Feb 6, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorIt's the final regular season match for Riverton before hosting the Class 4-A West Regional Feb. 15-16.
Heavyweight wrestler Dawson Steeds was the hero for Riverton High School after pinning Kegan Wells last year in the final match to lock up a team victory over Lander Valley High School at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse.
The showdown this year between the two county rivals is Thursday at the Tonkin Activities Center.
The match completes the regular season for both programs.
"It could happen again," RHS coach Jay Galey said. "Any time our two schools get together will make for a good atmosphere. It will be exciting."
Lander and Riverton Middle School wrestlers start the competition at 4 p.m. The RHS and LVHS junior varsity go at 6 p.m. The varsity teams tangle at 7 p.m.
"I expect our guys to go out and be solid," Galey said. "There are a lot bigger things for us in the next two weeks than this dual."
Galey said the the Class 4-A Wolverines went through a grueling practice Tuesday to prepare for the postseason.
After the contest with the 3-A Tigers, RHS will host the Class 4-A West regional tournament Feb. 15-16 at Wolverine Gym.
"It has been ugly, what we have put them through in practice," Galey said. "They could be a little tired come Thursday. The TAC will be pretty loud. It's our senior night. Our guys and our coaches will be looking forward to it."
Lander's coach agrees.
"The Riverton dual is always nice to end the season," LVHS coach Nick Fulton said. "It provides a great atmosphere with a healthy rivalry behind it. The kids really get fired up to compete."
Riverton's lineup will have Joey Ladd at 106 pounds. Gavin Wilson is scheduled to go in the 120-pound class. RHS is open at 113 pounds. The Wolverines are a question mark at 126 pounds.
"The only thing that might change is at 126 pounds," Galey said. "I'm not sure who we are going to wrestle."
The remaining lineup for RHS is Arhen Wempen (132 pounds), T.J. Turner (138), Tyler Allen (145), Beau Batista (152), Rudy Batista (160), T.J. Galey (170), Casey Savage (195), Riley Reichert (220) and Steeds (heavyweight).
Galey doesn't know yet who is going to wrestle at 182 pounds.
"That will be a match time decision," Galey said.
The Wolverines are ranked No. 3 in Class 4-A. LVHS is ranked No. 5 in 3-A.
"You might as well throw all of the previous records to the window," Fulton said.
"Riverton snuck one out on us last year in our gym. We certainly would like to return the favor this year."
Lander's probable lineup against the Wolverines is Kyle Carey at 106 pounds. Josiah Malesic in the 113-pound class, and Ty Alexander at 120 pounds.
In the middle weights are Andrew Von Rein (126 pounds), Jacob Winchester (132), Sean Davis (138), Jacob Miller (145), Seth Cole (152) and Talon Connell (160).
Upper-weight wrestlers for LVHS are Jason Hanson (182), Robert Sloss (195), Ross Sloss (220) and Wells (heavyweight).
"The keys to us winning the dual will be winning in those upper and lower weight," Fulton said. "
Riverton is pretty solid in the middle, so for us to compete we will need to win on either end."
Galey is looking forward to seeing Alexander and Wilson battle each other at 120 pounds.
Wilson placed fourth at the Ron Thon Invitational, and Alexander was sixth.
The two stars are 1-1 against each other during the regular season.
The RHS coach was impressed with the way Miller performed at the Ron Thon.
"Miller is wrestling tough, but when Tyler has his game on, that can be a heck of a match," Galey said.
Steeds lost to Wells at the Lander Invitational.
"Steeds has a little revenge factor the last time they wrestled," Galey said.
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