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USA mat tournament draws 150 to fieldhouse

Mar 17, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Lander Valley High School wrestling coach Nick Fulton was busy Saturday at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.

After completing a successful high school wrestling season last month for the LVHS Tigers in the Class 3-A division, Fulton hasn't slowed down in the coaching department.

He was teaching the young wrestlers from Lander in the one-day Tiger Tough Folkstyle Tournament.

"The main thing is just getting the kids exposed to wrestling," Fulton said. "We are letting them have some success and some fun to prepare them for high school."

Fulton and Richard Atnip are the two top coaches for Lander's club.

Atnip is Fulton's assistant coach during the high school wrestling season.

Fulton served as tournament director for the event.

"We are pretty fortunate that we have a lot of consistency from our USA coaches to our junior high school coaches," Fulton said.

Lander has 75 wrestlers in its USA program this year.

"Our feeder programs are pretty big around the state," Fulton said. "That is pretty average for a school our size."

The wrestlers can start out at age 5 in USA wrestling.

"We have a few high school kids that are wrestling," Fulton said.

Fulton said Lander's 11-12 age group is the biggest this year in the different divisions.

"We have real large group from 10-years-old to the seventh grade," Fulton said.

The period times in USA wrestling are based on experience.

"Depending on age group, we are running anything from three-minute matches to six-minute matches," Fulton said.

The tournament Saturday drew 150 wrestlers to the fieldhouse.

Lander, Wheatland, Cody and Green River all had USA wrestling tournaments on Saturday.

Big Piney, Lander, Riverton, Pinedale, Powell and Rawlins all came to Lander.

Each wrestler was guaranteed at least four matches in one day.

Riverton wrestling

"We have a lot of pee wees this year," Riverton head coach Jake Briggs said.

"They have been real active and have done really well."

Riverton has competed in tournaments in Pinedale, Worland, Casper and Lander.

"The kids have done really well in each tournament," Briggs said.

The pee wees are ages 6 and younger.

"When we wrestled in Pinedale, they really cleaned house," Briggs said.

Riverton won the folkstyle and the freestyle tournament in Pinedale.

Riverton has 107 wrestlers on the team this year.

"We are really working on turning the kids into a shooting team," Briggs said. "We want good clean shots and takedowns."

Briggs said 50 of the wrestlers are in the 6-and-under division.

"A lot of them really like starting at a young age," Briggs said.

Other divisions for USA wrestling are bantams, intermediate, novice, schoolboy and cadet.

Riverton's tournament is April 12-14 at Wolverine Gym. The state tournament is April 18-21 in Casper.

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