CASPER – The Wyoming Class 2A State Wrestling Championships didn’t go quite as planned for the Lingle-Fort Laramie High School.
The Doggers took 12 to the state tournament and only brought home three medals.
“The weekend didn’t go quite as well as we would have liked,” L-FL coach Brandon Gifford said. “I thought there were matches I thought we could win that we didn’t pull off.”
Seniors Joel Costello and Zane Rising and junior Jessy Valentine highlighted the weekend, medaling for the Dogger program.
Costello led the team with a third-place finish at 106 pounds, while Rising and Valentine ended up sixth in their respective weight classes.
“I was proud of our guys, especially Joel and Zane,” Gifford said. “As seniors, their goal was to get to the state finals and compete for a state championship. Those dreams got shut down pretty early on Friday.”
Both Costello and Rising saw their bid for a state title come to an end in the quarterfinal round on Friday.
Costello lost to Rylie Payne of Cokeville in a 9-7 sudden victory, but the 106-pounder responded with four straight wins on Saturday to claim third.
Costello scored a 11-2 major decision, pin, 6-3 decision and capped off his career with a fall over Southeast’s Grant Logsdon.
Rising was pinned in the third period in the 160-pound quarterfinal match against Lovell’s Myzek McArthur.
In that match, Rising tweaked a knee, but he battled through it with a pair of wins on Saturday morning to earn a shot at a medal in the afternoon.
“Zane took it upon himself to gut it out,” Gifford said. “I’ll give him a lot of credit. There probably aren’t many kids that wouldn’t be willing to do that. That was something he cared about and something he wanted.”
At 220 pounds, Valentine also medaled for the Doggers.
Much like the senior duo, Valentine lost in the quarterfinal round to Jonathan Hilder of Shoshoni.
“Jessy had a great weekend. He had a solid draw,” Gifford said. “His match with the Shonshoi kid the first time around was one of those that I thought we could get.”
Valentine picked up a pair of wins Saturday morning to earn a shot at a medal.
In the fifth-place match, Valentine once again met up with Hilder, and Hilder, for the second time on the weekend, pinned Valentine.
“He’s had a great year,” Gifford said. “He’s put a lot of work in the weight room to make himself a better athlete.”
Jaden Houk, Ty Prall and Landon Norris also picked up wins for the Doggers.
“You can’t undervalue an experience like that,” Gifford said. “We knew it would be tough coming in. Having them get down on the floor and having that experience of wrestling under those big lights was good for them. It motivated some of them to do some extra work in the offseason.”
As a team, the Doggers finished 15th in the final team standings with 57 points. Moorcroft won the team title with 203.5 points, while Lovell was second with 137. Shoshoni was third with 129.