Ranked seventh in Wyoming 4A, Korbin Wagstaff is on his way to a victory over Green Rivers Jerad Flores, who is ranked sixth. This has more significance than one might think. These two wrestlers have been wrestling each other since before middle school, and this match was the first where Wagstaff has emerged triumphant. Flores was a second place finisher (106) at state last year. Photo by Judd Kishpaugh
EVANSTON — Three Evanston Red Devils senior wrestlers were honored Wednesday night, Jan. 30, at the Red Devils’ gym in their final home appearance, with a good crowd on hand to cheer the hometown wrestlers on, in their 43-26 conference dual victory over the Green River Wolves.
Following a few junior varsity matches, Robby Roundy, Evanston’s 138-pound competitor, Brayton Sanders, who wrestles at 160, and 195-pound wrestler Sean Sowers, were honored with their parents, with the mothers receiving flowers, while short highlight slide shows and videos were shown on screen for the crowd to enjoy.
Background information on the three seniors, their future plans and the opportunity to express their gratitude and give thanks were passed along by Red Devils track coach and announcer Ryan Berger.
The Red Devils would go on to win seven of their 11 varsity matches, with the Wolves forfeiting in the 182-, 220- and 285-pound weight classes, a scenario all too common for the Red Devils wrestling team. Coach Larry Wagstaff, in his post-match interview, noted this was the first time the Red Devils, since before Christmas, fielded wrestlers in all 14 weight divisions in a dual competition.
Zack Guild, at 126 pounds, and Brayton Sanders, at 160 pounds, had bouts with bronchitis, and potentially, pneumonia, with Sanders also battling a sternum injury. Eric Sowers, at 220 pounds, had been out of the lineup, and William Kishpaugh was fighting back from a back injury. Other Red Devils had missed matches with short-term illnesses and injuries, as well.
This was the final 4A West Conference dual. The Red Devils lost to the Tigers in Rock Springs on Jan. 16, 36-39, forfeiting matches at 126 and 190 pounds. On Saturday, Jan. 26, Red Devils wrestling defeated the Casper Kelly Walsh Trojans, 41-36, tied the fourth-ranked Riverton Wolverines, 36-36, and lost by five to the third-ranked Natrona County Mustangs, 31-36, in Casper, at Kelly Walsh High School.
Wrestling is in the homestretch portion of the season, but the most important matches are still to come. The Red Devils wrestling team will have already left for this weekend’s competition when this issue of the Herald hits newsstands, as the team boarded a bus bound for Riverton, the site of the annual Ron Thon Memorial Invitational, commonly referred to as the “Best of the Best,” and ordinarily the largest wrestling tournament staged in Wyoming, as it combines all classes. Last year, 706 wrestlers from 41 teams competed.
“Everyone who’s a wrestler will be there,” Wagstaff told the Herald. “Maybe not every team, but they will send their best kids.”
Last year, graduated senior Reece Bown placed third at 220 pounds, with Brayton Sanders bringing home fourth-place honors in the 152-pound division. The Red Devils finished 10th of the 39 teams competing, scoring 64 points as a team. Campbell County won the Ron Thon with 217.5 points; Cheyenne East and Douglas placed second and third. Those three teams will likely be among the teams to beat again this year, as Douglas is the top-ranked 3A team, with the Camels and the Thunderbirds, one and two in Class 4A.
The most recent rankings from WyoWrestling.com placed the Red Devils sixth, behind fifth-ranked Green River, while Riverton has moved to third, dropping Natrona County to fourth.
Individual top seven-ranked Red Devils included Korbin Wagstaff, seventh at 113 pounds; Batista Covolo, third at 145 pounds; Kyler Wagstaff, third at 152 pounds; Brayton Sanders, second at 160 pounds; William Kishpaugh, sixth at 170 pounds; and Carlos Heredia, sixth at heavyweight.
Results against Green River were as follows:
Evanston (EVAN) 43.0 Green River (GRRI) 26.0
• 106: Cole Verner, GRRI, pinned Lane Barker, EVAN, 1:39.
• 113: Korbin Wagstaff, EVAN, dec. Jared Flores, GRRI, 6-4.
• 120: Ben Nathan, GRRI, pinned Tucker Leland, EVAN, 5:30.
• 126: Ezekiel Mamalis, GRRI, tech. fall Zack Guild, EVAN, 5:11 15-0.
• 132: Bruce Lester, EVAN, pinned Chad Manley, GRRI, 3:06.
• 138: Chase O’Melia, GRRI, dec. Robby Roundy, EVAN, 8-6.
• 145: Batista Covolo, EVAN, dec. Austin Waters, GRRI, 3-0.
• 152: Kyler Wagstaff, EVAN, pinned Edgar Alatorre, GRRI, 1:13.
• 160: Brayton Sanders, EVAN, dec. Shay McCurdy, GRRI, 7-3.
• 170: William Kishpaugh, EVAN, maj. dec. Taylor Mussard, GRRI, 9-1.
• 182: Connor Martin, EVAN, forfeit
• 195: Chris Crisler, GRRI, pinned Sean Sowers, EVAN, 5:18.
• 220: Eric Sowers, EVAN, forfeit
• 285: Carlos Heredia, EVAN, forfeit