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Experienced RHS wrestling team has high expectations
Riverton High School wrestler Dawson Steeds lifted teammate Ahren Wempen during practice Thursday afternoon at the Tonkin Activities Center. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

Experienced RHS wrestling team has high expectations for coming season

Nov 16, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Riverton High School wrestling coach Jay Galey has had a front row seat the last couple of years as his Wolverines climb the ladder in the Class 4-A ranks.

RHS started out four years ago with one of the youngest teams in the state.

Now, Galey is working with a senior-laden team. The RHS coach said his expectations entering the 2012-13 season are high.

"It will be terribly disappointing if we are not very successful this year," said Galey Friday morning.

The Wolverines opened their first practice of the year Monday.

"I think that team-wise we could be successful, and I think that individually we are going to be successful," Galey said. "It just comes down to who wants it the most."

RHS won a number of duals last season and sent three wrestlers to the finals of the state tournament.

Ahren Wempen (126 pounds), Rudy Batista (152) and T.J. Galey (170) all came in second at state. All three return as senior leaders for the Wolverines.

"Some of these guys have been thrown to the dogs since they were freshmen," Galey said. "They have just become better and better. Some of them got a sniff of the state finals last year. Once you have experienced that you get pretty hungry to get back to that."

The Wolverines finished fifth in the 2012 team standings at the 4-A state tournament. Gillette won its 10th straight state title in Casper.

"We are a little bit up this year in a few weight classes," Galey said. "Hopefully, we can get the right guys in the right spots. If we can do that then that will allow us to have some pretty good depth. That will be huge for us."

Veterans return

Wempen, Galey, Rudy Batista, Beau Batista and junior Gavin Wilson attended the J. Robinson Intensive 28-day wrestling camp in Minneapolis, Minn., last summer.

"We also went down to the University of Wyoming for a 10-day camp," Galey said.

Dawson Steeds and Lane Savage are two other seniors who should be in the lineup in the upper weights.

"They have been in the weight room," Galey said. "I don't think that at this point you could ask any more from them."

RHS seniors Joey Roseno and Brodi Hart don't have a lot wrestling experience.

"I think all the seniors will all bring something to the table," Galey said. "We have a couple of seniors that are inexperienced. They are quality kids."

Last year was the first time Roseno went out for high school wrestling.

"I could see a difference in Joey in the practice room already," Galey said. "He just looks like that he is a lot more comfortable with what we are doing."

Hart is a newcomer to wrestling.

"He has never wrestled before, but the guy has been working hard," Galey said.

Schedule highlights

The Wolverines will be on the road for the entire month of December. Their home opener isn't until Jan. 25 vs. Cody.

"We are the road so much anyway that I really think that we are better on the road," Galey said.

RHS opens the season Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at the Evanston Invitational.

"Our schedule is just incredibly tough," Galey said.

RHS will send half the team to Rapid City, S.D., and the other members to the Worland tourney Dec. 7-8.

"The Rapid City tournament is super tough," Galey said. "We are in the situation that we will have to be ready early. The thing that I like about that is that we have enough experience that we will be able to do that."

RHS wrestles in a tournament Dec. 20-21 at Lander Valley High School.

"We are going to be a little busier in December than we normally have been," Galey said. "It will also be tougher."

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