Griffitts determined to finish season strong

Cade Griffitts


File photo

Cade Griffitts wrestles opponent at the Shane Shatto Memorial Tournament earlier this year.

Joshua Clark

Third-year wrestler Cade Griffitts is beginning to stand out heading the final matches of his career.

Griffitts faced the toughest test in the Herders last regular-season meet of the year, going against Riley Shaffer, one of the top-rated 182 pounders in the conference.

Although he lost, he made it a tight match throughout impressing coaches from both teams.

“Cade really took it to their number-one kid,” coach Kjell Elisson said. “We actually got some compliments from the Thermopolis coaching staff about how tough he wrestled. They thought that kid was just going to walk out there and beat the crap out of him but Cade was able to keep it close the entire time.” 

“That guy from Thermop was a tough kid,” Griffitts said. “He’s pretty strong and could work at 195 for sure if he wanted to. It was a really tough match but I’m proud I only let him get one takedown on me. I definitely have all the respect in the world for that kid.”

  Performing well has given Griffitts confidence that he can hang with anyone going into regionals and states. 

Shaffer normally wrestles at 182, giving him quickness that Cade isn’t used to at 195, but he used it as a learning experience and thinks dealing with Shaffer gives him an advantage against the wrestlers at his weight. 

“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence. It shows that I have the speed and mobility to move around with those 182 guys, but at my heavier weight class it gives me an ante-up or a step up on those guys who aren’t used to wrestling faster agile kids like I am.”

Griffitts is known as the pretty boy of the team. If you spend any time around the team you will notice him flexing often with a wide grin on his face almost constantly. It makes it hard to believe he’s among the toughest competitors in one of the heaviest classes at the high school level. 

He credits coach Elisson with instilling the right attitude in him early on in the season.

“The mentality he’s forced upon us (is) to always go out and make sure we do our best,” Griffitts said. “It should have hit me at the beginning of the season more, but now that it’s come to the end of my wrestling career I’m forcing it more upon myself.

“With it being my last year I need to make sure I go into every match with a plan and leave everything out on the mat.”

Cade isn’t the only wrestler impressing Elisson heading into regionals.

The coach believes every wrestler has followed his mindset about being a better you everyday and that has led to the team as a whole improving drastically.

“Right now I’m really proud of the whole team,” Elisson said. “With how everyone is wrestling I believe we’re peaking at the right time. We worked this season for this week and unlike other teams, we’re not letting our foot off the gas. If anything, this is going to be one of the toughest weeks we’ve had. I want them at their absolute best come Saturday.”

Out of the nine wrestlers on the team, Elisson expects four to six of them to be seeded and place at regionals to compete for top placement in the state tournament. 

Juniors Dustin Simmons and Corden Phillips continued their streak of quality wrestling at Thermopolis and are expected to place high in their respective weight classes. 

The wrestling team will celebrate senior night along with the girls and boys basketball teams this Friday. 

Regionals will take place in Torrington throughout the day Saturday. 


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