Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors place four at Rapid City Invite

 

December 12, 2017

RAPID CITY - Coming off their wrestling dual loss to Sheridan on Thursday, the Worland Warriors hit the mat again Friday and Saturday for the Rapid City Invitational. The Warriors ended the Invite on a high note with four Warriors earning places in their respective weight classes.

"They did a really nice job. It's just a good eye opener for those young guys going to that level of tournament with that high of competition," said WHS wrestling coach Josh Garcia. "We were one of the few Wyoming schools there and we were able to compete with those schools that had already been going for three or four weeks. It's a good tournament, it sets the tone for your season and when you get back in state it gets you ready to see where you compare to the Wyoming schools."

Sophomore 113-pounder Domanic Hartley (eighth), freshman 145-pounder Luke Goncalves (sixth), senior 195-pounder Alex Beck (seventh) and senior 220-pounder Morgan Tigner (third) were the placers for the Warriors.

Starting the season strong is never a bad thing and when you consider that the Warriors had seven total wrestlers in position to place, it shows how high the ceiling can be for this team if they keep at it.

"Any time you walk away from a competition as tough as that with four placers is just outstanding. We were only beat by one other Wyoming school, which was Natrona County. We placed 20 or 30 points ahead of Sheridan who beat us the night before in the dual. As a coach that says something to how tough your guys are.

"We wrestled very well and going into Saturday we had seven guys going in for weigh-ins. Usually, in our best years, we have two or three wrestling on Saturday. But anytime you get to weigh-in seven kids on that second day, I was pretty tickled and proud of those kids," said Garcia.

While it was a nice start to the season for Worland, Garcia and his wrestlers know there is more hard work to do. And it is work they are ready for.

"My message was that we still have a lot to work. Going to a tournament of that size and caliber really lets you know where you need to be. The kids always think I'm pushing too hard or being too tough, but then we go to a tournament like that and they're winning matches they should have won easier or lost a close one. And afterward they come up to me a say 'Coach we need to do this or that a little better,' that makes you feel good as a coach because they know they can be better and want to be better," said Garcia.

One of the Warrior wrestlers who just missed on placing was 126-pound sophomore Daniel Weyrich. After losing his first match to Huron's Daynon Huber by 3-1 decision, Weyrich won his next three by picking up two pins and a 6-4 decision. Ultimately, what kept Weyrich from placing was a 5-2 loss to Mandan's Will Kleinknecht.

"It's just tough to say when you're competition is at such a high level. I thought, outside our four placers, Daniel Weyrich wrestled outstanding. He's just a tough kid and was a round away from placing. His technique and conditioning have come a long ways. The competition in his weight class was really tough this year," said Garcia.

Having seen where his team can improve, chain wrestling and finishing will be the focus of this week's practices. And while they were among the better conditioned teams at Rapid City, conditioning will also be an emphasis this week.

"We never want to push our conditioning aside, we're in shape but we can be in better shape. I'll up our conditioning just a little bit more, but we will focus on chain wrestling where we go from one move to the next move without taking breaks. Finishing technique will be a focus too, we'd get in on a shot but necessarily couldn't finish it or we're on top and have a wing or bar arm series running and we can't finish it," said Garcia.

The Warriors big home meet, the Battle in the Big Horns, will be this Friday and Saturday. What Garcia wants to see most from his wrestlers is them being pushed out of their comfort zones.

"It was a great weekend and I am really proud of the kids. Now we have to get back to the drawing board and get ready for our home meet," said Garcia. "We're definitely going to push our kids to get ready. They're going to see eight matches this week. Hopefully, it's going to give some guys some confidence and they're pushed outside their comfort zones so they grow as wrestlers."

The Battle of the Big Horns will start Friday afternoon, but before that Worland opens the week with a 6 p.m. dual against Riverton Thursday night at Worland High School.

 
 

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