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

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors bring home hardware

Tigner crowned 3A State champion in 285-pound weight-class


February 27, 2018


Warrior Morgan Tigner looks to the Worland faithful after winning the 285-pound championship during the 3A State tournament, Saturday, at the Casper Events Center.

CASPER - Things did not go as planned for the Worland Warriors during Day Two of the 3A State wrestling meet, yet, there was still plenty to write home about. The Warriors finished third as a team with 153 points, had seven placers, four of which earned All-State honors and senior Morgan Tigner wrestled his way to the 2018 285-pound weight class state championship.

"Overall, I'm proud of our kids an extremely excited how we finished. One positive after leaving the tournament is, we only have four seniors. Star Valley and Cody had 10 seniors each, we're one of the younger teams in 3A. Leaving the Event Center you always want to do a little bit better. It was huge to have those sophomores place, Luke Goncalves, a freshman, made the finals for us, so there was a lot of positives for us," said WHS wrestling coach Josh Garcia 3A East coach of the year.

To earn All-State honors in wrestling, a wrestler has to finish first or second in their weight class, basically, you have to make the finals. With four wrestlers in the finals, Adam Bankert, Alex Beck, Luke Goncalves and Tigner (his second All-State selection), the Warriors tied for second with Newcastle/Upton, with the most All-Staters. Star Valley led all schools with six selections.

Finishing third was a small disappointment for the Warriors but for Garcia ending the tournament 12 points shy of second place, Cody finished second with 164 and Star Valley won their third-straight 3A title with 267 points, is something for the program to build on.

"I know we really wanted that second place but 12 points is each guy winning one to two more matches. That's important and will be one of our selling points for next year. If you get everyone to place you're going to be pretty tough to beat. I'm still excited with how we finished in third place that's a huge accomplishment for our program. We'll still have to continue to work hard and we'll be ready. We have a good eighth-grade class coming in. We'll keep at it and see what the year brings," said Garcia.

Last season Tigner wrestled his way into the 220-pound championship, ultimately losing to Star Valley's Josh Dawson. Back in the finals again, but in the 285-pound weight class, the senior displayed a cool and collected demeanor.

Going against Torrington's Jacob Wamboldt for the title, Tigner got in an early jam but fought out of it, and from then on dictated the match until he was able to pin Wamboldt to close his WHS career a champion.

"It's always a little scary going into the finals, this year as a senior he just had that confidence that you really look for in your seniors. He knew what he needed to do and what he had to accomplish. Even though he got taken down there early in the match, he didn't let that bother his mental game, so to speak. He went back out and took him back down then ran a chicken wing. He not only got the win but got the pin in the finals. That's always huge to get a pin in the finals. We're proud of him and he's really excited about his state title," said Garcia.

At 120 pounds, Bankert finished second to Newcastle's Kale Corley losing by pin; 145-pound Goncalves lost a heartbreaker to Star Valley's Trevor Clark, 6-4 in sudden victory fourth period; 220-pound Beck went up against the defending champion Dawson and was pinned.

Coming up short in the finals is always going to sting but having four wrestlers get there in the first place is a testament to the strength of the Warriors program. And for Bankert and Goncalves, who will return next season, it adds fuel to the fire.

"From the coaching standpoint, I was ecstatic Friday night going back to the hotel. There's been years past where you don't get any in the finals and to get four in the finals, one being a freshman and the other a junior, it sets the tone for the expectations for next year.

"One of my coaching philosophies is always to find some positives. Talking with him [Goncalves] of all the wrestlers this week he was one of the select few who made the finals, as a freshman. You don't ever want your kids to be content with where they're at but I wanted him to take something positive from that. He wrestled a darn good match and was in it the whole time. He'll be exciting to watch for the next couple years," said Garcia.

Domanic Hartley, 113 pounds, (third), 126-pound Daniel Weyrich (sixth) and 182-pound JR Hofmann (fourth) were the Warriors other placers. Having to battle their way through the consolation rounds to earn their placements, Garcia and his staff were proud of the effort shown by their wrestlers.

"I was really excited to see Daniel and Domanic, after being upset in the finals, come back and place. Domanic was just a little hammer, the Star Valley kid beat him two or three times this season but Domanic came out and pinned him. For him to do that was great to see.

"Daniel trains hard and works hard, things just didn't fall into place for him this weekend. I hope he's not discouraged and knows that we're proud of him for fighting back for a sixth-place finish.

"JR only wrestled two years and for him to come home with some hardware is really neat to see. We're proud of all three kids that even though they didn't make the finals they still came out and got some placing matches and got some wins. It was good for them and the program," said Garcia.

Saturday was the final day of wrestling for Warrior seniors Beck, Hofmann, Hayden Johnston and Tigner, and they ended their careers having contributed to the Warriors third-place finish at state and a 3A East regional championship.

They also laid the groundwork for what could be a strong run for Worland wrestling in the years to come.


Another noteworthy achievement for Worland High School was, of the 16 officials who officiated the two-day state tournament, six were alum of WHS and the Warrior wrestling program. Those officials being Vinny Alcarez, Jared Leithead, Matt Miller, Bobby Wickard, Zach Newton and Lanny Schneider.


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