Boys wrestlers take second, girls third at Bridgerland

Robert Galbreath photo Sophomore Charleigh Smith (top) grapples with teammate and senior Enna Coote at the Bridgerland Tournament on Friday, Feb. 3. Smith earned first place in her bracket and Coote placed third.

BIG PINEY – In a demonstration of grit, the Big Piney Puncher and Lady Puncher wrestling teams put in solid performances while hosting the annual Bridgerland Tournament on Friday, Feb. 3.

The boys team fought through bracket-style competition to secure second place, tallying 155.5 points after a full day of wrestling. The Punchers defeated Rock Springs, Cokeville, Jackson, Lyman and Mountain View.

The girls’ division also consisted of a bracket format. The five Lady Punchers representing Big Piney bagged third place with 35 points.

Both teams rose to the occasion at the Puncher Gym, said Head Coach Cole Clifford.

“It is always a little nerve-wracking when wrestling in a tournament in front of the home crowd,” he added. “We don’t get that opportunity very often. This week, we had a great tournament. I felt that we were able to control our emotions and wrestle with a purpose this week. We did have some setbacks and lost some seeding that will make it difficult at Regionals, but then we also won a couple of matches that will help us in seeding.”

Overall, the girls’ and boys’ teams demonstrated improvement on the mats, Clifford noted.

“I felt we did a nice job on our feet,” he said. “We have spent a lot of time in that area. We will need to continue to work on escapes. We have a tendency to rush those and earn the escape and get returned to the mat.”

Bridgerland girls’ tournament

Sophomore Charleigh Smith captured the championship in the 145-155-pound classification. Squaring off against teammate and senior Enna Coote in the semifinals, Smith pinned Coote in the first period.

Proceeding to the final match, Smith defeated Ashlee Tims, of Mountain View, at 4 minutes, 26 seconds.

Coote, senior Brynne Hoffman, senior Esther Van Grol and freshman Catie Langlois each took third place in their respective brackets.

Bridgerland boys’ tournament

Sophomore Dominic Sanchez bagged the championship in the 106-113-pound division. He pinned Garrett Redden, of Mountain View, in the first period of the quarterfinals.

Advancing to the semifinals, Sanchez defeated Rock Springs’ Kirklin Hay by fall at 3:04.

The finals pitted Sanchez against teammate and junior Jackie Meador in a match that came down to the wire. Sanchez and Meador battled through three intense periods that ended in a stalemate. Sanchez won in overtime by sudden victory.

Meador pinned Mountain View’s Garrett Redden 43 seconds into the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he defeated Nathan Beltran, of Rock Springs, by fall at 4:26.

Senior Brandon Jones earned silver in the 160-pound bracket. Fighting Kemmerer’s Grason Kelley into the second period of the semifinal match, Jones pinned his opponent at 3:28.

At 126 pounds, junior Jerrett Fear captured second place. Fear defeated Kasen Hill, of Lyman, by an 8-2 decision in the semifinals.

Junior Zack Murphy snagged second place in the 220-pound bracket. He pinned Jackson’s Rice Robinson with 40 seconds remaining in the first period of the semifinals.

Senior Thomas Howard came in third place in the 195-pound division. At 145 pounds, sophomore Caden Clifford bagged bronze. Freshman Zef Zuniga secured third place in the 220-pound bracket. Sophomore Travis Reed snapped up bronze at 285 pounds.

Freshman Canyon Schell, junior Roger Young, senior Bradley Rodda and junior David Farrington each took fourth place in their respective brackets.

Big Piney wrestlers travel to duel at Mountain View on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The boys’ and girls’ teams are back on the road for the Carbon County Invitational hosted by Hanna-Elk Mountain on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11.

“We look forward to this week competing in Carbon County,” said Coach Clifford. “It will be nice to see some of the teams from the east side before we head into Regionals.”