Middle school seasons end this weekend

Nathan Oster

With conference tournaments on tap this weekend, it’s officially end-of-season test time for Greybull and Riverside middle schoolers who have devoted the past six weeks to learning the finer points of wrestling and basketball.

The Big Horn Basin Conference Wrestling Tournament, which will be held Saturday in Thermopolis, attracts a mix of large and small schools, with G-R’s roster typically ranking among the smallest in the field. Among the big-school teams in attendance will be Cody, Lander, Powell, Riverton, Thermopolis and Worland. 

G-R wrapped up the regular season Tuesday night with a triangular in Cowley, where the goal was simply to get everyone two or three tune-up matches after the long Thanksgiving break.

“We’ve had a good season,” said Coach Mark Sanford. “Didn’t have as many kids as I’d have liked, but the ones we have had sure improved. It’s been gradual and steady. I think that Shoshoni tournament before Thanksgiving was a good look at where we match up with other schools our size.

“The Powells, the Codys, the Landers and the Rivertons of the world weren’t there and it was more of a 2A field.”

Riley Wiggins and Levi Cochrane paced the team that day, winning weight class titles. Six others placed, including Jaxon Womack, Marshall Brown, Isaiah Palato, Maythe Garay, Sophia Wilkinson and Emma Williams.

They’ll look to keep it going this weekend in Thermopolis. Unlike the Shoshoni tournament, the conference competition will be split into A and B divisions.

“We’ll move a few more into the A division (for this tournament),” said Sanford, adding, “That’s what we’ve done the last couple of years. (Starting them in the B division) gives them an opportunity to get established and move forward.”

Summing up his hopes for the weekend, Sanford said, “I mostly just want to see them compete and not make the same mistakes they’ve been making. That’s the whole key to anything. It’s an opportunity eliminate what they’ve been doing wrong and continue doing the things they’ve been doing well so that they can keep pressing forward. We should see several kids step up to that challenge.”

Girls basketball

The brackets for the seventh- and eighth-grade girls basketball tournaments were being finalized at press time.

Greybull and Rocky Mountain, the top two seeds, have opening-round byes and won’t take the court until 10 a.m. Greybull will play the winner of the Shoshoni-Meeteetse game in the RMHS Gym while Rocky will face the winner of the Burlington-Riverside game in the LIE Gym.

The tournament will conclude with the fifth-place game at 11 a.m., the third-place game at noon and the championship game at 1 p.m., all of them in the RMHS Gym.

The eighth-grade tournament will be in Shoshoni. The host Lady Blue earned the No. 1 seed and will play either Nov. 4 Greybull or No. 5 Ten Sleep in the 11 a.m. game. On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Rocky Mountain will play either Nov. 3 Burlington or No. 6 Meeteetse at noon.

The fifth-place game is set for noon, the third-place game for 1 p.m. and the championship game for 2 p.m.