Eleven wrestlers qualify for state

By Nathan Oster


Eleven members of the Greybull-Riverside wrestling program qualified for state at last weekend’s Class 2A West Regional.  Two sites were used with the boys wrestling in Shoshoni and the girls in Riverton.

G-R placed fifth in the 11-team field with 103 points. Kemmerer won it with 193, followed by Thermopolis with 178.5 and Big Piney with 156.5. 

“Our goal was to beat Lovell and we lost to them by just seven points,” said Coach Rob Nuttall.  “If we’d have won a few more in the wrestleback rounds, we’d have done it.

“We’ll just keep working and see how things go in Casper.”

The list of 11 state qualifiers includes eight boys and three girls.  

The boys include 126-pounders Jesse Brown and Bennett Sanford, 138-pounder Loomis Alexander, 144-pounder Reece Whisenant, 150-pounder Caiden Sorenson, 157-pounder Garrett Wiggins, 175-pounder Ty Strohschein and heavyweight Curtis Strohschein.

Tawny Bertolini (130), Gabby Dowling (135) and Elizabeth Holloway (140) will compete on the girls side.

Ty Strohschein was G-R’s only regional champion, going 4-0 and registering three pins.  His victory in the semis over Siler Hess of Dubois gave him an even 100 for his high school career, a milestone very few achieve.  He’ll take a 30-6 record to Casper, where he’ll be looking for his first title.

“He’s set up well for this weekend,” said Nuttall, adding, “He’s wrestling well and now the goal is just to keep the foot on the gas.”

Alexander and Curtis Strohschein also reached the finals in their respective weight classes, but came up short, losing by fall.  Alexander was beaten by Wiley Philleo of Shoshoni, Strohschein by James Love of Lovell.  If the state bracket follows form, both Alexander and Strohschein would have to deal with the No. 1 seed from the 2A East in the semifinals, just to reach the finals.  In Alexander’s case, that’s Trenton Sheehan of Moorcroft.  In Strohschein’s, it’s the unbeaten Christian Reilly of Hulett.

“Both of them did good things (at the regional), but it was little things that cost them, like they always do,” said Nuttall. “But they’re really close and we’ll be trying to make steps in this final week to get them over the hump.”

As for G-R’s other placers, Sorensen went 3-1 and placed third, while Whisenant and Sanford each went 3-2 and placed fourth. 

Sorenson’s only loss was to a wrestler from Thermopolis, who pinned him in the semifinals. Otherwise, he won one by pin, one by major decision and one in sudden victory and is set up well for a state tournament run, according to Nuttall.

Whisenant was one of the team’s most pleasant surprises.  While he’s had a strong season, Whisenant entered as a No. 7 seed. That led to a tough matchup with the No. 2, Caden Clifford of Big Piney, in the quarters.  Whisenant pulled the upset, winning 15-11, which set him on a course to place fourth.

“What a tournament he wrestled,” said Nuttall. “As the No. 4 from our side, he’s set himself up to have a great tournament.”

Sanford had to deal with a full 16-man bracket at 126, but the freshman navigated his way through it, placing fourth.  He lost to Aidan Miller of Wyoming Indian in the quarters, but then reeled off three straight wins before falling to Miller once again in the third-place match. 

Brown, at 126, and Wiggins, at 157, secured G-R’s other state berths, each of them going 1-2 in their respective brackets.  “Every win helps you as a team — and when you’re young like they are, just being able to punch your ticket to state is a big deal.”

G-R wrestlers who competed but ultimately fell short of qualifying included Ben Mendenhall, who went 0-2 at 132; Braxdon Patterson, 0-2 at 132, and Carter Peasley, 0-2 at 138.


In Riverton, G-R got a second-place finish from 135-pounder Gabby Dowling, a fourth-place finish from Tawny Bertolini and an eighth-place finish from Elizabeth Holloway.

Dowling won her first three to earn a rematch with Remington Aullman of Star Valley.  Dowling beat her at the Ron Thon, but Aullman evened the score with a first-period pin.  They could be on a collision course for a third matchup — but Dowling would first need to get by the East’s No. 1 seed in the semis.

“It’ll be a tough weight, but (Gabby) has shown that she’s a gamer,” said Nuttall.

Bertolini showed fortitude, too.  After dropping her first match, she reeled off four straight wins before dropping the third-place match. For the weekend, she went 4-2.

Holloway went 2-2 and placed eighth, but just being on the mat was a positive after missing the last month of the season due to injuries.  Nuttall said Holloway got a favorable draw for the state tournament is “excited to see what she can do,” adding that she’s “a dark horse” at 140 pounds.

Looking ahead to state, Nuttall’s goals are simple ones. “Be as good as you can be ... that’s it,” he said.  “We want everyone to wrestle to their potential.  If we can do that, we’ll surprise some people.”