matches in Riverton.  “Everything between now and regionals is practice and when we get to the postseason, that’s where it pays off,” he said. “The priority is getting them as much mat time as possible between now and then.”
Other JV wrestlers included Sy Schlattmann (0-2 at 126), Jesse Brown (1-2 at 132), Ben Mendenhall (1-2 at 132),  Braxdon Patterson (3-2 at 132), Carter Peasley (1-2 at 138), Garrett Wiggins (3-2 at 144) and Camden Schriner (2-2 at 190).
January was a rough month from a travel perspective, but that’s now in the rear-view mirror.  G-R will spend this weekend at home, hosting a dual with Moorcroft and Dubois on Friday and its annual memorial tournament Saturday.  The tournament honors the memories of the late Mike Seckman, Shane Rea and Lee Fawcett, all of whom are former wrestlers. Start times are 5 p.m. and 10 a.m., respectively.
After that, all that will remain on the regular season schedule are duals against Worland and Powell.
The Class 2A West Regional is Feb. 16-17 in Fremont County.