UPDATED: Cheyenne wrestlers headed to NHSCA national meet

These 12 Cheyenne wrestlers will compete at the National High School Coaches Association tournament starting Friday in Virginia Beach, Va. The tournament is divided by academic standing. Continue reading

Burns-Pine Bluffs’ Pohlman pins his way to Bonanza title

CHEYENNE — Tyler Pohlman had a somewhat strange road to the finals of Saturday’s Bison Bonanza at Cheyenne South High School.

The Burns-Pine Bluffs wrestler was the only athlete in the 113-pound bracket with a first-round bye. He then face Cheyenne East junior varsity wrestler Anthony Green and pinned him in 50 seconds.

For the finals, Pohlman was paired up with Glenrock’s Tanner Kelley, a foe Pohlman had previously faced.

After a strange beginning to his day, the sophomore ended with some familiarity.

Pohlman picked the win in the championship match with a pin in 4 minutes, 24 seconds. He’s now beaten Kelley twice this season, both by pins.

“I had wrestled with him once before and I’d beaten him before – I pinned him in the first round the first time I wrestled,” Pohlman noted.  Continue reading

New faces bolstering East wrestling

First-year Cheyenne East wrestling coach Thad Trujillo was named Class 4A East Conference coach of the year after the Thunderbirds placed second at the regional tournament Saturday. Courtesy photo

The Cheyenne East wrestling team’s studs did just about everything that was expected of them in leading the Thunderbirds to a second-place finish at the Class 4A East Regional tournament this past weekend. The T-Birds saw sophomore Brody Cress (106 pounds), senior Lance Kailey (126) and freshman Tevis Bartlett (182) win regional titles. First-year coach Thad Trujillo — who was voted the conference coach of the year by his peers — also had six other athletes placed second at the meet and five more placed third or fourth.

That was expected. But a few other unsung athletes stepped up on contributed for East.

Senior Blake Hanzlik went 4-2 and placed fourth at 138 pounds. Freshman 132-pounder Dax Cathcart and freshmen 145-pounders Brandon and Dalton Mizel all went 3-2 at the tournament. Junior 152-pounder Josh Guillory and freshman Isaac Taylor (220 pounds) posted 2-2 records.
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East wrestling finds balance necessary

Cheyenne East's Luis Reyes wrestles against Gillette's Dani Provost in a 120-pound match up during a wrestling duel on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at Cheyenne East High School. James Brosher/staff

CHEYENNE — Kevin Curby describes his match against Gillette on Saturday about as briefly as you would imagine from a sophomore student just moments after a tough loss.

“I felt like it was horrible,” Curby said. “I just didn’t wrestle like I should have.”

Curby’s Cheyenne East wrestling teammates and coaches have other words to describe the performance. Continue reading

Pine Bluffs, Burns cross-country serves as uniting force for old rivals

The Pine Bluffs-Burns cross-country team of coach Cole Manlove, Lydia Schmidt, Sam Hanson, Jessie Soward, Austin Asay, Jessica Phillipe, Kyra Eby, Angel McFarlin, Susan Schmidt and coach Dustin Lee is not only winning on the course but changing how two rival schools view each other. Photo by Michael Smith/staff

BURNS — According to Google Maps, 18.8 miles separate the towns of Burns and Pine Bluffs via Interstate 80. For years the two schools have been rivals on just about every playing surface imaginable.

The conglomerate known as the Pine Bluffs-Burns cross-country team is looking to change that.

“We get along. We’re a good group. We’re good friends, we’re really close,” Burns junior Jessica Phillipe said. “We like to push each other in practice too so that helps.”

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Leonhardt hired to coach Cheyenne Central wrestling team

Cheyenne Central’s transition between wrestling coaches should be relatively seamless.

Bryce Leonhardt, who has been an assistant with the Indians the past four seasons, was hired to re-place fifth-year coach T.J. Castillon on Tuesday.

Castillon resigned to become the physical education department chair at Cheyenne South, which opens this fall.

Leonhardt, 26, lettered in wrestling at the University of Wyoming from 2003-06 and went 2-2 in his lone trip to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as a senior.

