DOUGLAS — The annual Shane Shatto Memorial Tournament has always served as a benchmark event for Wyoming wrestlers. Along with the Charlie Lake, Ron Thon and state tournaments, it’s one of the four biggest wrestling meets that Wyoming has to offer. It requires focus, confidence and regained form out of the winter break.
Some wrestlers had more success than others in Friday afternoon’s opening rounds of the 2020 incarnation.
Few shined through Friday’s competition like Thunder Basin sophomore Seamus Casey. He started his day with a shifty third-period pinfall over Cheyenne South’s Gabe Trujillo before dispatching of his quarterfinal opponent with a first-period pinfall. Casey’s innovative pin to start the day helped set the tone for his weekend.
“He tried throwing a leg in on me and I was able to catch it and shake him off so he was high,” Casey plotted, “so I could just scoop the head into a good pin there.”
Trujillo provided enough resistance for Casey to troubleshoot some of his errors and move forward. Last year’s state runner-up at 106 advanced into the semifinals, setting up a tough match-up with Cheyenne Central senior Adam Roberts.
“It’s always nice to have a good match like that to get me firing for the rest of them,” Casey said. “I’ve got stuff I can work on right away and help me get better throughout the tournament.”
Casey wasn’t the only one receiving a confidence boost early Friday.
Wright senior Preston Seamands, for example, jumped out to a strong start with a second-period pinfall in his first match and then earned a tight 6-5 decision against his opponent from Chadron, Nebraska. Seamands held a significant points advantage in the opening match before finally securing victory against Douglas senior Charlie Koss.
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“On my feet I’m kind of quick,” Seamands said of his opening match, “so I just took advantage of my speed and took it to him right away.”
That helped give the returning state silver medalist confidence going forward the rest of the weekend. Confidence, especially in a tournament like the Shane Shatto, can’t be overstated. Just ask Natrona County junior Cyruss Meeks.
Meeks fell in a close decision to defending Class 3A state champion Ridge Briggs in Thursday’s dual against Riverton. He came to Douglas ready to flip the script and did so with a major decision and pinfall to start his tournament.
In what he called a “bounce-back” day, the returning state silver medalist took the first step toward putting the rest of his opponents at 138 pounds on notice.
“I’m hoping to get the most out of all my opponents and putting a beating down on them,” he explained. “After the loss last night I’m ready to come back and show people who Cyruss Meeks is.”
Meeks, while leading on points, then got caught in the quarterfinals and fell by pinfall to Thermopolis freshman Roedy Farrell.
Also falling in a quarterfinal upset was Sheridan junior Hunter Goodwin. His loss via pinfall to Douglas sophomore Keltan Ewing may have been more of a gut-check loss had Goodwin not been so upset with his slow start in his opening match against Laramie’s Fischer Hawkins.
“I just came out super slow,” Goodwin stated. “I’m feeling a little heavier. Bumped up a weight class and there was just a lot of head games in that first match.”
Goodwin now stands at 18-11 for the season going into the second day of the tournament, wrestling at 138 a year after finishing second at 120 pounds. Perhaps that additional leap in weight class proved too much. But the junior stated that he’ll continue discussions with coaches about the situation and he’ll agree with whatever decision they come to.
Meeks and Goodwin both shift their focus of confidence boosts onto Saturday’s consolation rounds while other standouts survived the field to remain in the championship mix.
Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans