Tuesday night wasn’t the most dramatic, or even enjoyable senior night for the Natrona County Mustangs.
With four seniors scheduled to wrestle inside their home Jerry Dalton Gym, three of them never saw the mat. Yahav Shraiber (195 pounds), Trevin Evenson (220) and Trevon Smith (285) all earned forfeit victories as Cheyenne South left those weights open. It paved the way for a decisive 64-9 win for the Mustangs and allowed the seniors to use their leadership skills.
“We’re just trying to do our best,” Shraiber said. “Just like in football, we’re trying to be leaders in the wrestling room and help the freshmen out because most of our varsity is freshmen.”
And they had the opportunity to do that early.
Freshman Dylan Brenton scored a pinfall at 126 pounds to start the dual and give the Mustangs a permanent lead. After wrestling in the junior varsity version of the Shane Shatto Memorial Invitational last weekend, Brenton started aggressive against South’s Pedro Silva.
Silva initially escaped when Brenton caught his left leg but couldn’t replicate that result on a second attempt. Brenton scored the takedown and a three-point near-fall before Silva squirmed back onto his stomach. Brenton turned him again and scored a two-point near-fall to hold a comfortable 7-0 lead after the first period. Out of the break Brenton scored the cradle and pinfall.
Sophomore Nathaniel Sausedo squared off with one of South’s top wrestlers at 132 pounds, Mike Fischer. Fischer, who took fourth at the Charlie Lake Invitational earlier this year, started the match aggressively and it cost him. He shot out for a double-leg takedown on Sausedo only for the Mustang to sprawl and gain shoulder control. Sausedo quickly turned Fischer around and held his shoulders down for the pin in just 31 seconds. The home crowd cheered while Fischer dropped his headgear in disbelief.
Then Cyruss Meeks, another sophomore, scored an exhausting decision at 138 pounds. Tasked with South standout Dominic Dominguez, the two traded takedowns early. Meeks scored another takedown to lead going into the final period. Dominguez, still trailing in points, nearly scored a pin by extending Meeks’ right shoulder back to the mat but the Mustang was able to escape and hold on for the final 5-3 decision.
Natrona County junior Hunter Weickum took an early lead at 152 pounds, scoring a first-period takedown. He continuously brought South’s Sam Lister to the mat but couldn’t put him away, eventually making the Mustang settle for a 9-1 decision.
Following numerous forfeits, Natrona County junior Bryer Benham scored a 38-second pinfall at 182 pounds. He and South’s Joseph Garcia circled each other until Benham scored a powerful takedown that put him in prime position to pin Garcia’s shoulders to the mat. By that time the team score stood 31-3 going into the heavyweight forfeits.
“None of us big guys were able to wrestle,” Shraiber said with a shrug.
Action resumed at 106 with a close first period between Natrona County’s Kael Johnson and Cheyenne South’s Sage Shrove. The two were tied at 2 before Shrove gained an advantage and went on a 5-0 scoring run. Shrove then escaped a potential pinning combination and countered with one of his own.
That was one of two wins for South, as Tyler Wilken was able to beat Natrona County senior Tristan Covault at 145 pounds. Covault was the only Mustang senior who wrestled on Tuesday and stayed in contention with Wilken until a third-period takedown added cushion. The horn sounded with Wilken up 6-0 and the Bison possible moments away from a pin.
Freshman Billy Brenton experimented with offense on his way to a second-period pinfall. He scored multiple takedowns but let South’s Aiden Gregory out if he didn’t feel comfortable with placement. Brenton took an 8-2 lead into the second period where he put the finishing touches on the match.
“I feel really good,” Brenton said. “I did a bunch of moves tonight that I hadn’t done before and I’m excited to use them again.”
Cole Wirtz ended the dual with a 5-1 victory. The sophomore and South’s Isaac Wood were both hesitant to initiate offense until the third period, when Wirtz was able to score a takedown. Wood was able to escape but couldn’t overcome the deficit before Wirtz’s takedown just before the horn.