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

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors looking to keep building off second-place finish at Lander Invitational


January 25, 2018


Warrior Morgan Tigner battles Rock Springs' AJ Kelly during the Battle in the Big Horns on Dec. 16, 2017 at Worland High School.

WORLAND - Last week was a big week for the Worland Warriors wrestling team. After a 43-38 dual loss to Cody Thursday night, the Warriors regrouped in a big way by placing second at the Lander Invitational.

Trailing only Star Valley, who scored 257.5 points, Worland finished second with 141.5 points and bested rival Powell who finished fourth with 112 points.

Seniors Alex Beck (195-pound) and Morgan Tigner (285-pound) were the team's highest placers. Tigner finished first by defeating Star Valley's Hunter Cranney and Beck finished second, losing to Douglas' Cody Pinkerton by sudden victory 4-2.

The excitement among the Warriors for finishing second was prevalent, but there was also a bit of disappointment that Star Valley finished so far ahead.

"It was pretty exciting for us. I've been encouraging the boys to stay focused until the end. We have a good chance, if we can keep everyone healthy, to hit our ultimate goal. I know they were frustrated there, but I had to keep reminding them at state you can only score one wrestler. They [Star Valley] show up with 40 kids and that tournament they score every kid. We just need to keep working hard and showing up every day looking to improve and get better," said WHS wrestling coach Josh Garcia.

The Warriors turnaround from their dual loss to their second-place finish in Lander was the most impressive aspect of their week for Garcia.

"What stood out to me the most was Thursday night we dueled Cody and lost to them. Our main focus is to get pins, we're not real deep as a team but those kids we do have, if we pin makes a big difference. On Friday our focus was doing the little things right all weekend long and taking care of business. That's what we did, they showed up and wrestled tough on Friday.

"We had about a three-point difference between us and Powell. Then Saturday morning we kept up with the mindset of being pinners and the next thing I know I looked at my phone and there was about a 30-point difference between us and Powell," said Garcia.

Worland's strong performance on the second day of the Lander Invite could serve as possible motivation for the team, come time for the postseason.

"I told the guys, 'I don't tell you this just to tell you this, but when we pin we're a dangerous team. It's going to be the same thing for the state tournament, the state tournament is won on Saturday morning with those wrestleback rounds.' That's been our philosophy we want a pin to pick up bonus points in those rounds. It showed and helped us out in that Lander tournament, I was just real pleased with the kids' effort and how they wrestled," said Garcia.

On the Warriors schedule this week is the Bobcat Quad at Hot Springs County High School today at 4 p.m. Then Friday and Saturday the Ron Thon tournament in Riverton, which other than the state tournament, is the toughest tournament in Wyoming as most schools in the state attend the two-day contest.

Getting ready for the Bobcat Quad and Ron Thon, Garcia has made a focus during practice this week to put last week's performance behind them and prepare for this week.

"Now we need to move forward and not dwell on last weekend, continue to get better and try to reach our ultimate goal. We can't be satisfied with where we are at and the Ron Thon is another big tournament and challenge. I'm expecting big things out of this weekend, it's going to be a tough and really good tournament for us. We've been hitting it hard the whole month, we haven't been home one weekend this month, and we're looking forward to some good matches this weekend," said Garcia.

After this week, there will be three weeks remaining until the 3A East regional tournament, to which Worland will host. This is around the time when coaches want to see their teams start the process of hitting their peak; the Warriors have the look of a team that is starting to hit their stride.

For Garcia and his staff, this portion of the season is a balancing act to get their wrestlers ready for the postseason but also not to put unneeded pressure on them. This is why the Warriors will continue to fine-tune their techniques and, of course, keep conditioning.

"Regionals is definitely around the corner and it's on everyone's mind, so to speak. But it's also important not to get the boys too focused on it, we want to get them to peak at the right time. We have a lot to accomplish and get better at. I'd like to see us improve on bottom, we lost some matches last weekend off the bottom position.

"Not to forget about our conditioning, I'm a huge conditioning guy. I don't want to be satisfied with where we are at, I want to continue to get in better shape. I want our kids to go six minutes in a match and go like 'Wow, that was that bad.' I hate seeing when kids walk off a mat and look totally dead. I feel if that's the case I'm not doing my job and doing an injustice to these kids. I was to be in better shape than everyone else come regionals and state time," said Garcia.

Other placers for the Warriors during the Lander Invite included, Domanic Hartley, fourth, 106; Daniel Weyrich, sixth, 126; Luke Goncalves, fourth, 145; Peyton Woffinden, sixth, 170; Isaac Goncalves, sixth, 182.


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