Tiger grapplers place 7th in home opener

2018-19 NCHS Wrestling: Donovan Kruse (front L-R), Renae Marker, Esmerelda Caldera, Camdon Fitzwater and Alijah Pavone. Dylan Molzahn (back L-R), Dmitri Richards, Pacen Gifford, Jasper Caldera, Chase Berens and James Cushman. Not pictured is Chris Hicks. Photo/Cory Griffith

On December 7th wrestlers from Eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle would gather in Lusk to open their High School wrestling seasons with the Lusk invite.  The tournament has been a historical season opener for area teams, but the once highly competitive tournament  has seen participation wain over the years and had lost some if its luster.  However with Coach Nelson and Coach Wiegel both working hard to ensure the future success of this tournament, for the first time in quite a few years, the attendance would be on the rise. 

The Tiger wrestlers would not have a champion, and would wind up 7th out of 14 teams overall, but there would be many positives that would come out of their first competition of the season.  James Cushman picked up some big wins for the Tigers.  The sophomore was inches from placing in his first state championships last year, and as luck would have it, his opening bout of the season would find him on the mat with the Hulett wrestler who knocked him out of last years state tourna-ment.  Maybe not as ready as he should have been, James would spot the Hulett wrestler 5 points before he got rolling himself, as the bout wore on, Cushman’s persistence would began to prevail.   With a crazy final score, James would pick up the win 24-20, to let it be known that he was not to be overlooked.  James would find two more wins and a 6th place finish.  

Another young man who announced his arrival this weekend was Dylan Molzahn.  The big fresh-man would start his year at 182 lbs, a weight that traditionally favors upper class-men.  Well that’s a tradition Mozahn has no interest in, as he would put on a great showing and garner 2nd place.  His only loss would come to Moorcroft’s state champion, Rowdy Pfeil.  Dylan would look a little outmatched against the Moorcroft star, but this is exactly the kind of match that the talented Lusk wrestler wants, and needs.  This was a chance to find out where we are, where we want to be, and to put into perspective what we need to do to get there. 

Other placers for the Tigers were, Chris Hicks 5th, Pacen Gifford 2nd, Dmitri Richards 3rd, Jasper Caldera 2nd.  

Over all the opening weekend was a great success, the wrestlers got valuable mat time, and had a solid performance, and thanks to a great group of volunteers the tournament ran smoothy and is on the rise.


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