HOT SPRINGS, S.D. – Gaven Niles and Zane Rising both finished fourth in their respective weight classes over the weekend, helping the Lingle-Fort Laramie Doggers finish 17th at the Hot Springs Holiday Extravaganza.
“Hot Springs is a very tough tournament and it definitely highlighted our weaknesses and where we need to get better by the end of the year,” coach Brandon Gifford said. “It also gave our younger guys some much needed experience and opened their eyes a bit to see where they need to be.”
Niles (126) started his weekend with a bye, followed by a pin over Drew Hanson (Hill City) at the 3:46 mark. He then went on to pin Carter Grohs (Wessington Springs-Woonsocket) in the second period. In the semi-final, Niles lost via a 15-5 major decision against Carson Pinske (Lead-Deadwood).
Once in the consolation bracket, Niles had two matches that went the distance. The Dogger beat Douglas’ Jackson Wilson by a 14-9 decision to reach the third-place match. Bennett County’s Jared Harris beat Niles by an 8-2 decision, giving the L-FL wrestler fourth.
Rising, who competed at 145 pounds, had a different route to fourth place. He had a first-round bye, before being pinned at the 5:03 mark by Custer’s Eli Mines. In the lower bracket, Rising had another bye, before rattling off four-straight wins.
Rising’s first two wins were by pin in the first period over Jayden Kruse (Hill City) and Seth Livermont (Bennett County). The Dogger then pinned Lyman County’s Jacob Hoffer in the second period. Rising and Jesse McCann (Harding County) went the distance in the consolation semi-finals, with Rising winning by a 10-4 decision. He then was pinned in the first period of the third-place match against Philip’s Colby Fitch.
“I felt like Gaven and Zane had pretty solid tournaments by medaling,” Gifford said. “They had to battle through some tough matches and were able to come out with wins in some of them.”
Dustin Swartwood recorded his first win of the season. At 138 pounds, he had a bye and then was pinned in the first period against Gunner Johnson (Lyman County). Swartwood picked up his win at the 2:51 mark over Jordan Klein (Hill City). Douglas’ Robert Aguiniga ended Swartwood’s weekend in a 15-4 major decision.
Eli Asa (126) received an opening bye, but then was pinned in the first period against Crawford’s Trevor Nelson. After another two byes in the lower bracket, Asa lost via pin at the 2:03 mark against Jackson Wilson (Douglas).
Alex Pugsley had a similar weekend, going 0-2 with three byes. His two losses came by pin in the first period against Mason Heath (Bennett County) and Cody Homan (Hill City).
L-FL racked up 39 team points to finished 17th, just behind Newell, who had 40. Philip took the top team spot with 214.5 points, followed by Hot Springs (194) and Lead-Deadwood (184).
The Doggers return to action in the new year, heading to Gering for competition on Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. L-FL also heads to Oshkosh, Neb. for the Garden County Invite on Jan. 6, starting at 8 a.m.
“We are looking forward to these next few practices and the vacation process to address some of our weaknesses so we are ready to come out into the new year much improved,” Gifford said.