Puncher wrestlers dominate Carbon County
Boys secure gold, girls take third
HANNA – The Big Piney High School Puncher boys’ wrestling team captured first place at the Carbon County Invitational hosted by Hanna-Elk Mountain High School on Friday, Feb. 10, tallying 136.50 points.
The runner-up, Saratoga, came in a distant second at 80 points.
The Lady Punchers wrestling team earned third place with 13 team points.
“The Punchers wrestled very well this week, winning the tournament,” said Head Coach Cole Clifford. “We had Dominic Sanchez, Bradley Rodda, David Farrington, Brandon Jones and Zack Murphy all earn championships. It was good to see four teams from eastern Wyoming and see where we stack up with them. There are some great wrestlers in the east, and I felt we competed very well. We also learned what we need to do to improve and get better going into Regionals.”
Big Piney traveled to Mountain View on Tuesday, Feb. 7, for a duel against the Buffaloes and the Punchers scored a resounding 45-21 victory.
“Judah Farrington started the night with a win,” said Clifford. “That set the tone for the night. Brandon Jones had a huge win, bumping up in weight to earn a close 4-3 win versus a ranked 3A opponent.”
Carbon County girls’ tournament
Senior Enna Coote snagged second place at 155 pounds. She pinned Elyse Richards, of Lusk in Niobrara County, 56 seconds into the semifinal match.
Senior Esther Van Grol bagged second place in the 190-pound bracket following two close matches against Glenrock’s Danika Harris.
Senior Brynne Hoffman and freshman Catie Langlois finished third in their respective brackets.
“The girls will compete in an all-girls meet Thursday in Lyman,” said Coach Clifford. “It will be a large meet and will allow them to see girls they have not seen yet this year. I love how the (Big Piney) girls have been improving each week and we look forward to State.”
Carbon County boys’ tournament
Battling his way through the 160-pound bracket, Jones went on to win the championship. He pinned Glenrock’s Luke Lythgoe with 47 seconds remaining in the first period of the quarterfinal match. Progressing to the semifinals, Jones defeated Isaac Newbury, of Niobrara County, by fall at 1:06.
Squaring off against Glenrock’s Dusty Cox in the final match, Jones pinned his opponent with 2 seconds left in the first period.
Rodda bagged first place at 132 pounds. He quickly pinned Glenrock’s Manny Coulter at 33 seconds. The first-place match pitted Rodda against teammate and freshman Saki Meador. Rodda defeated Meador by fall at 46 seconds.
Meador took second place, pinning Manny Coulter, of Glenrock, at 1:10 in the semifinals.
Farrington picked up gold in the 152-pound weight classification. Farrington pinned J.D. Holman, of Glenrock, 59 seconds into the quarterfinal match. In the semifinals, Farrington defeated Lonnie Masopust, of Glenrock, in the third period.
Farrington and Dubois’ Siler Hess fought through three periods in the first-place match. Farrington pulled out the victory by an 11-0 major decision.
Junior Zach Murphy earned the championship at 220 pounds. He defeated Jaden Blackbird, of Wyoming Indian High School, at 2:49. Advancing to the semifinals, Murphy made quick work of Glenrock’s Max Coulter, pinning his opponent 20 seconds into the first period.
Murphy grappled teammate and freshman Zef Zuniga in the first-place match. Murphy won by fall at 1:40.
Zuniga placed second after besting Kort Bannan, of Niobrara County, midway into the first period of the semifinals.
Sophomore Dominic Sanchez seized gold in the 113-pound bracket. He beat Grady Longwell, of Glenrock, by an 18-1 technical fall in the semifinals. Moving on to the first-place round, Sanchez pinned Longwell at 1:29.
At 145 pounds, sophomore Caden Clifford earned silver, pinning Dubois’ Saven Smith 45 seconds into the semifinals.
Senior Braunsn Smith (152 pounds), senior Thomas Howard (195 pounds), senior D.J. Varela (182 pounds), junior Jerrett Feat (126 pounds) and freshman Nate Brown (120 pounds) all achieved third places.
Junior Roger Young, sophomore Travis Reed and freshman Judah Farrington each placed fourth in their respective brackets. Senior James McCormick and junior Clayton Mullikan each took fifth place.
The Carbon County Invitational wraps up the regular season for Big Piney. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams compete at the 2A West Regional Tournament in Cokeville on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 16-17. Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. on Friday.
“The (2022-2023) regular season was the best in team history,” said Coach Clifford. “Winning three tournaments, placing second at another and ending with a 10-1 duel record. We are looking forward to see how we do at the 2A West Regionals.”