The Braves took to the mats over the weekend in one final big tournament before the State Championships this weekend in Casper. The Braves went just up the road a bit to Jackson as the ski city hosted the 4A West regionals for both the boys and girls which were each covered by SVI in separate gyms.
The Braves performed well, with four individuals taking home gold medal finishes while the team placed second, falling just shy of the Natrona County Mustangs by nine points by a team score of 246-237. For what it is worth though, it was essentially a two team race for best team score from the jump as third place was Kelly Walsh who finished with a team score of 169, a full 68 points behind the Braves for second.
The four Braves mat technicians who placed in first in their respective weight classes were Levi Byrd at 106, Bridger Smith at 120, Tel Parry at 126, and Grant Weiss at 170. Each of them as one would expect not only did their parts individually but were also wrestling conscious of the team scores as well, often attempting to cut and re-takedown opponents in the third period with large leads in order to go for tech falls and major decisions when the match itself was already won and it was effective as the men scored 21 (Byrd), 28 (Smith), 28 (Parry), and 22 (Weiss) respectively.
In a weight class by class breakdown we will start at 106 lbs where Levi Byrd, as previously mentioned, took home first place in the weight class by last defeating Tristen Tromble of Natrona County by decision 4-3 in a thriller that saw the final point scored in the final 13 seconds of the match. Byrd also took down Michael Stromberg of Rock Springs in one minute by fall in the opening bought and Dylan Sorensen of Kelly Walsh by a score of 13-2.
At 113 David Weiss represented the Braves and fell in Round 1 to another Weiss, Michael in this case of Kelly Walsh via pinfall after 1:19, then David received a bye in his first round of the consolation bracket. In Round 2 of the consolation bracket David matched up with Steven Henman again of the Kelly Walsh Trojans and again fell in defeat by way of his shoulders being pinned at the 1:49 mark.
The 120-pound class belonged the the Braves however, as Bridger Smith took home first place winning all three matches leading up to the finals by pin fall and every single fall taking place in the first minute of the match, while Caleb Morrison took second. Morrison won his 1st 2 matches after receiving an initial round bye via pin fall and then major decision to advance to the championship match where he conceited victory by a no contest to Smith.
126 was a very similar story with Tel Parry taking first place and his Star Valley teammate Malachi Patterson taking the runner up spot, once again thanks to a no contest finals. The 2 Braves put on a show too, racking up five combined wins before the non-match that would have been between them all five of which were claimed via pin with Parry getting all three of his in the first period of each match.
We also had a non-battle at 132 in the finals round, albeit in the third place match between two Braves as Paxton Wolfley was awarded third place in the class and Peyton Andrews went home with fourth. The two actually also found each other in the second round of the tournament earlier on in the day and that too was resolved with a no-contest but was awarded to Peyton Andrews in that first encounter, Peyton would then find himself joining Wolfley in the consolation end of the bracket one round later.
At 138 Cameron Kendall ended up taking second place and racking up 18 team points for the Braves as he defeated Jim Coxbill of Laramie by pin and then Kayleb Farris of Rock Springs by decision 6-4 before falling in the finals to Kelly Walsh’s Treyson Davila. Ty Thompson of Star Valley also wrestled in this class and won his 1st match before falling in Round 2 making the consolation semi’s where he lost to Kaleb Farris and ultimately placed seventh in the class.
Joesph Naef ended up taking third place and getting 20 team points for the Braves at 145 pounds, after losing to Jaxon Martinez from Kelly Walsh in the 2nd round he would go on to win 3 consecutive matches in the consolation bracket before meeting up with his previous tournament nemesis Martinez in the consolation finals and avenged his earlier defeat with a pin fall victory in the third place match. Lane Hunting also wrestled for the Braves in the bracket but went 0-2 in his first 2 matches and finished with his official placement unknown along with the rest of the first round consultation knockouts.
Porter Merritt also had a good showing for the Braves, taking a 2-0 lead into the second period of the first place match against Beau Russell of Natrona County but after selecting bottom position for the period he found himself trapped in a pinning predicament and ended up with second place but secured 18 team points during the event. Damien Burgess took home seventh place in the class for Star Valley as well after making it to the consolation semi’s and losing via pin with one second remaining in the period to Laramie’s Trenten Hubbs.
Star Valley also took home a silver medal in the 160-pound weight class thanks to Kooper Burk who defeated Jayce Berry from Natrona County in the semi-finals 12-11 in overtime then fell at the five-minute mark via pin in the finals. Tristan Jensen took eighth place after he lost in the consolation semi-finals to Jayce Berry in a much lower scoring affair than Berry had with Burk, with the final score being a relatively modest 4-1.
Jayden Kunz ended up taking fourth place in the 170-pound classification, heading to the consolation bracket after a Round 2 defeat to Natrona’s Tucker Sides and taking a pin fall defeat in the third place match to another Mustang in Nolan Honecker. Star Valley would get one back on Sides however as Tucker Sides made it to the first place match by the very end where he ran into Grant Weiss who took the match by a final score of 5-3 and gave Star Valley their fourth gold medal of the day.
At 182 Grant Thompson ended up losing by one point in a heartbreaker in the third place match, giving him fourth place in the class, but still scoring 11 team points in the process. Grant made it to the semi-finals of the main bracket before losing his first match as well to Kelly Walsh’s Andrew Bessey by pin fall in the second period.
Joesph Warren earned four team points and took seventh place at 195 pounds, pinning Kannon Ufford of Laramie in Round 1 before exiting the tourney two rounds later. At 220 Ryan Talbot made it to the semi-finals before being pinned in the third period by Natrona Mustang competitor Josef Sanchez, then Talbot went on to take third place in the final two rounds of the consolation bracket.
Finally at 285, the Star Valley heavyweights took home fourth and seventh place with Weslee Turner and Brysen Baster respectively. The state championship tournament will begin with the girls this Thursday and the boys begin Friday, the tournament will go through Saturday and you can catch audio coverage of the tournament right here on SVI.