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RHS eyes top-three finish at state wrestling
Riverton's Rudy Batista, left, will be a No. 2 seed at 160 pounds for the Class 4-A state tournament Friday and Saturday in Casper. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

RHS eyes top-three finish at state wrestling

Feb 21, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Thirteen Wolverines are seeded for the tournament in Casper.

Riverton High School is in position to do some damage Friday and Saturday at the Class 4-A state wrestling tournament, sending 13 athletes to Casper as see seeded wrestlers

The top four wrestlers from the Class 4-A West and East regional tournaments earned the seeds for the state tournament.

After winning the 170-pound weight class Class 4-A West regional championship, T.J. Galey has a No. 1 seed for the double-elimination state tournament.

Dawson Steeds at heavyweight, Tyler Allen in the 145-pound class, Rudy Batista at 160 pounds and Jacob Flescher at 220 all are seeded No. 2.

Gavin Wilson and Ahren Wempen are in the No. 3 position at 120 pounds and 132 pounds.

"It's huge for some guys to have the seeds," RHS coach Jay Galey said. "I just love some of the brackets. On the other hand, there are a little tougher than others. Some of that is because there were some upsets on the other side."

Other RHS No. 3 seeds are T.J. Turner at 138 pounds, Beau Batista in the 152-pounds class and Casey Savage at 195 pounds.

"It's just think that it's time to have the state tournament," Galey said.

"We have had a good week of practice. They are about as tuned in that they can be and looking forward to some good things."

Riverton's Joey Ladd at 106 pounds, Kyle Page in the 182-pound division and heavyweight Ransom Slack are locked into the No. 4 seeds.

Wrestling at the Casper Events Center starts Friday morning. The semifinals are slated for 7 p.m., on the first day.

"Anybody that gets to the semifinals will be wicked," Galey said. "We know that once we get to the semifinals we will have to wrestle our best."

The consolation brackets and the championship finals will go Saturday. The finals are scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

"We have not physically killed them this week," Galey said. "It has been more getting them ready mentally.

We have tapered them off. I just expect that we will be at our best this weekend."

All-session ticket prices for the state tournament are $20 for adults and $14 for students.

All-day ticket prices are $11 for adults and $8 for students.

"Upsets do happen," Galey said. "If you don't believe that, then take a look at what happened at regionals. We have seen it more than once."

RHS prospects

Galey said he really likes Allen's and Beau Batista's bracket for the state tournament.

On the other hand, Wempen is in a loaded weight bracket.

"Ahren will have a tough guy in the quarterfinals, but it's also a kid that he has beaten twice," Galey said. "We also know that he is a fairly dangerous kid. We will have to be pretty solid from then on."

Three-time state champion Bryce Meredith from Cheyenne is in the same weight bracket as Wempen.

Meredith beat Wempen for the Ron Thon Invitational championship.

"Meredith is in a league of his own," Galey said. "Ahren is a super tough kid."

T.J. Galey's toughest wrestlers should come from Cheyenne Central and Gillette.

"I think that T.J. is wrestling as good as he has all year," coach Galey said.

Rudy Batista and Steeds should be fighting for a semifinal position.

"Rudy is a tough guy. He is mentally focused right now," Galey said. "Dawson is in a fun situation for him. He is a kid that has nothing to lose. I expect him to get after it."

Flescher has a lot of momentum for the Riverton Wolverines.

"The thing about Flescher is that he is one win away from beating anybody," Galey said. "He has some things that maybe are a little unconventional that people just can't prepare for."

Team race

After dominating the Class 4-A East regionals, Gillette is on track to win its 11th straight state title.

Gillette won six individual regional titles to score 305 points. Cheyenne East finished second (253). "I told the guys that it's about what they do," Galey said. "We are not worrying what everyone else is doing."

Casper Natrona won the 4-A West regional championship, and RHS was a close second after an audit of the scoring revealed four extra points for Natrona that reversed he initial outcome

"If everyone does their part, we will be right in the mix for third and fourth," Galey said.

Gillette and Cheyenne East are the two favorite teams for the crown.

"That is all because of depth," Galey said.

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