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DOUGLAS — Wyatt Crane felt he had good control of Kelly Walsh’s Jared Warden early in their quarterfinal match on Friday. Then fatigue set in.

The talented Wheatland senior fell even with Warden in the second period of their 220-pound match at the Shane Shatto Memorial Invitational on Friday at Douglas High School.

“Towards the end you get a little gassed, get a little weight on you, then you start getting tired,” Crane said. “He came back and pushed it to overtime. There I just knew I had to keep my cool, keep my feet and know what I’m doing.”

Sudden victory started conservative from both wrestlers, as neither wanted to make the crucial mistake that would cost them the match.

In the end, it was Warden who stepped to Crane’s hip, right where the senior Bulldog wanted him.

Crane forced Warden off his feet and down to the mat, scoring the takedown for an 8-6 sudden victory decision.

And while Crane eventually fell by a disappointing 1-0 decision to Thermopolis’ Logan Cole, he remained confident against a loaded field that also includes reigning state champion Terren Swartz from Thunder Basin and Douglas’ Cody Pinkerton.

“You’ve got to come in knowing you’re going to face good competition,” Crane said. “Just come in, go out, compete and do your best.”

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Shane Shatto Wrestling Tournament
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Shane Shatto Wrestling Tournament

Crane’s quarterfinal win was one of many exciting finishes in Friday’s action.

Buffalo sophomore Jace Skovgard scored a pinfall victory in the second round over Thermopolis’ Jon Harvey when Harvey lifted Skovgard up and attempted a slam, only for Skovgard to shift his weight in the air and counter, taking the Bobcat senior to the mat and into a pin. Skovgard lost his next match in the 160-pound quarterfinals. That came just after Sheridan’s Quinn Heyneman tallied an impressive 4-2 sudden victory decision over Douglas senior Christian Coffman.

Coffman’s teammate, the aforementioned Pinkerton, advanced through to the semifinals with two pinfall victories. The first of which came against Cheyenne Central’s Tanner Martin. Pinkerton was frustrated by the length of the match because of Martin’s knowledgeable defense of the Douglas junior.

“I like to ride legs and he kept his legs away, so I’ve got to work on that,” Pinkerton said. “I’ve wrestled him a bunch in my career so he’s figured me out a lot and I’ve figured him out.”

Following Pinkerton’s final pinfall of the day, coming against Cheyenne East’s Zach Higgins, a noticeable applause came from the seated crowd. There’s very seldom a home-mat advantage during wrestling tournaments. However, the Bearcat felt a needed sense of urgency in front of his friends and family.

“No added pressure at all,” he said. “I think it’s a little more fun to compete in front of your friends who are always busy with basketball or something, so they can actually watch you and see why you actually like the sport.”

Drama unfolded at 145 pounds, setting up an interesting final day. Thunder Basin’s Warren Carr (14-1), Riverton’s Ridge Briggs (18-1), Sheridan’s Hayden Crow (15-3) and returning state champion Analu Benabise of Kelly Walsh (16-2) all advanced to the semifinals.

One of the more loaded weight classes, 120 pounds, did not disappoint either. Cheyenne East’s Amos Solano advanced on two pinfalls to face Alliance, Nebraska’s Paul Ruff, the top seed. On the other side of the bracket Glenrock’s Tate Stoddard won by pin and major decision to set-up his semifinal match with Castle View, Colorado’s Adrian Marquez.

Kelly Walsh junior Jace Palmer continued his tear through the Wyoming competition with two pinfalls at 132 pounds. He’ll face Castle View’s Randy Myers in the semifinals. Natrona County sophomore Cyrus Meeks also continued his strong start to the season with two decision victories, punching his ticket to the semifinals against Cheyenne South’s Mikey Fischer.

Kelly Walsh leads the team standings after the first day of action with 109.5 points, just ahead of rival Natrona County with 109. Cheyenne East isn’t far behind with 106, Douglas stands at 96.5 and Thunder Basin’s 94.5 rounds out the top five.

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Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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