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

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Warriors preparing for Pinnacle Bank Battle in the Big Horns


December 13, 2018

WORLAND - The Worland High School wrestling team kicked off their season last week with a dual in Sheridan on Thursday and the Rapid City Invitational tournament on Friday and Saturday in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Things did not go to their liking in either contest, losing 66-18 to Sheridan and only placing one wrestler in Rapid, Domanic Hartley. But the Warriors plan to bounce back this week, with a home dual today against Riverton and their annual home dual tournament, the Pinnacle Bank Battle in the Big Horns, Friday and Saturday.

As disappointing as Sheridan and Rapid went for the Warriors, the sense of urgency and motivation have picked up during this week's practice.

"The kids wrestled really hard and really well, and this is where we want to be at this time in the season," said WHS wrestling coach Josh Garcia. "The kids are getting matches in and they're tough matches. The kids are walking off the mat and they're angry, ambitious and want to learn more, seeing that reaction that's a good feeling on my end."

"We've had really good practices, Monday is our technique day, when we do a lot of teaching. There's not a lot of live wrestling and the kids were asking really good questions and eager to learn. That's what we want from our kids coming back from a high-caliber tournament."

At 113 pounds Hartley was the Warrior to place in Rapid, finishing sixth. The Rapid tournament is traditionally one of the toughest tournaments of the season for Worland, as they compete against over 30-plus schools from Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The Rapid tournament even had the nationally ranked No. 1 wrestler in the 126-pound weight class in Kyle Burwick from Hettinger/Scranton High School. Burwick will wrestle for the University of Wisconsin next year.

"There are times we can have a tendency to think we're better than we really are and tend to forget the four letter word, work. This time of the year we're just looking for our kids to come back, be hungry and be ready to work to get better. Dom [Hartley] was our only placer in Rapid City, but Isaac [Goncalves] and Peyton Woffinden were a round away from placing.

"It's such a competitive tournament with a lot of quality teams wrestling. It was neat this year, there was a kid there who's a true No. 1 in the nation," said Garcia. "Kyle Burwick was fun to watch and when you look at that, it shows how high of a caliber this tournament is and that's what we're looking for."

Having a good week of practice under their belt the Warriors are ready to go as they'll get to wrestle in their home gym all week long. Kicking off with a dual today against Riverton at 6 p.m. and the Battle in the Big Horns starting at 12:30 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, the focus for each Worland wrestler is to wrestle as many matches as possible.

The dual tournament format, as opposed to the traditional bracket tournament format, allows for teams to get as many matches possible for their wrestlers by setting up multiple duals against other teams. Rather than getting anywhere from two to five matches in a bracket tournament format, in a dual tournament a wrestler usually is guaranteed six matches and could be in store for more if they make the best of the best.

"Our expectations are for our kids to get a lot of matches in, that's the benefit of a dual tournament. Some kids can get up to six to eight matches depending on if they make the best of the best. Obviously, each individual wrestler we want to get a little bit better and do things cleaner and crisper so that we're better than we were last weekend," said Garcia.

Buffalo, Cody, Douglas, Glenrock, Lander, Lovell, Newcastle/Upton, Pinedale, Powell, Riverton, Sheridan, Shoshoni and Wheatland will join the Warriors in battling it out on the mat this weekend. While Garcia will use the weekend to get a look at some of Worland's 3A competition, he'll also use it as a means to better evaluate his team by seeing how their conditioning holds up.

"The thing I really like to see about this weekend is getting to see where our conditioning is at. A lot of people forget that for me I need to know if I'm doing too much or too little. This is a good opportunity to see if we are where we need to be or if we'll have to up the intensity in practice, or if we need to drill more or work on technique. We'll be taking notes this week to see where we need to improve and grow from there," said Garcia.


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