Despite entering the 2019-20 season with just 10 wrestlers on its roster, the Mountain View High School wrestling team continues to hold its own, most recently at the Thoman Soda Ash Invitational in Green River last weekend.
The Buffalos earned a 42-30 dual win over Kemmerer to place third in the bronze division, highlighted by Mark Walker’s pin of AQ Martinez at 160 pounds.
Mountain View’s Bridger Harris had a tournament to remember at 182 pounds, earning a spot in the Best of the Best against Green River’s Payton Tucker. Harris went 3-0 for the tournament (5-0 with forfeits against Evanston and Kemmerer), but lost by pin to Tucker in the Best of the Best finals.
“It was a good weekend for us, overall,” said MVHS head coach Brady Thompson. “Bridger Harris made the finals for us at 182, so that was pretty neat for us. As a team, we forfeited a lot of points — we had six open weights. We only won the one dual, but I thought my boys competed well. They wrestled some tough matches.”
The Buffalos opened the tournament Friday with a 42-24 loss to Northridge, though Walker at 160 pounds, Carson Tims at 170 pounds and Harris at 182 pounds all pinned their respective opponents.
Against Rawlins later that same day, MVHS battled the Outlaws to a 39-39 tie, though the Buffalos were given the loss to forfeit tie-breakers. Tims, Harris and Walker all won their second match of the event; Kash Purser at 195 pounds, Trevor Condos at 285 and James Owens at 126 all picked up their first win of the day.
“Kash Purser is only a sophomore, and he normally wrestles at 182 pounds,” Thompson said. “I bumped him up to 195 for this tournament, and he competed pretty well. He only lost one match, and he was giving up 15-20 pounds to each kid he wrestled.”
Friday ended with a 64-17 loss to Evanston; Purser at 195 pounds pinned Red Devil Mayson Erickson for the Buffalos’ lone victory on the mat. Harris won by forfeit at 182 pounds.
On Saturday, the Buffalos’ Purser pinned Cokeville’s Connor Viehweg at 195 pounds, while Harris pinned Mike Cook at 182 pounds. Walker wrestled what might have been the match of the dual against Cokeville’s Wes Teichert at 160 pounds, losing a hard-fought battle 3-2. It was the second time this season the two wrestlers have met, with Teichert winning both matches.
“That was an exciting match — unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” Thompson said of Walker’s loss. “I talked to Mark after that match, and told him,’’If you take away a couple of those stalling calls, you win that match.’ That’s something he’ll have to work on moving forward. The next time he wrestles that kid, I think Mark will be a little bit more prepared. It will be a good match, but I think Mark will come out on top.”
Mountain View closed out the tournament Saturday afternoon with its only dual meet win of the weekend, 42-30 over Kemmerer.
The Buffalos are off to Vernal, Utah, for the Uintah Tournament of Champions this weekend. Thompson said his wrestlers did a good job of keeping in shape over the holiday break, and he’s looking forward to seeing what they can do in Utah.
“For a meet over the holiday break [the Green River invite], it was good to see the guys compete well and wrestle hard,” he said. “But like I was telling the guys at practice this week, now is the start of ‘the grind.’ It’s at this point of the season that it starts to really get tough, so the Green River tourney was a good way to break into this long grind of January and February.”