LYMAN – This week, the Punchers wrestled at the Bridgerland Invitational in Lyman on Saturday, Feb. 6. It was an eight-team duel tournament in which we placed seventh.
The Punchers were a little shorthanded again this week due to illness. We took nine wrestlers to the event.
Big Piney started off the meet losing to Cokeville, 54-12. In the second round, we lost to Mountain View by a score of 42-30 and then we defeated Saratoga, 36-33. We just gave up too many forfeits that made it difficult to overcome those lost points.
This was our best performance of the year, however. I was really impressed with how well the Punchers wrestled. We showed aggressiveness and poise on the mat. I really felt that we have gained some ground on Cokeville and Mountain View during the course of the season. I was impressed by how well the kids got into the duels this week. They were positive with each other and cheered their teammates on.
Positives this week included improved wrestling from the bottom position. The team is finally starting to figure that out. Athletes are not getting pinned as quickly and we are earning more escapes and reversals. It is exciting to see that part of our wrestling improve heading into the end of the season. Big Piney wrestlers also looked strong on their feet, earning a lot of takedowns this week.
On another positive note, everyone on the team earned a win this week. It was great to see everyone get success.
In terms of improvement, the team needs to keep working on the basics leading into the last week of the regular season.
Highlight wrestlers this week were senior Braxton Smith – he went undefeated in his wrestling with a 3-0 record. It was good to get him back to full strength after battling an injury the last couple of weeks. He looked great in his wrestling.
Junior Anton Vickrey went 2-1 in his matches this week. It was an amazing meet for him and he showed much improved skill.
Freshman Zach Murphy got a huge win for us against Saratoga that allowed us to hold onto the lead and win that duel. Zach was tied going into the third period and he earned a reversal and pin to get us the win.
Sophomore Wiley Smith also looked very good this weekend. He just keeps on improving each week and that is exciting to watch. For a second-year wrestler, (Wiley Smith) has really improved and we see a lot of positive signs from him.
Sophomore Brandon Jones wrestled the best he has ever wrestled on Saturday, going 2-1. He just keeps getting better and has a motor that does not stop. Jones earned a come-from-behind fall against a former state champion from Saratoga that was huge for the team in that duel.
The Punchers wrestle Mountain View on Tuesday and Kemmerer on Thursday. We are excited to finish the regular season on a high note.