Green River Star -

By Lillian Palmer
Staff Writer 

Wrestlers take state title

Bring title back after 13 years

 

Star photo by Danna Flores

Brendan Hopkins competes at the state wrestling tournament. Hopkins was one of five Green River wrestlers who were crowned champions at the tournament.

The Green River High School wrestling team wrestled to the top at the state championship this weekend.

Last time Green River took state was in 2002. It's been a long time coming for Green River, but the Wolves are back on top as state champions.

"It is so great for these kids, the program, and the community to be back on top again," head Coach Marshall Rhodes said. "Coach Hodges, Coach Hoopes, and all the wrestlers have helped the program so much and worked very hard for this moment and I am glad we could bring the state wrestling title back to Green River."

Green River took home first place with 228.5 points, followed by Campbell County with 200.5 points.

Rhodes said it seemed like half of the crowd at the Casper Events Center was filled with fans from Green River over the weekend,

"(They) were behind us all the way. It was very cool to see," he said. "It is wonderful to be in a wrestling community where the support is constant and everyone gets excited."

The community support helps the teams moral but it's the season's worth of work and practice that the team drew their strength from in each of the placements they received at the state championship.

"Going into the finals we all knew, including Cyro (Montoya), that a win at 106 would seal the team title and he took care of business winning by a major decision to get his second state title," Rhodes said. "The rest of the kids in the finals relaxed at that point and wrestled very well."

Montoya, along with Caleb Nathan, Gage Byers, Brendan Hopkins and Jordan Tucker, were crowned champions in their divisions.

"Brendan finally made the finals after getting third the last two years and capitalized," Rhodes said. "He beat the state runner-up the last four times they have met and definitely earned the state championship."

Shandon Welsh placed second. Welsh has been on the wrestling team for four years and was captain for two years. Rhodes said Welsh has been a very good wrestler for their program through his years of wrestling.

"I really wanted Shandon to win a title but the fact that he fell short of his goal certainly doesn't take away from the contributions he has made to this team and to this program over the last four years," Rhodes said.

Other wrestlers also did well for the team during State. Justin Flores and Kaycee Cochrane both placed fifth. Nathan McCann, Eric Clingenpeel, Blake Waite, and Dylan VanGieson all placed sixth.

"Dylan missed all of last year due to injury but came back this year and helped the team tremendously by getting 6th place in a very deep weight class," Rhodes said.

Wrestlers who also grabbed points in matches, aiding in Green River's State win were Dan Mondragon, Talbert Bowen, Jacob Mortensen, Ira Dickinson, Zack Orr, Chance Anderson, Russell Ferrell, Justin Rubalcaba, and Keanu Hill.

"Keanu Hill wrestled for the first time this year and did score 3 points to help us win," Rhodes said.

Star photo by Danna Flores

Cyro Montonya was one of the champions crowned at the state wrestling meet.

Wrestler Edgar Alatorre would have added to the point total for Green River for state as well, if not for sustaining an injury a couple weeks ago.

"These five seniors, along with Mikel Moser made some contributions to the program and are all part of this title," Rhodes said.

Nine wrestlers will return next year. Rhodes said with Montoya, Nathan, Byers and Tucker returning next year, they should be excited to improve, compete hard, and wrestle with confidence.

Rhodes said it was an up and down season for Green River. There were some weekends during the season when the team didn't compete to their full potential. They bounced back though, and won some very tough tournaments, he said.

"We peaked at the right time and they competed at the highest level they could last weekend," Rhodes said.

 

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