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Tigers head into state wrestling after placing third
Lander Valley High School wrestler Isaiah Velarde, front, helped the Tigers place third in the team standings at the Class 3-A West regional tournament in Mountain View. Photos by Robyn Alexander

Tigers head into state wrestling after placing third at West regionals

Feb 21, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Third-place is right where Lander Valley High School coach Nick Fulton thought his team would finish at the Class 3-A West regional tournament Saturday in Mountain View.

Star Valley won the team crown scoring 265 points. Powell finished second with 258 points.

Star Valley and Powell are the top two teams in the 3-A.

The LVHS Tigers scored 149 points. Cody was fourth (145 points). The conference had eight teams.

"It's about where we figured to shake out in the team race," Fulton said. "I don't think that it was our sharpest weekend by any means. To be able to get third without our best performance is a good thing."

The Tigers are ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 3-A division.

Tiger placers

Four LVHS wrestlers walked away with second-place medals from the double-elimination tournament.

"We were happy to make the finals," Fulton said. "I hope that we come home with more state champions than we did regional champions. That is our goal. We need to wrestle well in order to do that."

Lander's Ben McKinney placed in the runner-up position at 113 pounds. Josiah Malasic finished third in the same weight class.

"We had both Ben and Josiah down to 113 pounds this week," Fulton said. "They both wrestled really well. We knew that they were going go down for a little while. We were hoping that they made the weight. It helped for our team. They both beat returning state medalists in the brackets."

McKinney will now be the No. 2 seed for state, and Malasic has the No. 4 seed.

"They put themselves in a good position at the state tournament," Fulton said. "We are excited about them."

Andrew Von Rein came out of the gates really sharp at regionals until he lost in the finals at 126 pounds.

"Andrew lost a close one in the finals that we would have liked to win," Fulton said. "I have a lot of confidence in Andrew."

Von Rein won a state championship for the Tigers last year as a freshman.

"He is a gamer," Fulton said. "He proved that last year. We have confidence in how he is going to finish out the year."

Heavyweight wrestler Kegan Wells added a second for LVHS.

"Kegan wrestled great this weekend," Fulton said.

Wells gained revenge on a Powell wrestler in the semifinals.

"He dominated him," Fulton said. "The Powell kid had nothing."

Wells lost to a Star Valley wrestler in the finals.

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