Red Devil grapplers edged by Green River

The Evanston High School wrestling team gave the top-ranked program in 3A all they could handle in the final home dual of the season Wednesday night, falling to Green River 36-33.

“It was a good match – we knew it was going to be close going in, and there would be some good matchups,” said EHS head coach Larry Wagstaff. “Green River has some pretty solid kids, and we wrestled them fairly tough in the middle, and then dominated them through the top half. It kind of went the way we thought it would go.”

The Red Devils also took time prior to the start of the meet to honor their seven seniors for their hard work and dedication to the program over the years: Luke Benton, Riley Kohler, Reece Overy, Ethan Reichenberg, Maya Saavedra, Carson VanGieson and Walker Wilson.

“All seven of those kids have been with us all four years – that’s quite a bit of time,” Wagstaff said. “When you graduate those seniors, you’re gonna miss them, not just because of the wrestlers they are, but because of the people they are and the relationships you have with them. Each one of those kids, I have a story about. Those memories will hopefully stick with them, as well. It’s not always about the wrestling.”

Junior Aiden Liechty – currently ranked second in 3A at 182 pounds – got the first win of the night for Evanston, pinning Green River’s Christian Balzly in the second round.

Sophomore Tarrin Haws followed at 190 pounds with a second-round pin of Jakob Lloyd to put the Red Devils up 12-0.

After Green River’s Deylin Miller halved Evanston’s lead with a first-round pin of Kadence Haines at 220 pounds, Carson VanGieson picked up the Red Devils’ third win of the night, pinning the Wolves’ Ethan Maez in just 35 seconds of the first round.

A forfeit at 106 pounds gave the Red Devils a 24-6 lead after five matches, though Green River would go on to win the next seven matches.

At 113 pounds, Kolby Hamilton lost an 8-2 decision to Spencer Wright, while senior Luke Benton wrestled hard at 120 pounds against Green River’s Axel McKinnon before being pinned in the third round.

“Luke battled a tough kid, and ended up getting hurt,” Wagstaff said. “That slowed him down a little bit. But that was a good battle.”

At 126 pounds, Walker Wilson lost an 8-3 decision to Green River’s Ryker Mele, while at 138 pounds, Kyson Hamilton lost a close 4-3 decision to the Wolves’ Kale Knezovich. Hamilton almost had a reversal at the end of the match, but ran out of time.

“Walker has wrestled that kid before, and we’re getting closer,” Wagstaff said. “So that’s encouraging. With Kyson, if he had started a second or two sooner, there would have been no doubt. But when things