CASPER – The Niobrara County High School wrestling team capped their season last Thursday at the 2A State Championships. While the Tigers did not capture any gold, the celebration of head coach Ron Nelson’s 50th season with the program was the highlight.
Current and former Lusk wrestlers led by Jason Wasserburger – among many others – revealed special shirts to honor him and a short presentation was made. A well-deserved standing ovation was given by everyone at the Ford Wyoming Center.
Gabe Matthews (106 pounds) got the action started with a 7-1 decision over Shoshoni’s Ethan Tarango, but lost to Josiah Stockwell of Saratoga. In the wrestle backs, Matthews pinned Angel Barajas of Shoshoni and Jackie Meador of Big Piney. A loss to Lingle-Fort Laramie/Southeast’s Grant Logsdon moved Matthews into the fifth-place match against Wyitt Cook of Moorcroft, whom he pinned early in the second period.
David West (120) lost his opening match against Wind River’s KC Gibson but came back through the wrestle backs to pin JD Holman of Glenrock, Malachi Lane from Shoshoni and Seth Needham of Thermopolis. He lost to Wright’s Pace Garrett and Cokeville’s Micah Petersen for a sixth-place finish.
Colton Coffman (132) pinned Wyatt Mackey of Cokeville and took an 8-3 decision over Shoshoni’s Braeden Cash to move into the semi-finals. He was defeated by Wright’s Tyzer Isenberger but rebounded to defeat Ayden Kelly of Kemmerer. In the third-place match, Coffman lost by pinfall to Lovell’s Asher Nicholson.
Sean Johnson (138) lost to Ezekiel King of Shoshoni in the opening round but came back to beat Wyatt Allred of Moorcroft. Johnson was then eliminated by Saratoga’s Slayd Daley.
Miles Ashurst (170) had a first-round bye but was sent into the wrestle backs with a loss to Cokeville’s Matt Thompson. He rebounded with a pin of Lovell’s Ryan Nunn but eliminated by Moorcroft’s Hunter Garoutte.
Jasper Caldera (220) pinned Hanna-Elk Mountain’s Joseph Borah but couldn’t get past Lovell’s Rosendo Garcia. Caldera was then beaten by Thermopolis’ Jarek Sorensen to end the Tigers day.
NCHS finished 15th in the team standings with 52 points.