Dominance on the Mat

Junior-varsity wrestler Edgar Diaz of Douglas runs a half-nelson on JD Holman of Glenrock in their match at Douglas High School on Dec. 10. Diaz won by fall.

Varsity and junior varsity members of the Douglas Bearcat wrestling squad sunk their claws into Buffalo and Glenrock wrestlers on Dec. 10, handily defeating both teams in their first match of the season.

Douglas defeated the Buffalo Bison 78-6 and the Glenrock Herders 72-12 in the triangular-style meet. The Bearcats confidently took to the mat at the DHS rec center and quickly showed their brute strength.

Some wrestlers did struggle to find their footing, as they entered an unusual new season beset by shifting guidelines and challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, but most did what they knew to do – win. Spectators were required to wear masks and leave the gymnasium between each of the three matches, so school district staff, including Associate Principal Justin Carr, could disinfect the gymnasium.

In interviews following their matches, the Cats dismissed any concerns tied to the virus.

“It’s not that different from last year. We just got to get out and compete,” said sophomore Kenia Bergquist, following his victory pin of Hayden Huyser of Glenrock. “I just tried to muscle him down; maybe I could have spun quicker around his back.”

The matches offered a stark display of physicality between the wrestlers, who are not required to wear masks during matches, as school sports programs in other parts of the country have been dramatically altered or suspended outright due to the pandemic.

Junior varsity wrestler Edgar Diaz also said he was glad to be back on the mat.

“This was my first match of the year, and I feel pretty good,” he said after his win against JD Holman of Glenrock.

“I tried to find his weakness, and get used to it,” he said between deep breaths.

Among other varsity successes, Keltan Ewing pinned Will Briscoe of Buffalo in 11 seconds, and Hunter McReynolds pinned Glenrock’s Jake Cozhiar in 18 seconds.

“I’m pleased with how they wrestled,” veteran head coach Bob Bath said, though he added that team members still needed to work on their conditioning and their technique this early in the season.

And, the younger wrestlers obviously have more areas in which they can improve than the older team members, he said.

Following the triangular at home, the Bearcats defeated Cheyenne East 34-33, Ogallala 61-18 and Casper’s Kelly Walsh 60-22 at the Charlie Lake Invite in Cheyenne on Dec. 12.

Douglas will next face off against Gillette on the road on Dec. 18.

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