Lusk Middle School wrestlers traveled to Burns on November 30th for the 2018 SEWAC Championships. Burns Coach Dan Clayson announced that with the addition of Saratoga to the league, and the overall growth in the sport the last two years, that this would be the largest SEWAC tournament to date. As the conference tournament got underway excitement and expectations were high for the defending champion Lusk Tigers. They would not disappoint, losing only one match of thirteen in the opening round, letting it be known that if your going to beat the boys from Lusk, you better be ready for a battle. So into the fray the Tigers would go. When the smoked cleared Lusk would crown eight champions, two seconds, one third, two fourths, and clearly stand atop a tough field to claim there second SEWAC championship in as many years. “These young men should be very proud of themselves. Wrestling is not easy from practice to competition it challenges your mind and body. The young men who represent Lusk have embraced those challenges, and for it they have earned the right to be called champions” -Coaches.
Perhaps Tony Nelson embody’s what is best about middle school sports. “Tony is a solid wrestler who’s had a tough year, he’s felt like he wasn’t wrestling to his potential and has struggled to find wins, but growth isn’t measured in wins and losses. So when he came to me before the conference tournament and said “I’m just going to worry about myself, I’m going to work my hardest in every position and if I win great, if not as long as I know I worked hard I’ll be just fine.” Every coach / teacher preaches that attitude ad nauseam, so when you here it might have finally got through, its amazing“ -Coach Stewart. Well, armed with that attitude, Tony would look like a different wrester, as he avenged losses to 2 tough opponents. Nelson would get to test his new resolve as he faced a defending 2 time SEWAC champion from Burns. Nelson would push the accomplished burns wrestler but would ultimately lose on the score board, but this time he would walk off the mat with his head held high knowing he had earned the respect of his competitor, but more importantly he had a new found confidence and self respect.
Another up and comer who wrestled a great tournament this weekend is Damion Pavone. Damion walked in the wrestling room last year with no experience, just a willing attitude, and a lot of hair, and determination, and he will finish this season a SEWAC champion. Now it doesn’t hurt that disguised underneath all that hair and smiles is a world class athlete, but all the talent in the world is wasted without having the commitment and discipline to develop it. Pavone put’s time in during the off season, he makes sure he leaves practice every day a little better, and for that effort he was rewarded with a gold medal.
For some this is the end of the season and they will get a well earned rest as the holidays approach. However for those who choose to go, the Middle School State Championships will be December 22nd. Lusk will take quit a few wrestlers to Thermopolis, where they will get a chance to see where we stack up amongst Wyomings top middle school wrestlers.