All the work the Evanston High School wrestling team has put in this season, and in the offseason, was all in preparation for the regional and state tournaments.
So, do the Red Devils still have room to grow?
“There better be,” Evanston coach Larry Wagstaff said. “If not, you’ve been wasting time all year.”
The Red Devils will host the regional tournament Feb. 16-17. Wrestling will start at 6 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Wagstaff believes there will be some tight matches in those two days.
“It’s going to be pretty close with the six teams involved,” Wagstaff said. “We’d like to do well and qualify as many kids as we can for the state tournament. There are teams that have good kids at all weight (classes). It’s going to come down to who can step up and wrestle.”
Wagstaff said he thinks there are advantages and disadvantages when hosting a regional tournament.
“Anytime you can be in your own bed and own house, it’s an advantage,” he said. “But there’s some disadvantages. There’s a lot of interruptions, but you just deal with it.”
On Saturday, Evanston competed in the conference duals. The Red Devils suffered a 51-18 loss to Kelly Walsh, but bounced back with a 37-34 win against Natrona.
“There were some matches that were really close,” Wagstaff said. “We wrestled hard.”
Evanston most recently suffered a 55-18 loss to Star Valley on Saturday.
Lyman takes first at Bridgerland Tournament
The Lyman High School wrestling team took first place at the Bridgerland 2018 Dual Team Tournament last Friday after claiming a 42-31 win over Kemmerer in the championship round.
On Saturday, the Eagles faced a steady dose of quality opponents at the Rawlins Invitational. Lyman claimed a 42-36 win against Cokeville, a 59-18 win against Hanna, a 56-9 win against Douglas and a 48-30 win against Rawlins. The Eagles had losses to Craig (42-36) and Torrington (54-27).
“Everybody wrestled well,” Lyman coach Travis Ayres said. “Cokeville beat us earlier in the year. It was a good feeling to see that improvement. Our intensity was also up from the last few weeks.
“We wrestled against a lot of great kids. Even if you go against those kids and end up getting beat, it gives you a good idea of what you need to work on.”
On Thursday, Lyman claimed a 51-6 win against Mountain View.
The Eagles will now gear up for regionals Feb. 16-17 at Lyman High School.
“It definitely helps having our home crowd here,” Ayres said. “Being able to sleep in your own bed is definitely a benefit over traveling and staying in a hotel room and having to deal with all the distractions that go along with that.”
The Eagles will also benefit from getting Roy Collins and Hagen Lamoreux back; both have been recovering from injuries.
Ayres believes the best is yet to come for Lyman before the State Tournament kicks off in Casper Feb. 23-24.
Lamoreux, who was out six weeks with an ankle injury echoes that statement.
“We’ve gotten a lot better with every tournament,” he said.
Now is the time to prove it, and the Eagles have talked about what they want to accomplish
“We’ve spent time talking about individual goals and what each individual wants to accomplish,” Ayres said. “If our guys keep working towards their personal goals, then as a team we’re going to be in pretty good shape. Even though it’s an individual sport, there’s a big team aspect to it. One kid can’t go and win state by himself.”
Mountain View still looking to improve
Mountain View High School wrestling coach Brady Thompson believes his team still has time to progress before regionals kick off Feb. 16-17 at Lyman.
“I feel like we can still improve,” Thompson said.
The Buffalos are coming off a 72-9 loss against Big Piney on Tuesday. Caden Stoll (138) and Swade Bindl (145) had wins for Mountain View.
Last Friday, the Buffalos finished eighth at the Bridgerland Tournament. Thompson was impressed with the performance of freshman Mark Walker.
“He really stepped it up,” Thompson said. “We had an injury at one of our weight classes, and he had to move to 152 (pounds). He had a couple of good wins for us. He was kind of a standout for me at that tournament.”
After hosting Lyman on Thursday, Mountain View will get ready to compete at regionals.
Thompson says having the matches at Lyman will give the Buffalos more of a home-court advantage.
“When I saw that on the schedule, I was pretty pleased,” Thompson said. “It’s almost like a home tournament for us. We’ll have a lot of fans in the crowd. I think that brings some good energy for our team. Hopefully that will motivate and inspire our guys.”