Last weekend, White Pine High wrestlers were at the AK47 tournament in Stansbury Park, Utah.
Only three wrestlers advanced for the Cats to the medal rounds, but two finished third and the other was fourth, earning the team 19 points for a ninth place finish in a 13-team field.
Coach Mark Dolezal said, “As a team we wrestled great on Friday and not so well on Saturday. This has always been a tough tournament with some of the better wrestlers from Northern Utah, and this year was no different.”
For the Bobcats, Eric Pickens (152) placed third. He lost the semifinal match 6-1 to Eli Messick of Toole, but won the next match by a 6-0 decision over Collin Sherman of Mountain View.
Dolezal said, “Eric didn’t have his best performance on Saturday, but the positive thing is that we learned what he needs to improve on to be a better wrestler. He lost his semi-final match on a last second takedown, but bounced back with a strong performance in the third place match.”
At 160, Luke Finnicum held his own against a strong weight class of upperclassmen. He lost a close match in the last dual that cost him a shot at the medal round. Matches like that are only going to help him improve and give him the advantage the next time.”
Zeke Vinson (170), “came to wrestle this weekend after a disappointing placement last week,” Dolezal noted. “We saw an aggressive style of wrestling, sometimes a little too aggressive. Once Zeke learns be under control he will be hard to beat.”
He lost his championship semifinal match by fall to Ryan Hintze of Toole. For third place though, he took a 10-1 major decision over David Rodgers of Taylorsville.
Nathanial Dolezal (195) went 3-2 at the tournament. Coach Dolezal said he dominated one match and had a great comeback win in another that both ended in pins. “Nathanial is starting to build the confidence that is needed for a freshman to be competitive at this weight.”
Kegan Hexem (220) placed fourth in the championship bracket, losing by fall to both Brian Sika of Granger and Cameron Brundage of Herriman.
“Kegan continues to wrestle well, but this week he was not as aggressive on his takedowns,” Dolezal said. “If he wants to dominate his matches, he will need to get back to his aggressive double leg takedown. These tough matches in Utah are going to pay dividends at regionals and state.”
In earlier matches in Pool A, White Pine won two of their five dual matches. First, defeating Lehi 42-36 and Utah Military Academy 62-18, but losing 56-19 to Riverton, to Stansbury Park, 61-18, and Taylorsville 37-33.
This week, Dec. 14-15, the team competes in the Desert Storm tournament at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah.