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Wolverines grapple to third at Class 4-A state tournament in Casper

Feb 24, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

CASPER -- T.J. Galey carried the Riverton High School banner all the way to the championship finals at the Class 4-A state wrestling tournament but finished second for the second straight year.

Galey lost a tight 1-0 decision to Gillette's Taylor Bigelow in the finals of the 170-pound class at the Casper Events Center.

Bigelow scored an early escape over Galey for the only score of the match. In the final seconds of the match, Galey was trying to get on the scoreboard, but the time ran out on the RHS senior.

Galey advanced to the finals of his weight bracket in a tight 4-3 decision over Haydn Rawlings from Gillette in the semifinals.

David Nichols was the last RHS wrestler to win a state championship. Nichols won his title at the 2007 state tournament in the 189-pound class.

In 2004, Greg Oldman at heavyweight, AJ Hill in the 215-pound class and Ryan Fabrizius at 145 pounds all collected individual state titles for the Wolverines.

In the team standings on Saturday, the Riverton Wolver-ines placed third with 148.5 points. Gillette won its 11th straight title putting up 322.5 points.

Cheyenne East finished second at 229 points. Casper Natrona was fourth with 141 points.

Galey's path

The Wolverine standout started the state tournament Friday with two straight pins to reach the semifinals.

In the opening round, Galey pinned Connor Martin from Evanston in a time of 2:24. Galey pinned Logan Followell of Cheyenne Central in 5:51.

Galey was the No. 1 seed for the state tournament after winning the Class 4-A West regional championship at Wolverine Gym in front of his home fans.

High finishes

Rudy and Beau Batista also represented RHS Friday night in the showcase semifinals.

At 152 pounds, Beau Batista pinned Laine Gunyan of Rock Springs in the first period to get the state tournament going. In the quarterfinals Beau Batista escaped with a 4-3 decision over Cade Noble from Cheyenne South.

In the semifinals, Casey Brown from Casper Natrona won a low-scoring 1-0 decision vs. Beau Batista.

Batista ended his high school career Saturday with a pair of victories to finish third in his weight class.

Rudy Batista collected two early pins in the 160-pound class to advance deep in his bracket.

Rudy Batista pinned Cody Farris from Cheyenne East just under two minutes. Batista followed up the opening round performance with another pin against Cheyenne South's Austin Dunn in 4:35.

Batista lost a 9-1 decision from Lukas Poloncic from Gillette in the semifinal to end his bid for a state championship.

He split his matches on the final day of the tournament to end up fourth.

Other placers

Riverton's Ahren Wempen had his sight on reaching the finals for the second straight year, but he lost 4-0 to Kris Miller from Gillette in the quarterfinals.

Wempen won three straight matches in the consolation bracket for an opportunity at the third-place medal.

Wempen blanked Carlos Salazar of Casper Kelly Walsh 7-0 to end the state tournament on a strong note. T.J. Turner added a fifth-place finish for the Wolv-erines at 138 pounds. Wempen's teammate Jacob Flescher was fourth at 220 pounds.

Turner won a double-overtime 3-2 decision thriller over Cody Frericks from Rock Springs in the fifth-place match. Tyler Allen claimed a fifth at 145 pounds. Riverton heavyweight Dawson Steeds was fifth

Class 4-A team standings

From state tournament

1. Gillette, 322.5; 2. Cheyenne East, 229; 3 Riverton, 148.5; 4. Casper Natrona, 141; 5. Cheyenne Central, 137.5. Evanston, 126.5; 6. Green River, 94.5; 7. Sheridan, 92.5; 8. Casper Kelly Walsh, 87 9. Cheyenne South, 73; 10. Rock Springs, 64.5 11. Laramie, 46.

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