SHERIDAN — Sheridan High School wrestling enters the final two weeks of the season and travels to Cheyenne Central High School to compete in the regional tournament Feb. 21-22.
Winning the regional tournament itself is a nice accomplishment, junior Reese Osborne said. Osborne won the 113-pound bracket his freshman year at the regional tournament and the 126-pound bracket his sophomore year.
“For me, regionals has always been important because of the seeding it puts me at for state,” Osborne said.
Junior Hayden Crow said winning the individual bracket is monumental heading into the state tournament. Crow won the 138-pound bracket as a sophomore and is wrestling in the 170-pound class this year.
Wrestlers winning their regional bracket receive the first or second seed at state, while the runner-ups from the two regions are awarded the third and fourth seeds. The rest of the state qualifiers are placed into a pool and draw their spots on the bracket.
Being a seeded wrestler leads to an easier path to the semifinal round.
A wrestler having to draw their bracket position could face a tough opponent early, forcing them to the other side of the bracket and eventually a lower placing than originally desired.
Osborne won his opening two matches his freshman year by fall, had a tech fall in the semifinal round and pinned his opponent to win an individual state title. Sophomore year he won his first match by fall and the second round by major decision. Osborne lost by a 7-5 decision last year as a sophomore.
Crow also finished as a runner-up last year at state after pinning his opponent in the first round of the tournament. He said winning the regional tournament gives a wrestler a strong foothold and momentum entering the tournament.
Head coach Tyson Shatto said momentum has been everything for the team this year.
“Momentum for this team is huge,” Osborne said. “I have never seen it on any other team before like it is on this team. Once we get rolling, we get rolling big time.”
An upset by a Sheridan wrestler creates a momentum train the entire team boards, Osborne said. He also knows a bad loss can drag the team down. If a Broncs wrestler is upset by an opponent, Osborne tries to make it up in his next match, knowing the team will need a boost.
Sheridan wants a solid showing by the entire team. Osborne is confident in this year’s team, with Sheridan entering the tournament with 11 wrestlers ranked in their weight class.
Osborne said Sheridan has one of the fullest line-ups for the tournament, plus extra wrestlers in a few weight classes. Teams can have two wrestlers per weight class.
“We are looking to go in and win it this year… If we perform like we can down at regionals, it can set us up to be top three at state,” Osborne said.
This confidence stems from the Broncs performance at the Ron Thon tournament held in Riverton Jan. 31- Feb. 1. Osborne described the tournament as a state meet between 2A, 3A and 4A classifications. The team tied for fifth place with Cheyenne East High School and ahead of Thunder Basin High School.
Sheridan, Thunder Basin and East are all tied for third place in the current 4A rankings. The schools will meet at the regional tournament along with Cheyenne South, Cheyenne Central and Campbell County high schools.
Sheridan lost both of their duals against East and Thunder Basin by narrow margins. Sheridan lost to East 33-30 Feb. 7 and lost to Thunder Basin 40-36 Feb. 15.
Kelly Walsh and Green River high schools are the top to ranked teams in 4A and will attend the West Regional tournament held Natrona County High School in Casper.
Shatto said the Broncs’ success at Ron Thon came because the team was excited.
The excitement led to a lot of hustle and effort by the Broncs.
With the next two tournaments being important, Shatto expects the same Sheridan team will show up in Cheyenne and for the state tournament in Casper Feb. 28-29.
“This team knows when it is time to go,” Shatto said.
The Broncs have not reached their full potential yet, Shatto said. In the final two weeks, the coaches will work with athletes to fine-tune their techniques with individual work. The Broncs will need to stay motivated and individuals need to have their own internal drive.
Shatto said the team’s momentum needs to start with the individuals. Wrestlers need to feel good about themselves to be successful.
Regionals begins this weekend in Cheyenne, followed by state next week.