NHS grapplers compete in Hill City

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

The Dogie wrestlers had a slow week compared to their sister team as they participated in only one competition. Head coach Teigen Marchant’s crew traveled to Hill City on Saturday for a tournament there, where as a team they finished 10th out of a field of 21 schools. 


Casey Matthews, 132-pound weight class, clinched second place by the end of the day. He drew a bye to start the tournament, then won his quarter-final match-up by an 18-2 Tech Fall decision with 28 seconds to go in the third quarter.


Matthews then faced off against former teammate Trey Schneider of Upton in the semi-final match. The two Weston County grapplers have no secrets when it comes to their styles, but Matthews was able to prevail over Schneider with a narrow 5-4 decision win.


“It was a good win and a great confidence booster for Casey,” Marchant said. “It was a tight match all the way through, and Casey got a big takedown in the final seconds to come from behind for the win.” 


From there, Matthews was pitted against an opponent from Lemmon/McIntosh who came into the tournament with an impressive 39-8 record for the championship. Matthews fought hard, but fell to him by a 15-0 Tech Fall decision at 4:13 in the match.


Scott Larson (138) placed third in the tournament, being handed only one loss on the day. After drawing a first round bye, Larson pinned his opponent in the quarter-final match in 1:57. In the semi-final round, he fell to Lead-Deadwood by a 16-1 Tech Fall decision four minutes into the match.


That put him into the consolation wrestle-backs where he rebounded to pin his opponent in 1:42, then clinched third place with a 2:18 pin over Hot Springs. 


“Scott’s first round was perfect and went just the way we wanted it to go,” Marchant said. “Then he lost to a really tough kid, but he came back and finished strong.”


Noah Williams-Gardener (165) was the other Dogie to bring home hardware from the tournament, finishing in fourth place. Though the sophomore did not get a win on the day, he impressed Marchant with his performance.


“I was really happy with what Noah did after having only a couple months of experience wrestling,” Marchant said. “He has progressed so quickly in a very short period of time, he’s just missing some technique and conditioning that comes with experience.”


Charlie Bowles (113) had a tough first round draw in being matched up against Upton’s Haven Vrana, who came into the weekend with a 15-3 record. Bowles held out until the second period before falling to Vrana, however. He then won his next contest with a pin in 3:16, but dropped his consolation wrestleback round by a narrow 11-12 decision.


“Charlie has a lot of grit and a lot of try, but he just needs to build a little more confidence,” Marchant said. “He got into the second period with Haven, which says a lot because Haven bulldozed his way through the rest of the tournament.”


Thomas Prell (144), CJ Hardy (150) and Dane Crabtree (157) did not place in the tournament, however, Prell and Crabtree each picked up a win. 


“Dane is still really impressive despite his record so far. He is just a freshman and he went up against some really tough competition this weekend, including Cullen Davis of Upton. He is getting things figured out and I couldn’t ask for more from him at this point in the season,” Marchant said. “I also could not be more proud of CJ so far. He literally is three weeks into wrestling and he has more heart than anyone on the team.” 


For their only contest of the week, the Dogies will go to Wheatland on Thursday for a quad against the Bulldogs, Douglas and Rawlins. 


“I’m super excited to see Douglas again, and we haven’t seen Rawlins since early in the season,” Marchant said. “We will also get to see Wheatland for the first time this year, so I’m looking forward to getting an idea of what they do before regionals.”



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