The Lyons wrestling program has grown each year under head coach Brandon Lohr. Recent success at the state tournament, including championships at multiple weights, has given the program some notoriety. That success has led to renewed interest in the program and an increase in participation. Coach Lohr’s team has 12 members, the highest total number of Lohr’s tenure. Senior Karson Bean is the team’s captain. A state qualifier and 2019 quarterfinalist, Bean has his sights set on matching fellow Lion Oran Huff’s championship accomplishment from a year ago.
On Thursday, the Lyons boys traveled up the canyon to face rival Estes Park on the Bobcats’ Senior Night. Due to some open weight classes, not every Lion would have the opportunity to wrestle, but those that did compete certainly made their presence felt. In front of a large contingent of Estes Park fans and students, the Lions were in search of a dual-meet win.
Up first for the Lyons at 113 pounds was junior Xander Keelick. Keelick battled throughout the first period before being taken down twice, and faced a 6-0 deficit heading into the third period. Down 7-2 after a takedown, Keelick worked for a pin during the final 30 seconds, but was unable to successfully turn his Bobcat opponent, ending the hard-fought bout.
The next four matches would provide a decisive victory margin for the Lions. Huff, at 126 pounds, scored a pin 30 seconds into the first. Brothers Christian and Declan Keller, at 132 and 138 pounds respectively, would follow with first-period pins of their own.
2019 state qualifier David Gardner wrestled up at 152 pounds, and dominated his match from start to finish. Starting from the neutral position, Gardner showed his superior technique, with several quick takedowns scoring four early points. After allowing his overmatched opponent an escape, Gardner would score another takedown followed by a quick pin. Gardner said after the match, “I wanted to prove to myself that I could wrestle up and still compete.”
The Lions had a big 16-team meet at Valley High School this past weekend, a place not unfamiliar to Gardner. “My goal is to take that tournament in my hometown [Gilcrest],” he said.
The final matchup of the night at 170 pounds included Lyons’ Wyatt Bashor. Bashor competed throughout the first period and scored on an escape, but trailed the experienced Bobcat 4-1 after the first. His aggressive and skilled opponent scored a pin after battling Bashor throughout the second period.
The victory versus Estes means that the Lions will host the sectionals on Thursday, February 6, at 5:30pm. The Lions’ dual-meet victory allowed Coach Lohr to celebrate his guys’ success. Lohr said after the match, “We needed pins tonight. Those give us the most points, and we needed a win for a league crossover.” With an eye on both the meet at Valley and regional and state tournaments to follow, Lohr stated that, “Our goal is to finish in the top five at Valley. We took seven guys to state last year, and have a decent shot at regionals and state this year with the numbers we have. This is easily the best team at Lyons in the last ten years.”
2019/2020 Lyons Wrestlers:
At 285 pounds, Garrett Roberts, Junior. Roberts anchors the weight classes in the heavyweight division, often wrestling some of the biggest guys in the state.
At 195 pounds, Karson Bean, Senior. Bean recently signed with Northeastern Junior College, in Sterling. There, along with continuing his wrestling career, he will study wind technology.
At 170 pounds, Wyatt Bashor, Sophomore. Wyatt has shown his potential and continues to excel in the world of wrestling.
At 160 pounds, Logan Odell, Junior. Odell has an opportunity to finish the year strong, with hopes of regional and state appearances.
At 145 pounds, David Gardner, Junior. Gardner is a returning state qualifier with aspirations of a state title.
At 138 pounds, Dequlyn Keller, Freshman. The younger Keller has earned a varsity spot with some wins under his belt.
At 138 pounds, Lochlan Osborne, Freshman.
At 132 pounds, Christian Keller, Junior. Keller is returning after a series of injuries and looking to compete for regional and state titles as a junior.
At 132 pounds, Monte Pickering, Junior.
At 126 pounds, Oran Huff, Junior. Won a state championship in his class as a sophomore. Oran is looking forward to defending his state title and bringing another championship back to Lyons next month.
At 113 pounds, Xander Keelick, Junior.
At 106 pounds, Hunter Powell, Freshman.
Written with contributions from Quelenna Keller. Keller is a team manager and a senior at LHS.