SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – The Torrington High School wrestling team returned to the mats for the first time in the new year with the annual Bison Bonanza hosted by Cheyenne South High School on Saturday and a trip to Scottsbluff, Neb. on Tuesday for a dual with the Bearcats.
At the Bonanza, the Blazers went 0-3 with losses to Burns/Pine Bluffs, Laramie and Cheyenne South.
Burns/Pine Bluffs defeated Torrington, 51-24.
Torrington freshman Reece Grubbs opened the match with a fall in 1:19 at 113 pounds, but Burns/Pine Bluffs won the next three matches, including two by forfeit.
At 138 pounds, Michael Sandusky scored a fall victory at the end of the first period to put the Blazers back in the scoring column.
Burns/Pine Bluffs went on to win additional five in a row before senior Rhiley Grubbs and sophomore Sam Sorenson scored fall wins at 195 and 220, respectively.
Against the Cheyenne South Bison, the Blazers came up short of their first dual win of the season, 37-30.
Reece Grubbs and Sandusky picked up a pin wins, while Gabe Mitchell, Rhiley Grubbs and Sorenson got forfeit victories.
In the team’s third dual of the day, Torrington fell to the Laramie Plainsmen, 59-18.
Sorenson, Rhiley Grubbs and Hellus got victories against the Plainsmen.
On Tuesday evening, Scottsbluff got the best of Torrington 46-15.
“We are a younger team. (Scottsbluff) moved a lot of guys around to match up with our guys, but I was proud for the most part how we wrestled,” first year coach Cody Grant said. “We had a few guys that could have gone out there and did some different things, but we battled. That’s all I can ask for from these guys, especially the young guys.”
The Blazers were spotted a 6-0 lead after the Bearcats were open at 152 pounds, giving freshman Matthew Hellus the win.
Scottsbluff scored fall victories at 160 and 170 pounds.
After a double forfeit at 182, Torrington Rhiley Grubbs picked up a 3-1 decision over Sebastian Boyle at 195.
“Rhiley wrestled tough as well. He had a tough guy and battled,” Grant said.
Sorenson remained unbeaten this season with a third-period pin over Justin Ahlers.
“Sam is very tough,” Grant said. “He is solid. He hasn’t been threatened yet. He sets the tempo when we start at the upper weights.”
The fall proved to be the final win for the Blazers in the dual.
Scottsbluff rattled off three additional pins.
The night was capped off by Michael Sandusky losing a 13-5 major decision at the hands of future Wyoming Cowboy Paul Garcia, who is eyeing a fourth state championship this winter.
“There at the end, Michael Sandusky wrestled tough. That kid is going for a fourth state championship for Scottsbluff, and we battled to the end,” Grant said. “We gave up a few points that we didn’t need to, but even when you don’t win, if you have a guy that goes out and battles like that, it makes me happy.”
Torrington opens the home portion of the schedule on Saturday with the Blazer Duals. Burns/Pine Bluffs, Laramie and Hanna-Elk Mountain/Saratoga will take part in the quadrangular format event. Action gets underway at 10 a.m., and duals will be held at the high school and middle school gyms.
“We are excited. We’ll have some good matches in,” Grant said. “Some of these guys can get to their weights that they need to be at, spreading out the weights so we can fill in a few different weights to help with the team scores. Right now, we just need to look for, not necessarily wins and losses, but wins as far as competing and going out and working hard.”