Central captured third in Class 4A this past season with three athletes winning state titles. The Indians have placed no worse than fifth the past three seasons after failing to crack the top 10 of the 12-team event from 2002-07.

For more of this story, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

More unpublished material: The wrestling edition

Much of the following state wrestling capsules made it into the print edition of today’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle. However, the “About …” section of each team capsule had to be cut so we could fit the remainder of our prep sports coverage into today’s paper. So here are the full state wrestling capsules for Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Burns-Pine Bluffs and Wheatland.

Class 4A
Cheyenne Central

Last season: Fourth place

Returning state placers: Six

Regional champs: 130 Leandro Arias, jr.; 145 Austin Breckenridge, jr.; 152 Bob Helmerick, sr.; 171 Hayden Jones, sr.

Other regional placers: Second, 125 Joe Baca, sr.; 160 Matt Spoon, sr.; Third, 103 Austin Vye, so.; 119 Bailey McHenry, fr.; 189 Taelor Prado, sr.; Fourth, 103 Mike Nelson, so.; 130 Logan Guidry, so.; 135 Chris Nelson, sr.; 140 Tucker Collins, sr.; 215 Russ Bowlin, sr.; 285 Ryan Kuster, sr.

Other qualifiers: 112 Alex Brown, fr.; 119 Tim Scherdon, so.; 125 Brayden Sosa, so.; 135 Dillon Karajanis, sr.; 140 Kendall Nuss, jr.; 145 Mike Hughes, jr.; 152 Ethan Birt, sr.; 160 John Beedle, sr.; 189 James Fossett, fr.; 215 Leon Romero, jr.; 285 Ken Rushing, jr.

About the Indians: Arias, Breckenridge and Jones all wrestled for state titles last year. Only Breckenridge walked away a winner, becoming Central’s first state champ since 2001. … Karajanis is wrestling with a broken left hand. He clinched his state berth by winning his first match at the East Regional in Casper. He defaulted the rest of his bouts but will wrestle at state. … Arias has lost just one match this season.

Cheyenne East

Last season: Sixth

Returning state placers: One

Regional champs: 215 Cheyton Vermillion, sr.; 285 Jacob Edwards, jr.

Other regional placers: Second, 103 Blaze Cress, fr.; 119 Jordan Puente, sr.; 189 Taran Triplett, sr.; Third, 112 Lance Kailey, so.; Fourth, 119 Hayes Stone, fr.; 160 Tanner Hinds, jr.

Other qualifiers: 103 Tanner Wickham, fr.; 112 Darien Briggs, fr.; 125 Kyle Rose, jr.; 125 Luis Reyes, fr.; 130 Blake Hanzlik, so.; 130 Trevor Brower, so.; 135 Isaac Gonzalez, fr.; 152 Nick Haller, jr.; 152 Corey Nelson, so.; 160 Christian Robinson, fr.; 171 Blaine Backman, sr.; 171 Brian Schaefer, so.; 189 Gared Krakow, fr.; 285 D.J. Doolin, jr.

About the Thunderbirds: East does not have an entrant in the 140- and 145-pound classes. … Edwards and junior Dalton Nelson are the only Thunderbirds to place at last year’s state. Nelson spent the winter dealing with a shoulder injury that eventually ended his season. … East coach Dan Ley considers senior 119-pounder Jordan Puente one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the tournament. He also thinks sophomore Lance Kailey (112 pounds) could make some noise.

Class 3A
Cheyenne South

Last season: First-ever state tourney

State qualifiers: 119 Erik Fair, fr.; 152 Tyler Colley, fr.; 171 Che Roberts, fr.; 189 R.J. Nelson, fr.

About the Bison: Fair was 2-2 at the Class 3A East Regional while Colley was 1-2. … Fair’s first round opponent is Wheatland’s Shawn Zavala, who was second at the East Regional. … Colley drew top-seeded Jimmy Seckman of Powell in the fist round. … South is the third-smallest team in the tourney. Class 2A Kaycee and Wind River only have three entrants each.


Last season: Fourth

Returning state placers: Four

Regional champs: 145 Tyler Smart, sr.; 160 Dustin Finnerty, sr.

