L-FL places three at home invite

LINGLE – Lingle-Fort Laramie’s Gaven Niles (first), Zane Rising (third) and Joel Costello (fifth) all placed at the Dogger Invite on Saturday on their way to a ninth-place team finish.

“I was really proud of our guys this weekend,” coach Brandon Gifford said. “They were excited to wrestle in front of our home community and they did not disappoint. We have made major strides and have gotten a lot better.”

At 126 pounds, Niles went undefeated after his first-round bye. He beat Lance Roadifer (Cheyenne East JV) by a 16-1 technical fall, followed by a pin in the second period against Brandon Haskins (Natrona County JV). In the title match, Niles pinned Burns/Pine Bluffs’ Zach Cudney at the 3:19-mark.

“I was really excited for Gaven,” Gifford said. “He wrestled really well and it was fun to see him go out on top as a senior at his home tournament.”

Like Niles, Rising (145) had a first-round bye and won his first match, pinning Tate Kelly (Burns/Pine Bluffs) in the first period. Against Kagen Gilbert (Saratoga), Rising went the distance but lost by a 9-8 decision. He rebounded to pin Torrington’s Brett Posten in the second period, before winning the third-place match over Burns/Pine Bluffs’ Kelly.

Costello rounded out the placers for L-FL with his fifth-place finish at 106 pounds. He had a bye and in his first match, he pinned Phillip Peppersack (Natrona County JV) in the second period, before being pinned by East’s Kane Mihalek in the second. Against East’s Landon Trujillo, Costello was pinned in the third period, before winning fifth over Peppersack.

Alex Pugsley joined Niles at 126 pounds, starting the day with a pin over Natrona County’s Quinton Lanham at the 2:40-mark. Pugsley then lost back-to-back matches, suffering pins against Zach Cudney (Burns/Pine Bluffs) and Nicholas Sherbeyn (Torrington JV), both in the second period.

Like Rising, Dustin Swartwood took the mat at 145 pounds, posting a 1-2 record on the day. After an opening round bye, Swartwood was pinned in the second period by Deven Sullivan (Banner County). In the lower bracket, Swartwood pinned Torrington’s Carlos Fitzwater in the third period, before being pinned by Posten in the second.

Jessy Valentine rounded out the Dogger competitors, competing at 220 pounds. Following his opening bye, Valentine went the distance against Kimball’s Izaak Rohde, falling in a 5-0 decision. His weekend ended in a pin against Saratoga’s Preston Dew.

As a team, L-FL amassed 56.5 points for ninth, behind Kimball’s 66 points. Cheyenne East’s JV team snagged first with 233.5 points, with Southeast (175.5) and Cheyenne Central JV (158) rounding out the top three.

“I feel like this tournament was a stepping stone to get us to where we want to be at the end of the year,” Gifford said. “We continue to improve each week and we, as a group, are excited to get after it these next few weeks.”

After hosting a home tournament, the Doggers make a short trip to Mitchell, Neb. for a tournament on Saturday.

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