Evart wrestling coach reflects on '21-22 success



Pioneer file photo

EVART — When it came to the wrestling mats, few teams in the region experienced as much success as the Evart Wildcats during the 2021-22 season.

Winning a team district championship and coming up just shy of a conference title, the Wildcats consistently came out on top.

“Obviously, our team’s highlight of the year was to win our first team district title in school history,” Evart coach Ben Bryant said. 

Despite not having a full-strength squad for certain portions of the season due to injury and illness, the Wildcat wrestlers persevered and posted a 16-19 overall record and a 5-1 record within the Highland Conference.

“Just like most teams, we weren’t able to have our full lineup together (either quarantines or illness) until districts rolled around,” Bryant said.  

State-qualifier Sam Bailey, who was the team’s lone senior this season, posted a 43-10 record this season, and picked up 29 pins.

“He has been a staple for us,” Bryant said. “His career and his leadership and work ethic will be hard to replace.”

Bailey, along with Cole Hopkins, Alex Burhans, all qualified for the state tournament.

In his second season, Riley Ransom wrestled at the 152, 160 and 171-pound weight classes, finished with a 24-19 record.

As he looks ahead to next season, Bryant said he thinks his team will be able to compete for another district championship.

“With having so many returning wrestlers, and our young guys having great work ethic in the weight room, I expect us to be fairly tough next season,” Bryant said. “Having only one senior, we have a load of key returning wrestlers, along with some promising incoming freshmen.”