Trappers scuffed up by top-ranked Mustangs

By Steve Moseley
Posted 2/6/20

The Western Wyoming Mustangs flexed their muscles as the nation’s best junior college wrestling team Saturday in Riverton, defeating Northwest College 38-6.

The teams moved their …

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Trappers scuffed up by top-ranked Mustangs

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The Western Wyoming Mustangs flexed their muscles as the nation’s best junior college wrestling team Saturday in Riverton, defeating Northwest College 38-6.

The teams moved their regular-season dual to the high school Ron Thon Memorial and wrestled for an appreciative crowd of some 2,000 wrestling fans who packed the Wolverine Gym to the rafters.

For the exposure the day afforded to the state’s best high school wrestlers, this was an opportunity not to be missed by the Trappers and Mustangs, who are coached by former NWC wrestler Arthur Castillo.

“They’re good, they’re definitely good,” said Trapper coach Jim Zeigler. “The outcome was certainly not what we wanted coming off wrestling really good at the Apodaca, but I didn’t feel we wrestled poorly. … They wrestled really confidently.”

“Hats off to those guys,” he added of Western Wyoming. “They’re No. 1 for a reason.”

Zeigler said the matches were competitive, though the Mustangs enjoy “a huge advantage over us right now that the fans in the stands may not see.”

The advantage?

“Their kids are way older than our guys,” Zeigler answered. “I’ve got three kids on my team that are 18 and the rest of them are 19 except Majid [Muratov, 23]. Maturity has a lot to do with how we match up with them. They’ve got five kids that are 22 or 23 years old; we’ve got one.”

The benefit of being four or five years out of high school cannot be understated.

“I look back and wonder what the 23-year-old me would have done to the 18-year-old me,” Zeigler said, chuckling, “it would not have been pretty.”

Western got the best of the dual, but not until the Trappers took a 6-0 lead behind Dawson Barfuss’s first-period pin of Mustang Dalton Stuzman at 125 pounds in the opening bout.

From then on it was all Mustangs, however. Trapper William Fish fell by major decision (17-0) at 133 and Van Bray dropped a narrow, 3-2 decision to Western’s 141-pounder, Kedric Coonis.

At 149, Mustang Joey Revelli decisioned Trapper Brady Lowry, 4-2. Northwest, open at 157, surrendered those six points to Western uncontested.

It was a 5-2 loss at 165 for Jate Frost. Porter Fox, who went to the mat at 174, was pinned; Tyson Carter at 197 came up on the short side of a 7-4 score; and Majid Muratov was shut out 6-0 at 197.

With the match outcome no longer in doubt, Zeigler declined to send brave but nowhere near 285-pound T.J. Frazier out against full-sized Mustang heavyweight Landon Brown in the dual’s last scheduled match.

Asked about the environment at the Ron Thon, Zeigler immediately answered, “Fantastic!”

“That’s the biggest crowd they will wrestle in front of all year long. It was good for us, good for our program” and for Western’s program, he said.

The Trapper coach was personally moved by something else, too.

“My wrestlers are walking all around the gym as [high school] coaches,” in addition to Western head man Castillo. Among the group were five former Trapper All-Americans.

“It warms my heart to know Northwest College has contributed to all those programs,” he said.

Zeigler said he thinks Western Wyoming and NWC will host another dual next year, but maybe schedule the competition for Friday night; “we don’t want to distract from the high school” tournament, he said.

This Friday, the Trappers visit Montana State — Northern in Havre and wrap up the regular season the next day at the University of Providence in Great Falls.

NWC will host the Rocky Mountain District tournament in Cabre Gym on Saturday, Feb. 22. The national championship tourney follows on March 6-7 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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