Middle school grapplers take conference title

Posted 12/19/19

When the Powell Middle School wrestling team won the conference title earlier this month, it was a true team effort.

The Cubs edged out the Worland Braves by the narrowest of margins: 163.5 points …

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Middle school grapplers take conference title

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When the Powell Middle School wrestling team won the conference title earlier this month, it was a true team effort.

The Cubs edged out the Worland Braves by the narrowest of margins: 163.5 points to 162.5. Powell’s seventh- and eighth-graders were led by a half-dozen wrestlers who made the finals — including two individual champions in their respective weight classes. But head coach Juston Carter said the team victory was the result of many wrestlers’ efforts.

“We had our two conference champs and everything, but just kids winning one match — or even some kids that didn’t even win a single match but fought hard and kept from getting pinned and giving points away to Worland were all contributors to us being conference champs,” Carter said, adding that he was “really proud of the kids, how hard they fought. They definitely gave everything they had.”

Outside of the returning eighth-graders and some kids who’ve been with USA Wrestling, many of the student-athletes came into the season without any prior wrestling experience.

“[It was] a pretty new team and … they worked hard and got better every week,” Carter said.

Jimmy Dees and Chevy Hill each took individual titles at the Big Horn Basin conference meet, held on Dec. 7 in Thermopolis.

Hill, who is a seventh-grader, wrestled at 70 pounds.

“He actually decided to cut a little bit of weight to make it to 70 so we could fill most of our weights — and then he ended up becoming a conference champ,” Carter said.

Hill picked up a bye in his first round, won by fall over a Worland opponent in the semi-finals, then took a 6-0 decision over Lovell’s Zayden Stahl to win his division.

“He [Hill] was a big part of us being able to take the conference title …,” said Carter.

As for Dees, he also reeled off three straight wins to take the title at 175 pounds. The Powell eighth-grader beat opponents from Lovell and Lander by falls to make the finals, then defeated Lovell’s James Love with an 8-0 major decision.

Love had gotten the better of Dees at last year’s conference meet, so “it was nice to see him get a little revenge there,” said coach Carter.

At 110 pounds, Cody Seifert went 2-1 and landed in second place. He won beat competitors from Riverton and Thermopolis before falling 6-4 to Trenton Hubbs of Cody to take second.

Seifert’s strong performance was even more noteworthy because “he was pretty sick,” said coach Carter. “And he battled through that and was able to take second.”

Meanwhile, Case Bradish took third place in the 115-pound division. He defeated a Worland opponent, lost to a Riverton wrestler, then battled back to take down a different Riverton grappler. In the third place match, Bradish won by fall over Owen Vega of Worland to seize the bronze.

“He was at a pretty tough weight,” Carter said of Bradish. “But he was one of our good leaders for the season.”

Jon Harms went 2-1 to finish in second place at 145 pounds, winning by fall over opponents from Lander and Thermopolis before dropping a major 16-2 decision to Lucious Larsen of Lander in the finals.

Seston Shoopman went 1-1 to take second place in the 155-pound bracket while first-year wrestler Dusty Carter went 2-1 to take second at 165 pounds, beating opponents from Cody and Lander before losing a 6-0 decision to Ryan Watson of Riverton; Watson was “probably one of the toughest kids in the whole tournament,” coach Carter said.

With a bye and a win by fall, Kyle Calvert reached the finals at 275 pounds, where he took second place to Manning May of Lovell. Fellow Cub Nevan McDonald took fourth in that division, going 2-2.

Adam Flores similarly went 3-2 to take fourth place in the 220-pound bracket while Ruger Fritz (120 pounds) and Liam Atkinson (126) each went 2-2 to take fourth in their divisions.

Other Powell competitors in the A Division included:

In the B Division:

Leading up to the conference competition, the Powell Middle School wrestlers grappled at a home meet and then in Lovell, Riverton, Laurel, Montana, Lander and Cody.

With roughly 40 student-athletes out for wrestling this year, it was the largest squad that coach Carter has led — up significantly from 20 or so Cubs five years ago.

“The future for the Powell wrestling team looks pretty good,” he said, adding that in the USA Wrestling program, “There’s a lot of tough kids down there coming up as well.”

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