Tiger grapplers sweep Senior Day quad

Barb Rapp/For the Lusk Herald Senior members of the Niobrara County High School wrestling program – James Cushman (from left), Camdon Fitzwater, Jasper Caldera – and their families during the Lusk Quad on Saturday.

LUSK – After a presentation to Niobrara County High School head wrestling coach Ron Nelson and his wife Holly, seniors Jasper Caldera, James Cushman and manager Camdon Fitzwater were honored in their final matches at Tiger Gym.

Against Burns/Pine Bluffs, Miles Ashurst got things started at 182 pounds with a pin before Blake Miller was defeated at 195. Caldera got Lusk back on top 12-6 but didn’t have a heavyweight so the match was tied again. The 106-pound class was open before Gabe Matthews began his NCHS career with a pin. David West (120 pounds), Colton Coffman (126) and Stanton Ricketts (132) each pinned their opponent for a 36-12 Tiger lead. Chris Hicks suffered an injury default in his season debut at 138, and Sean Johnson was defeated at 145 pounds.

The visitors closed the gap with an open weight at 152 pounds before Donovan Kruse lost his season debut at 160 pounds. Cushman untied the dual with his pin in the 170-pound class for the Tigers 42-36 win.

Glenrock looked to avenge last week’s close loss and started with a pin over Ashurst at 195 pounds before Caldera knotted it up at 6-6. Heavyweight and 106 pounds were both open, and Matthews had a bye.

West and Coffman upped the lead to 24-6 and Hicks was uncontested at 132 pounds. Ricketts was defeated and Johnson uncontested, as the Herders got within 36-18 at 152 pounds and a pin of Kruse at 160. Cushman made sure the final match wouldn’t matter with his pin, but Miller was defeated in Lusk’s 42-30 win.

Longtime SEWAC rivals Lingle-Fort Laramie and Southeast have combined for this season and gave Nelson another standing ovation, yet Caldera opened the final dual with a first period pin. Heavyweight and 106 pounds were open again, and Matthews was pinned in the 113-pound match.

Coffman lost a close 8-7 decision at 126 pounds, and Ricketts was pinned as the Tigers found themselves trailing 15-12. Hicks and Johnson each earned pins and Kruse was open for their first wins of the season and the Tigers led 30-15. Cushman finished the day unbeaten and Miller was uncontested before Ashurst took a hard-fought 8-6 decision, helping the Tigers to the 45-15 win and 3-0 record on the day.

The 5-1 Tigers are off until Jan. 8, 2021 when they travel to the Glenrock quad.

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