Mustangs shoot into 2019-20 wrestling season with talent, depth
West Grand second at hometown tournament as coach shares moment with his former coach, father
Wrestling this year for the first time since middle school, junior Rene Dominguez won the 138 pound weight class for West Grand at the Mustangs’ hometown tournament this weekend.
Dominguez is also playing basketball for the school this winter, and the multi-sport athlete made quick work of his opponents on the mats Saturday by scoring three pins. The points helped West Grand finish the 13-team tournament second behind state-ranked Buena Vista.
“That was the first tournament of the year, and he looked really sharp for someone who hasn’t been on the mat for four years,” Mustangs coach Brian Strathman said. “He came ready to go just like he was in middle school, and I’m glad he decided to do both (sports) this year. It’s good for us and good for him.”
Early into the season, West Grand is benefiting from a deep roster. The squad that typically saw fewer than a dozen boys only a few years ago has come up to the point there are 16 grapplers this season. That depth was apparent at West Grand’s tournament, and the Mustangs had a number of podium finishes.
Competing in the same weight class as Dominguez, Jacob Murphy was third at 138 pounds. Meanwhile, West Grand brothers Ben and Dane Biekert also had strong days, as Ben placed second in the 106 pound bracket and Dane was fourth at 113 pounds.
Additionally, David Santos (120 pounds) and Cameron Wood (152 pounds) both earned second place honors, and Ely Ryszkowski (145 pounds) and Landon Williams (170 pounds) each took fourth.
The Mustangs’ second place team finish follows two victorious duals, one against Rangely and another vs. Hanna Elk Mountain, Wyoming, to kick off the year. And the hot start has their coach beaming.
“I’m super happy with the way our season is going,” he said, explaining the Mustangs are a young squad and getting better by the week.
The boys’ strong performance at Saturday’s tournament in Kremmling was also special for their coach, who had his father, also named Brian Strathman, in town to see it.
Strathman’s father lives in Connecticut. After visiting Yellow Stone this week, he decided to come watch the Mustangs. Like his son, the older Strathman also has a history of coaching.
“I grew up on his mat and his football field since I was like 6 years old,” the younger Strathman said, adding that this was first time his father has been able to watch him coach.
The senior Strathman was careful to give his son space to coach the Mustangs on Saturday, but after a day of coaxing, the father finally sat mat-side for one of the matches.
“I think (my son) is doing a very good job,” the father said after the match. “There was a nice crowd here. The kids are all doing a great job. They all seem to get along, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s a great sport.”
Both Strathmans also appreciated the chance to be together on the mats again.
“That was pretty cool,” the younger Strathman said.
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