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

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors cruise through Pool A, advance to gold bracket

Worland faces Cody in first round at 8:30 a.m.


December 16, 2017


Warrior Luke Goncalves gets positioning over Rock Springs' Colton Davidson during the Battle in the Big Horns dual tournament at Worland High School Friday afternoon.

WORLAND - Day One of the Pinnacle Battle in the Big Horns dual wrestling tournament is in the books and the Worland Warriors stood atop of Pool A unblemished.

The Warriors defeated Buffalo 54-22, Rock Springs 66-12 and Lander 42-31 taking the top spot in Pool A and move on to the Gold Bracket to face Cody, Pool D's second-place finisher.

"What's impressed me is that our kids have the willingness to get out there and work hard every match. We've run into kids that we may not beat but they're going after it. They wrestle hard for six minutes and that's exactly what we want from them," said WHS wrestling coach Josh Garcia.

The toughest dual of the day for Worland was against Lander, the Tigers jumped out to 10-0 lead before Warrior Tristen Lungren (132) put his team on the board with a pin over Eli Mazurie. Hayden Johnston's (138) 7-0 decision and Luke Goncalves (145) pin of Jake Skinner gave the Warriors a 15-10 lead, but Lander was able to regain the lead, at 25-15, with a pin, decision and an open-weight victory.

With the dual hanging in the balance Warrior senior JR Hofmann (182) battled Brody Dempster in what was the best match of the dual. Dempster took an early 1-0 lead, but Hofmann was able to knot things up at 1-all going into the third round. In the decisive third round, Hofmann used a late scoring barrage to go up 6-1 and came close to pinning Dempster before time had expired.

Hofmann's win righted the ship for Worland as they grabbed 18 points from open weight classes along with another six from Morgan Tigner (heavyweight) pinning Mason Hutson.

"That's the type of effort we want. Those are the matches that you find out what each kid is made of, that was just good senior leadership from JR battling until the very end. Going into the match I knew it was going to be a tough one, but JR is just a great senior leader and I tip my hat to him. That was a huge momentum changer in the dual, we had lost the three previous going into that match. Often times it's hard to regain that momentum but getting that win was huge for us in the dual," said Garcia of Hofmann's performance against Dempster.

Added Garcia about facing a tough opponent in Lander: "Lander is definitely a good team, but we have to make sure we're battling in every match and that's why I like our tournament because we get so many matches. A lot of times kids aren't used to that and wrestling three or four matches in a day is a lot to wrestle but it makes us better."

Moving on to the Gold Bracket the Warriors have a shot at winning their home tournament, but for Garcia and his coaching staff the focus for today still remains wrestling in as many comfort zone-busting matches as possible.

"Like I've mentioned, you always want to get as many quality matches in as you can. We definitely want to win them but sometimes you tend to learn more from losing and wrestling in those hard fought matches. Overall, I was just very proud of the way the boys wrestled today and we're looking forward to a good day tomorrow [Saturday]," said Garcia.

While the varsity squad drew most of the attention Friday, the Warrior JV team's performance caught the eye of Garcia with their determination and hustle on the mat.

"As I mentioned [Thursday], our JV kids are doing a great job. Koby Tigner got a pin, Trey Wright got a pin, when those kids are able to battle that stands out to me. That's what we expect of every wrestler, no matter what level they are at," said Garcia.

The Warriors dual vs. Cody begins at 8:30 a.m. on Mat 1 at Worland High School.


The top two teams from each pool, who advanced into the gold bracket; Pool A – Worland, Lander; Pool B – Powell, Glenrock; Pool C – Douglas, Sheridan; Pool D – Rock Springs 1, Cody.

The first round matchups of the Gold Bracket, taking place at WHS, are as follows, Worland vs. Cody; Sheridan vs. Powell; Douglas vs. Glenrock; Lander vs. Rock Springs 1.

The Silver bracket matchups, taking place at Worland Middle School and beginning at 8:30 a.m., are as follows, Buffalo vs. Wheatland; Newcastle/Upton vs. Riverton; Thermopolis vs. Lovell; Rock Springs 2 vs. Pinedale.


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