Twenty-one Bearcat wrestlers – roughly two-thirds of the team – will advance to the state championship in Casper on Feb. 26, after the team placed first in the 3A regional tournament last weekend in front of a hometown crowd.
Douglas placed first overall in the 3A northeast regionals qualifier on Feb. 19, scoring 245 points. Worland placed second, Newcastle/Upton placed third and Buffalo placed fourth, scoring 231, 121 and 85 points, respectively.
Bearcats Tanner Johnson, Blain Johnson, Christian Johnson, Nycholas Melchor, Luke Ewing, Keltan Ewing, Lane Ewing, Teigan Boyson, Rylan Wehr, Andrew Gifford, Jayden Archuleta, Kael Matthews, Ivan Diaz-Alvarez, Kagan Lenzen, Koby Case, TK Stinson, Kenai Bergquist, Kolby Parker, Grant Igo, Kyle Logar and Gage Iberlin will compete this weekend in Casper. They will fill every competing weight class except 152 pounds.
Eight wrestlers also placed first in their respective weight classes at regionals. Senior Nycholas Melchor (113), freshman Luke Ewing (126), junior Rylan Wehr (132), junior Keltan Ewing (138), sophomore Lane Ewing (145), senior Kagan Lenzen (170), junior Koby Case (182) and junior Kyle Logar (285) earned regional crowns for the Cats.
“I’m really pleased with how they did,” said head coach Bob Bath. “They’ve been working and training really hard, preparing all season for regionals and state.”
“They just believed they could do it.”
And they did it.
Worland, he added, had been ranked higher than Douglas “but the kids found a way to pull ahead of them.”
Throughout the afternoon, the Bearcats exhibited strength and confidence on the mat, determined to win their matches and earn a coveted spot at the state championship. Four wrestlers from each weight class across the four teams in the 3A northeast qualifiers advance to the 3A state championship.
Throughout the afternoon, the Bearcats emerged victorious from challenging, grueling matches.
Junior Kolby Parker, for instance, maneuvered himself out of a hold by Weston Simianer of Newcastle/Upton, winning the match by pin in the second period.
“Flipping him really made a difference. Otherwise I would have been stuck,” he said after the match.
“It feels like all the hard work we’ve put in throughout the season has paid off.”
Other wrestlers accomplished similar feats to get themselves out of sticky situations.
Lane Ewing, for his part, said the key moment of his match against Colton Woffinden of Worland was when he flipped his hip and achieved a takedown.
“I’m very confident we’ll go all the way,” he said after his match, referring to a state championship.
The 3A state championship kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Casper Events Center.