Herders gauge early-season progress at Shatto Invite

Mike Moore photos
Herder Cade Griffitts muscles his way around the mat while competing against Colter Helm of Natrona County in the 195 weight class bracket of the Shane Shatto Memorial Tournament in Douglas Jan. 10.

Mike Moore mike@glenrockind.com


For any good wrestling team, a challenging test among a pool of talented athletes beyond the normal playing field is essential when properly gauging progress midway through the season. For the Glenrock wrestling program, the Shane Shatto Memorial Tournament  in Douglas last weekend was just that.
“Shane Shatto’s can be classified as one of the toughest tournaments in the state for sure,” head coach Kjell Elisson reflected.
The tournament has grown over the years to bring some of the largest and most talent-rich teams from Nebraska, Colorado and all corners of Wyoming for two days of intense competition. The lines of school size are blurred at the tournament, meaning whoever is in your weight class is fair game for a potential match up.
“It can be kind of tough,” Elisson said. “We learned where we stand. It’s all about getting better every competition.”
The Herders brought five wrestlers to compete in the varsity bracket and six in the junior varsity. The coach said the tournament served as a stepping stone for them as they prepare for the latter portion of their season coming up.
It showed him how his team needs to get in better shape if they want to be competitive moving forward.
“It gave us a lot of good stuff to work on,” he said. “I’m proud of how we did, everyone wrestled tough. I’m not all that concerned with win/loss records, I’m concerned about how much better we get.”
In terms of top placers for the Herders, Lane Raney grappled his way to a fourth place finish in the 170 weight class bracket, eventually losing to Nathan Lundberg of Central in the third place match.
“Lane is one of the most pure, flowing wrestlers I’ve ever seen,” Elisson said. “It’s hard to explain. If something happens he’s not prepared for, he reacts without thinking and that makes a good wrestler.”
A lot of the varsity wrestlers had strong showings in general. Dustin Simmons picked up four wins of his six matches in the 132 weight bracket.
Raney was the highest placer for the Herders, who finished 20th as a team out of the 28 in attendance.
As for the team’s junior varsity grapplers, the coach was pleased with how Cordon Phillips came ready for whatever match up awaited him.
Phillips eventually earned a third place finish at the tournament. Elisson attributed Phillips’ aggressiveness to his success at the tournament.
“I really liked his aggression,” Elisson said. “It’s something we’ve been preaching; attack, attack, attack. He did that, as did Paxton. The guy who attacks generally wins more.”
Paxton Piaseck ended up winning four of his six matches at the tournament.
Looking forward, the coach wants his team to focus on bringing the attack to their opponents more and also noted the team’s conditioning in general has to improve.
The Herders aren’t taking any time to slow down. Next up is a triangular in Moorcroft this Friday, followed by the Blazer Duals in Torrington on Saturday.
“I’d like to see some confidence building,” Elisson said. “I’d like us to get some tough wins because it’s going to be some tough wrestling.”


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