Jan 11, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorMatches started Friday afternoon, with the finals Friday afternoon set for around noon Saturday at Wind River High School.
Wind River wrestling coach James Cunningham is expecting 21 teams to compete in the annual Don Runner tournament Friday and Saturday at Wind River High School.
The tournament started Friday afternoon.
The semifinals of the double-elimination tournament start at 9 a.m. Saturday. The finals will begin around noon.
"We are always excited to host the Don Runner," Cunningham said. "It's a big kickoff after Christmas."
The Don Runner is seen as a halfway point of the wrestling season.
"This is what really starts off the tournament season," Cunningham said. "Before Christmas, we have more duals than tournaments."
The field will feature most of the powerful 2-A teams in the state.
Top-ranked Cokeville will be in Pavillion as a heavy favorite for the team title.
"We should have a good field," Cunningham said.
Lovell and Riverside-Greybull should be right behind the Cokeville Panthers.
"We haven't seen Cokeville yet this year, because they are in a lot of tournaments over in Idaho and Utah," Cunningham said.
Lovell is ranked No. 2 and Riverside-Greybull is No. 3. The No. 5 Shoshoni Wranglers also are in the tournament.
"Lovell and Riverside-Greybull are deep in a lot of weight classes," Cunningham said. "They have been coming off a lot of successful years, so they are usually pretty tough.
The Class 4-A Casper Kelly Walsh Trojans and Riverton High School will be bringing their junior varsity teams to the tournament.
"We are young and inexperienced, but we are making some progress," Cunningham said. "It will be exciting to see them get out in a tournament situation."
Wind River's Alex Collver started the season in the 160-pound division. The senior has moved into the 152-pound bracket for the Don Runner.
"Alex was just a little small at 160 pounds," Cunningham said. "At 152 pounds, he is going to be a little closer to the size that he should be. That is where he wrestled a lot of the time last year."
Cunningham wants Collver to be aggressive at the start of the tournament.
"When Alex is shooting off his feet and scoring in that first period, he is coming off and winning," Cunningham said.
Cougar sophomore Jack Noe is ranked No. 5 at 195 pounds.
"Jack is a sophomore coming out in his first year," Cunningham said. "Jack can wrestle with anybody if he comes out and is aggressive."
Sterling Baker from Dubois is No. 1 in Noe's weight class. Greybull's Spencer Redland stands No. 2. Baker and Redland will both be at the Don Runner.
"Sterling is really light in that weight class," Cunningham said. "I have seen some of the kids wrestle Sterling well. I think Sterling can be beaten because of that weight that he is giving up. The Greybull wrestler is a strong kid."
Wind River freshman Keanan Pfisterer will be making his debut this weekend at 106 pounds. Pfisterer has been injured in the first two months of the season.
"Keanan could catch some people if he can keep healthy and if he has his wind enough," Cunningham said.
Zak Rose is another Wind River wrestler Cunningham thinks can do some damage in the 113-pound bracket.
Rose is in the same bracket as Shoshoni's Connor Wilkinson. Wilkinson is ranked No. 5 in the state.
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