The Ely Lions wrestling tournament Dec. 20 at White Pine High School involved Battle Mountain (six-time defending 2A state champion), Wells, West Wendover, Lincoln, Pahranagat Valley, Tonopah, Independence and Eureka.

Tournament host and White Pine coach Mark Dolezal said, “This is a pod tournament so each wrestler gets three matches.”

He added, “This is by far the toughest tournament that we will go to this year with the top teams from Northern Utah, Southern Utah and Las Vegas plus Virgin Valley.”

At the 32-team Dixie Storm Classic in St. George, Utah, Dec. 14-15, Eric Pickens (152) may have been in the toughest weight of the tournament with top ranked wrestler from Utah and Nevada in it. Dolezal said, “To add to Eric woes, he was battling sickness and not at 100 percent. You need to be at your best there if you want to place, so it was bad timing.” Eric went 2-2 and came a one match away from placing.

Kegan Hexem (220) had another solid tournament going 2-2. Both of his loses came to wrestlers that placed in the top 6 and those loses were close. Dolezal noted, “One of the coaches from our league was impressed with the way that Kegan was wrestling. When opposing coaches notice your improvement that is a great compliment.”

Luke Finicum (160) took 4th place in the Dixie Storm JV tournament. Dolezal said, “We put Luke in the JV tournament to get him more mat time. He dominated his pool on Friday going 4-0. Saturday he was in a bracket with other pool winners and drew Wes Dixson of Millard, the eventual champion, in the first round and lost by major decision. But Luke bounced back in the consolation rounds to place fourth going 6-2 for the weekend. We were able to identify some of the things we need to correct before regionals.”

Nathanial Dolezal finished in fifth place. Dolezal said, “Nathanial had another solid tournament going 5-3 in the JV tournament. He continues to improve every match and goes 100 percent at all times. If he continues to improve, he is going to be a factor at the regional meet.”

The Bobcats will be off now until Jan. 11-12 when they compete at the Farmers Invitational in Mohave, Arizona.