LANDER – This past weekend marked one of the bigger wrestling events in Fremont County all year as the Lander Tiger Tough Wrestling Club (LTTW) with clubs from all over Wyoming, including Riverton, participating in all three forms of wrestling (greco, freestyle and folkstyle).


In the greco wrestling events it was once again Salvador Piplica from Riverton who dominated his grouping, winning first in the 8U 43-45-pound weight class. Right above his class was the 49-53-pound class where LTTW’s Keenan McCabe took second after beating LTTW teammate Caden Latray in the final round. 

Lander also brought home second in the 8U 61-65-pound class with Oliver Maxon taking down Riverton’s Christian Rodriguez in the third and final round. The same was true in the 10U 53-56-pound class as LTTW’s Conner Ghormley took down Riverton’s Preston Carpenter in the second round to grab second and put Riverton in third. 

Also, a very competitive 10U 71-77-pound weight class ended with a LTTW name on top in Solomon Archambault with Riverton’s Parker Nelson coming in third in the same class. Another familiar name from Riverton graced the top two again with Willliam Apodaca taking second in the 10U 105-pound class. 

Riverton also took second and third in the 12U-63-66 pound class with Tracen Barton and Santiago Piplica, respectively, doing so. Then, in the 12U 74-78-pound class, LTTW did the same with Cody McCabe and Silas Dailey taking second and third respectively.

One class above that, in the 86-92-pound class, Riverton’s Rylan Gambler took down his teammate Ashton Liedy to finish in third and push Liedy to fourth. Then, in the upper-age groupings, LTTW dominated in the 14U 77-pound class when they grabbed all top-three placements with Ty McWilliams coming out in first. 

Rylan Gambler finished third in his weight class in the greco style during lander’s home meet (p/c Cassie Gambler)

Riverton did something similar in the 16U 152-pound class with Weston McLaughlin and Frankie Strickland finishing first and second, respectively. They did the same in the girls’ 14U 97-pound class with Hailee Cooper and Peyton Arnhold finishing first and second. 

Finally, LTTW’s Kimberly Weber finished in second in the very competitive 16U 117-122-pound girls’ class after forfeiting to Allison LeBlanc from Powell. 


The freestyle wrestling events were well attended and it was still LTTW taking many of the top spots, especially early. They did so with Heston Robinson in the 6U 34-38-pound class taking first over Riverton’s Kamden Vonkrosigk. 

Then, in the class one weight class, it was LTTW taking first, second and fourth with Riverton’s Jagger Barton splitting the difference in the 6U 41-44-pound class. LTTW’s Hinkley White would win all his bouts on his way to first in that weight class by fall or technical fall. 

Riverton took the top spot in the next class (6U 46-47 pounds) as Padyn Hays took down three LTTW wrestlers in Ridge Lock (second), Gannon Miller (third) and Emmitt Sanders (fourth). 

Of course, in the 8U 45-pound weight class, it was once again Riverton’s Salvador Piplica taking the top spot ahead of Thermopolis and LTTW. Then, at the 49-pound mark for 8U, Riverton’s Case Miller took second while his teammate Lukas Graves came in fourth. 

Daniel Clawson put his opponent in a solid hold during the Tiger Tough Wrestling Meet in Lander (p/c Riverton USA Wrestling Facebook)

LTTW also nabbed second and fourth in the 8U 53-56-pound class, split up by Thermopolis’ Halen Lahoe (first) and Pinedale’s Dawson Kautzsch (third). Then, in the 10U 53-55-pound class, LTTW took second with Conner Ghormley while Riverton’s Caysen Long followed him in third. 

The Tigers would take first in a few more classes including the 10U 67-pound division with Zeke White, followed by teammate Tristen McCabe and then Riverton’s Joel Hill and Asher Hanger. Riverton also took a weight class with Samuel Franks on top of the 10U 84-pound class with LTTW’s Cache Hammond coming in second. 

Then Riverton’s William Apodaca stumbled just a bit from his normal top-two placements, finishing third in the 10U 105-pound class. Luckily, his teammate Santiago Piplica grabbed a top spot for Riverton in the 12U 55-63-pound weight class ahead of LTTW’s Braxton Watts. 

The 14U 77-pound weight class was dominated by LTTW later in the day as all four top places were taken by the Tigers with Ty McWilliams in first. Tayten Jacks of LTTW also took a first-place finish home with his win by fall in the 14U 101-103-pound class. 

Plenty of girls from Fremont County also earned high placements as well with LTTW’s Taylor Freeman in the 14U 85-pound class and Riverton USA Wrestling grabbing all three notches in the 97-101-pound class. 


The third-and-final style of the weekend pitted some of the best and youngest wrestlers against each other after a full day of being on the mats. And while some fatigue showed through, there were plenty of Lander Tiger Tough wrestlers and Riverton USA wrestlers that picked up some slack.

One of those was Harlie Velarde (below) from LTTW who took first in the 16U girls’ 132-pound weight class over Powell’s Nalani Jordan. She wasn’t the only Velarde to do well though as William, who took first in both greco and freestyle, finally had some competition. It didn’t matter much though as William would take down Riverton’s Daniel Clawson and LTTW teammate Taj Prine to grab first place in the 16U 170-pound class. 

Harlie Velarde took first after a long day on the mats in her hometown (p/c Tiffany Velarde)

Riverton’s Titan Shells took first in the 6U 37-40-pound weight class, followed by LTTW’s Abram Swift (third) and Rye Watson (fourth). Then, in the 41-43-pound weight class of the same age, Riverton’s Jagger Barton took the top spot alongside teammate Xavier Pena in second. 

Riverton USA Wrestling also had winning performances by Kam Larsen (6U 44-46 pounds) and Padyn Hays (6U 46-47 pounds). The Riverton team earned all three of the highest places in the 8U 85-pound class with Landon Strickland taking first, followed by Braylen Perrett and Jayce Heginbottom.

But, LTTW would get back into it with Hinkley White taking another top spot, this time in the folkstyle side of the 6U 43-44-pound class. They also had great rankings taken by Knox Beal (6U 66-68 pounds) and Marlow Foy (6U 48-52 pounds). Conner Ghormley would finally get that monkey off his back, finishing first in the 10U 53-56-pound class after taking second in both the previous styles. 

Then, in the 10U 67-pound weight class it was all Riverton and LTTW with Lander’s Zeke White taking first and Riverton’s Joel Hill taking second. They were followed by LTTW’s Tristen McCabe and then Riverton’s Asher Hanger. 

Cache Hammond would take first place for LTTW in the 10U 84-pound class ahead of Riverton’s Samuel Franks (third) and Jace Scott (fourth) before teammate Braxton Watts would fall to Riverton’s Santiago Piplica in the 12U 58-63-pound class. 

To wrap things up LTTW’s Beckham Jacobs took first in the 12U 82-pound class while teammates Ty McWilliams and Tanner Guina took first and second, respectively, in the 14U 77-pound weight class. 

Overall, the meet was a huge success for all wrestlers involved but it was handled well by the Lander Tiger Tough Wrestling club and gave plenty of confidence that they should host more and bigger events. Riverton and Lander wrestlers winning throughout the day was just the icing on top of a perfect weekend on the mats for the two clubs.

By: Shawn O’Brate