Panther Wrestlers Finish Strong Season at State

The first thing a wrestling fan notices when entering the Wyoming State Wrestling Championships at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper is the sheer magnitude of the event. It is three days of choreographed madness taking place over eight wrestling mats crammed together on the floor. One is constantly bombarded with whistles and announcements and furious action. First year SMHS Coach Rusty Arnold reflected that he is ‘very proud of all of our boys. We had a good year. We lost some unfortunate matches (at State) but also had some amazing wins.’

Arnold also made a point to profusely thank his coaching staff. It is an amazing accomplishment to get all of the wrestlers who competed at Regionals to the State meet, and it certainly wouldn’t have been possible without his right-hand man, Assistant Coach Thomas Ingraham. Arnold heaped praise on Ingraham and recognized his ‘great leadership qualities.’ Rusty also thanked Nathan Bennet for volunteering his time to come help with the team.

During the State wrestling tournament, a story was shared about a ‘new wrestling Mom’ and how she was shocked at how these incredibly tough wrestling boys would occasionally break down in tears after a match. The answer given to the Mom was, ‘Everyone cries at some point in wrestling. Some are happy tears and some are sad. Anyone who says they have never cried in wrestling is lying.’ The Saratoga Panthers had their share of emotions last weekend as eight Panther wrestlers fought for a spot on their respective podiums.

Saratoga placed two wrestlers: freshman Ace Arnold taking 6th place at 113 pounds and senior Tuker Carricato winning 5th at 126. Two other Panthers also made a deep run in the tourney, with senior Doug Campbell falling in consolation round three at 157 pounds, and junior Allyster Ingraham (138 pounds) losing in consolation round two.

At 113 pounds, Ace Arnold first beat Moorcroft’s Cantu before losing to Rhyne (Wind River) in the quarterfinals. Ace won the following two matches against Mickelson (Lovell) and Shepard (Shoshoni) before dropping his next fight against Sanchez (Big Piney). Haven Vrana from Upton got the better of Ace in his last match, but Ace stood on the podium in 6th place and finished the season with a 34 - 15 record.

Senior Tuker Carricato ended the season with a record of 32 - 5 and placing 5th at 126 pounds. He beat his first two opponents on his way to a semifinal matchup with two-time State champion Roany Proffit. The first match was a win against Sundance’s Mayberry, and his second, a win versus Miller from Wyoming Indian. His battle against Kemmerer’s Proffit was a bit more difficult, and Carricato found himself facing Clifford (Big Piney) after Proffit got the best of him. Clifford also wrestled well against Carricato, and Tuker’s loss sent him to face Price (Thermopolis) for 5th place, where Carricato prevailed with a fall.

Benjamin Miller also represented the Panthers at 126 pounds. He improved all season, and fought well in his final matches for an overall record of 4-24. Miller lost to Clifford (Big Piney) and McMillan (Kemmerer).

Freshman Chase Brown had a record of 10 – 18 after his two losses at State. His matches were against Hannah (Moorcroft) and Crow from Thermopolis. Brown is also an up-and-coming wrestler, and like Miller, will benefit greatly from his experience at the State tournament.

Junior Allyster Ingraham fought for SMHS at 138 pounds. He had an incredible first battle versus Sheehan (Moorcroft) and lost a heartbreaking two-point decision 8 to 6. Ingraham’s second bout was a pin over Rivera (Glenrock). Cook from Moorcroft was Allyster’s final undoing, and he completed the season after his loss with a record of 27 – 12.

Skyler Wood also battled in the 138 pound bracket. His first match was a loss to Cook (Moorcroft), but he won his second over Rogers (Kemmerer). Skyler was up against the other Kemmerer 138 pound wrestler (Parks), but eventually lost by fall. Skyler wrestled tough all season and finished with a 19 – 15 record.

Saratoga’s other senior was Douglass Campbell at 157 pounds who finished with a 14-11 record. Campbell was laser-focused in his first match at State and dismantled York (LFLSE) with a fall in the second period. Campbell then lost to returning State champion Peterson (Cokeville), before pinning Lowry (Moorcroft) in under a minute. Doug finished his Panther career with a loss to Buckner (Moorcroft) after being up 6 – 2. Campbell said, ‘I hesitated and he caught me. You can’t make a mistake against Moorcroft and expect to win.’

Atom Lindsey is another Panther wrestler who gained tremendous experience and showed improvement throughout the season, finishing at 12-12. He lost both his matches over the weekend, first to eventual State Champion Barton (Kemmerer), and then a close decision to Zuniga (Big Piney).

Coach Arnold mentioned his two seniors, saying ‘I wish them the best with their future and know they will do great things.’ Arnold also says he would like to get the returning team participating in camps and off-season workouts. He plans on evaluating how he will ‘proceed with next season.’ He said, ‘I think good coaching comes from being able to adjust where it is needed and all in all I am very excited about next year.’

 

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