Other regional placers: Second, 119 Shawn Zavala, jr.; Third, 189 Tyler Tillman, sr.; 215 Travis Jenkins, sr.; Fourth, 103 Jhett Eike, fr.; 125 Joel Dappen, jr.; 135 Dillon Cotterman, jr.; 140 Ceasar Zavala, fr.

Other qualifiers: 112 Chaz McAuley, so.; 119 R.J. Schmidl, jr.; 125 Layne Eike, jr.; 130 Andrew Blumer, jr.; 135 Ben Sanderson, jr.; 145 David Chesser, so.; 171 Quinn Zimmerman, jr.; 189 Chase Irvine, fr.; 285 Chuck Maike, sr.

About the Bulldogs: Dappen, Finnerty, Smart and Tillman all medaled last year. Dappen and Tillman were fourth; Finnerty and Smart were sixth.

Class 2A
Burns-Pine Bluffs

Last season: 19th

Returning state placers: None

Regional placers: Second, 215 Todd Baker, sr.; Fourth, 160 Frank Vossler, sr.

Other qualifiers: 112 Grady Mikesell, so.; 119 Trenton Culp, so.; Jacob Miller, fr.; 152 Travis Herrington, fr.; 189 Shawn Cole, jr.; 189 Adan Gandara, jr.

About the Broncs: Baker, Cole and Gandara have qualified for the past three state tourneys. … Baker and Gandara won two matches each at last year’s state to account for four of the Broncs’ six wins.

Coach’s corner: Dan Ley

Occasionally I ask coaches questions that I’m interested to learn the answers to, but have no intention of ever publishing their answer. Sometimes it’s to gain some insight into their thinking so I can ask better questions and write better stories down the road, sometimes it’s because I’m a gigantic sports nerd and am just interested in the answer.

Cheyenne East wrestling coach Dan Ley and I got to talking about the concept of “wrestling within one’s self.” Coaches don’t want guys to try things they’re not capable of, but they don’t want guys who are too passive and constantly lose matches because they’re too timid to try and take control.

So I asked Ley, what’s worse, a guy who is too passive or a guy that doesn’t know his own limitations? I felt pretty proud of the question when he doubled back and changed his answer mid-stream because I felt I’d forced him to examine something he hadn’t in a while.

A lot of it is learning to wrestle within your abilities and not outdo yourself. A lot of kids beat themselves rather than their opponents beatnig them.

I don’t know that I could rank one worse or better than the other. They’re both a detriment to an athlete. Probably being overly cautious will cost you more matches.

Then again, hanging back and being afraid isn’t good. We use a baseball analogy, ‘You can’t steal second with your foot on first’ with our kids all the time. If you don’t attempt, it’s pretty hard to score.

Maybe I’ll reverse my thinking and say being underconfident and afraid to attempt something is worse than actually trying. If we’re drilling and working on something, even if they’re a little bit under-confident to even attempt it or overconfident with it and attempt it, something good will come out of it.

You have to have a game-plan going in, know what your capabilities are, try not to do more than you’re capable of and go from there.

Prep profile: John Beedle

Beedle Mug School: Cheyenne Central


 Grade: Senior


 Sports: Football, wrestling and lacrosse


 Favorite class: I have my sports marketing class with Mr. (Chad) Whitworth first thing in the morning. It’s a great class that keeps me entertained and it’s a great way to start my days.


 Late-starter: I’ve played lacrosse since my freshman year at Upper Arlington (Ohio) High and in the two years since my family moved back to Cheyenne. This was my first year playing football and wrestling in high school. The wrestling coaches have been trying to get me to come out for the team since my sophomore year, so I finally decided to give it a shot my senior year. I always thought the sport was a little weird, but I decided to try it out and now I love it. Both of those seasons were more than I ever expected. I’ve gotten to know some awesome coaches and awesome athletes.


 Learning curve: The toughest thing about coming out for wrestling my senior year was getting used to the conditioning. It was way hard to start off with, but I got used to it.


 On my mp3 player: I usually listen to Eminem’s “‘Til I Collapse” before I wrestle. Before football games, I listened to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” (by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell). It’s an old song, but a really good one.


 Appointment TV: I have to watch “SportsCenter” every night and every morning before I come to school. I want to know how the Cleveland Cavaliers and Ohio State Buckeyes have done.