GLENROCK – The Tiger wrestling team placed fourth at the 2A Southeast quadrant qualifier last Saturday with three individual champions. While the brackets were small for all six of Niobrara County High School’s grapplers, each placed in the top three to qualify for the State Tournament.
Gabe Matthews (106) lost his first match to Lingle-Fort Laramie/Southeast’s Grant Logsdon but came back to pin Anthony Solaas of Hanna-Elk Mountain and Cale Mowry from Saratoga to claim third place.
David West (120) pinned Howard Bame from H.E.M. before falling to LFLSE’s Kaleb Brothwell in the championship match.
Sean Johnson (138) lost to Saratoga’s Slayd Daley but rebounded to pick up third place. He defeated Cooper Fauber of LFLSE and the Miners Thomas Wagner in a 12-1 decision.
Colton Coffman missed weight by two pounds, so he moved up to 132 pounds and pinned Charlee Solaas in 19 seconds. In the championship match, Coffman won by pin fall over Jaden Houk of LFLSE in the second period.
Miles Ashurst won his first match over Taylor Swartwood of LFLSE by disqualification and claimed his first-place finish as Glenrock’s Dusty Cox had an injury default in the 170-pound class.
Lusk’s only senior, Jasper Caldera pinned Joseph Borah of H.E.M. in less than a minute before taking the championship at 220 pounds. The tense match went three periods as Caldera won the 12-5 decision over Saratoga’s Quade Jordan.
The combined Lingle-Fort Laramie/Southeast squad outpaced everyone with 171 team points, followed by Saratoga with 154 points. The host team took third place with 146.5 points as NCHS scored 95 points and Hanna-Elk Mountain had 26.
The Tigers will have much deeper brackets at state if any want to wrestle for a championship. Matthews and Ashurst have 14 in their weight groups while the other four are a full 16.
Coffman is shooting for his second straight state championship while Caldera looks to improve on his fourth-place finish as a sophomore. He missed last season due to an injury and finished sixth as a freshman in 2018. Ashurst went 1-2 last season while the other three will make their debut on the big stage.
The one-day tournament will be at the Ford Wyoming Center (formerly the Casper Events Center) on Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. Full brackets and ticket prices are available at whsaa.org.