State Wrestling 2013 begins Friday and culminates with the finals on Saturday night at the Casper Event Center.
Moorcroft, Powell, and Gillette were the #1 ranked teams going into regionals by wyowrestling.com. Powell was knocked off in the 3A West by seven points by Star Valley. The 3A race could be the most competitive with four teams with a shot at the title in Powell, Star Valley, Worland, and Douglas. Three of those teams have all won it in the last three years, Douglas 2010, Worland 2011, and Powell last year. Star Valley last won a wrestling title back in 2007.
As of late Cokeville has been on a tear, winning 7 of the last 10, and six out of the last seven 2A State Titles. They are a favorite to do it again this year with their biggest competition coming from Moorcroft. The Wolves took over the #1 spot after beating the Panthers and the rest of the field at the Carbon County Invite to end the regular season. Moorcroft last won a title in 2005.
Gillette has won the last 10 straight 4A titles and looks like a lock for #11 this weekend. Who was the last 4A team to win that WASN’T Gillette? Green River, back in 2002. It was their third in a row before the Camels have rattled off 10 straight.
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Individual Highlights: Thanks to Spencer Condie and Champ Stats
Dani Fischer from Gillette: This young man stands a very good chance of becoming only the 14th athlete in our state to reach the top of the podium in each of his 4 years as a high school wrestler. He will be challenged as he always has been by a few young men who will be giving him their best effort to not let that happen at 145 pounds.
There are 4 athletes that will be attempting to gain their 3rd titles, and they are Lukas Poloncic, a senior from Gillette at 160 pounds. Brigham Teichert, another senior from Cokeville at 145. Bryce Meredith a junior from Cheyenne Central at 132 pounds. And Justin Lewton another junior out of Worland competing at 126 pounds.
Lovell’s Dino Collins is looking to add to his resume after finishing as the only undefeated wrestler in Wyoming last year and of course winning the state championship at 182, he is back at the same weight looking for #2.
By my count, there are 13 young men vying to become 2 time champions this weekend and interestingly enough, 5 of them will find another fellow state champion, or multiple time champion in their bracket waiting for them at state. 1) Andrew VonRein , Lander’s sophomore returning champion will be competing in the same weight class as Worland’s returning 2 time champion junior Justin Lewton at 126 in the 3a ranks. If the seeding holds true, these two could possibly meet in the semi-final round, keeping one of them out of Gold medal contention. Returning champion 2) Blaze Cress from Cheyenne East will find a similar situation awaiting him at 138 pounds, as he and Kelly Walsh’s 3)Tanner Galey could potentially meet in the semi-final round. Returning champion 4) Luke Lovett from Moorcroft could possibly meet up with Cokeville’s Brigham Teichert,at 145 pounds, but with a much bigger prize at stake as these 2 would likely meet up in the championship finals if they wrestle true to their seed. Finally, if 5) Brayton Sanders is able to come away with a second title, he will have earned it big time as he will need to go through the champion from last weekend’s regional championship Brecken Biggs of Natrona, and possibly awaiting him in the finals would be Gillette’s Poloncic. Once again, only if the bracket plays out as the seeds stand at the moment.
Others that will be seeking title #2 that do not have returning champions in their weight class, but by no means face an “easier” road to the finals include:
In the 4a tournament, Natrona County brings back senior Colter Bentley, at heavyweight. Cheyenne East will be looking for back to back titles from junior Brody Cress at 120 pounds and sophomore Tevis Bartlett who will be competing at 195 pounds.
With the exception of Lewton and Vonrein, all 12 of the other champions in class 3a were seniors last season leaving this class as the most wide open to a new batch of champions.
Last but certainly not least in the 2A/1A ranks, Cokeville brings back a pair of Teicherts seeking titles in consecutive years from Junior Brock, competing in the 152 pound weight class and sophomore James, wrestling at 126 pounds. Senior Luke Zeller from Greybull will look to end his career as a 4 time place winner, and 2 time champion at 160 pounds. And finally, returning at the same weight class, (106 pounds) for a second consecutive year is Thermopolis sophomore Vinny Castle. Castle is seeking to become the schools very first athlete to win multiple titles. With 2 more years in addition to this weekend, I like his chances to accomplish that “first” for a “second” title.
NOTE FROM WYOPREPS: All of this and more can easily be brought up on your tablet, phone, or mobile device by doing a search in either itunes, or the droid market for “Champs Stats” . Spencer has been working hard as the State Wrestling Historian. Spencer also says, ” As of now, Champs Stats, and Champs Stats Utah are the only such apps in existence, and my hope is that before the end of the school year I will be able to add Champs Stats Ncaa Div. 1 to that list.
If you are interested to know how to get a free copy of Champs Stats, come up to the vendor booth near the area where the mini-donuts are sold at the events center and I’d be glad to show you how. ”
Thanks to Mr. Condie for this great insight into state wrestling….want more? keep reading.
9 seniors who will be looking to make their 4th trip to the podium in as many years are: Poloncic, Fischer, and Blaze Cress in the 4a, Dino Collins and Jacob Beck from Lovell, Bonner Brown from Big Piney, Jake Jones from Rocky Mountain, and Zeller from Greybull are those from 2a, and the one and only candidate from the 3a ranks will be Drake Menck from Mt. View.
I am always looking to see what families improve upon their status in any of the 3 categories of:
1) place winners
2) total championships
3) championship percentages
Most folks around the state have become aware that the Teicherts from Cokeville have a solid lead in the first 2 categories, but a quick look at the last names that are entered in the tournament this weekend reveals a few surnames that could make a little jump up. Hoopes, Jolley, Mickelson, Osbon, Petersen, Wagstaff, Hernandez, Finnerty, Batista, Carr, Bassett, Beck, Flores, Boner, Brown, Collins, Covolo, Neiman, Rollins, Wempen, Hageman, Hatley, Kennington, Erickson, Wolfley, Gunter, Grant, Guild, Olson…..to name a few.
A few streaks that are on the line in varying degrees of uncertainty are: Natrona placing 1 person on the podium keeps their streak alive of having one place winner, since 1956 to 2013 for 58 straight years. Followed closely by Lusk, 54 years, Kemmer, Lingle, Mountain View, Sheridan, Star Valley, and Upton are all tied at 48 years each going back to 1965, the first year Wyoming split their tournament into 3 separate classes by the way.
If Green River can put just one of their athletes into the championship finals that would extend to 45 years, their streak of such magnitude. Star Valley can extend theirs to 42 this year, and Douglas can push their streak to 41 Friday night after the semifinals.
Douglas, Cokeville, and Greybull sit atop the standings with current streaks of 17, 11 and 10 years straight of having an individual state champion, respectively in consecutive years.
Gillette, Worland, and Natrona seem ready to join Green River as the only teams with more than 90 individual titleists. Green River already has 92, Worland 89, Natrona 88, and Gillette has had 85 going into the weekend.
Star Valley and Powell likely will spend another year as the only teams in the state with more than 400 place winners in their history, as the closest teams to them may not be able to achieve it until next year. I say that knowing that Gillette brings 26 kids to the tournament, needing to place all but one of them and they can reach 400 exactly, that seems to be a tall order even if you are from Gillette. The Camels, as well as Natrona County each have had 375 place winners in their history, and Green River sits one behind that at 374. Star Valley has had 418, and Powell is next at 406. Several teams are in the 300’s and Cheyenne South and Pinedale the 2 newest teams in the state finally joined the party last year, and in 2011 so welcome to the party guys.