Apr 14, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorRidge Briggs is making sure he has a future in high school wrestling.
The first step for the Riverton 11-year-old is learning the ropes in USA wrestling.
Briggs is not only figuring out the sport, he is quickly turning out to be one of the best ones in his division.
His talents were put on display Saturday during the Rumble at the Rendezvous tournament at Wolverine Gym. Briggs was one of almost 200 athletes in the field.
"USA wrestling is really neat because they teach you a lot of stuff," Briggs said. "They teach you not to cheat yourself when people aren't looking. They teach a lot of good moves."
Before the Riverton tournament, Briggs only lost once during the regular season.
"The competition has been pretty good this year," Briggs said.
Briggs is in the novice bracket. The other brackets in USA wrestling are 6-and-under, bantam, intermediate, schoolboy, cadets and juniors.
Briggs has been in five tournaments this spring for the Riverton club.
"I have wrestled like 16 or 17 different times," Briggs said.
His one setback was to a Casper wrestler in the first tournament of the season in Casper.
"We have had close matches before," Briggs said.
Briggs is in the final stages of his fourth season in USA wrestling. The Riverton club practices three times a week.
"We work on takedowns, shooting for the legs," Briggs said. "We don't try to train on head and arms."
The teams in Riverton this weekend are from Worland, Lander, Pinedale, Casper, Green River and Rock Springs.
"Wrestling is difficult," Briggs said. "It challenges you. I like it because you can make the choices on what you do."
The folkstyle tournament dominated the first day of Riverton events. Sunday will be used for the freestyle brackets.
The tournament starts at 9 a.m. Sunday at Wolverine Gym.
The admission price is $2. Results will be published next week.
Carey in USA
Lander Valley High School sophomore Kyle Carey hasn't stopped wrestling since the end of the high school season in late February.
Carey is one of the oldest wrestlers in Lander's USA club.
"Wrestling is my favorite thing to do," he said. "Every time that I can get out on the mat and learn more is just better."
Carey placed fourth at 106 pounds in the Class 3-A state tournament at the Casper Events Center.
"It's a tough season," Carey said. "It seems like it drags on, but at the end I just want more. I can't get enough."
The student-athlete said he was pleased with placing at the state tournament. Carey had a 34-17 record at the high school level, and he said he has learned many things on the wrestling mats.
"The biggest thing that I learned is that no matter how good you are you can lose, and that you need to keep striving," Carey said.
Carey said the competition in USA can be a little iffy from tournament to tournament.
"Sometimes you get the kids that have been wrestling for a while, or sometimes you get that eighth-grader or first-year wrestler," he said.
The LVHS wrestler is in the 120-pound bracket for the Riverton tournament.
Carey competes in the cadets division.
"My normal weight is around 120 pounds," he said. "Cutting down made it a lot easier for wrestling."
Carey thinks he has been nearly 80 matches this season.
"There are some tough competitors here in Riverton," he said.
Carey can't wait for the state USA tournament next weekend at the Casper Events Center.
"It gives you a chance to see what it will be like for the upcoming season," he said.
Carey said he is going to focus on attending wrestling camps this summer.
"I gave up all my summer sports for wrestling," he said.
Carey and LVHS teammate Dillon Weil are making plans to be at the Penn State University wrestling camp in July.
The camp is three weeks long.
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