The first Wyoming high school wrestling rankings, as produced by WyoWrestling.com, were released this week. As always, it features team and individual rankings for each classification and each weight class.
This batch of rankings comes just after the second week of the season and just before the winter break. On the heels of the winter break, teams will converge upon Douglas for the annual Shane Shatto Memorial Invitational. That means these rankings could very well indicate who is the favorite going into one of the season’s benchmark meets.
The annual Charlie Lake Invitational at Cheyenne East featured some of the most consistent wrestling programs in the state for the opening weekend, while smaller in-state meets allowed other wrestlers to develop in a smaller spotlight. That helped lay the groundwork for the invitationals and early duals each of these teams competed in since.
Coaches and those polled now have the confidence to release the weekly rankings, which features standouts as well as new faces.
Returning champion Cheyenne East entered this season ranked at No. 4 despite returning standouts like Amos Solano. Emerging wrestling power Thunder Basin came into the rankings at No. 2 while long-time cornerstone Green River stands at No. 3. That allows last year’s runner-up, Kelly Walsh, to stand atop the Week 1 rankings.
The Trojans have impressed throughout the first two weeks, finishing second as a team at the Charlie Lake Invitational and seventh at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament. They were the top team from Wyoming in both meets.
Coming in at No. 1 for the Trojans is sophomore Analu Benabise (145 pounds) and Luke Nathan (182). Benabise won gold as a freshman at 138 and Nathan took third at 160 last season. The Trojans’ returning champion at 120 pounds, Jace Palmer, is ranked No. 2 at 132 pounds. Lane Jackson (113) and Kole Kraus (170) both came in second at their respective weights after fourth-place finishes last season for Kelly Walsh.
For Green River, Clayson Mele (106), Dominic Martinez (113), Kade Flores (120), Tanner Adam (152) and Payton Tucker (195) all earned No. 1 rankings. Martinez and Flores both come off wins at the Evanston Invitational and third-place finishes at the Warrior Classic. Martinez won the state championship at 106 last season.
The aforementioned Solano is No. 1 at 126 pounds after a fourth-place finish at Charlie Lake. Solano won the Ron Thon last year before finishing second at state at 120 pounds.
A trio of Rock Springs wrestlers all topped their respective weight classes: Ashton DuPape (132), Cameron Metcalf (138) and Tristan Profaizer (160). Metcalf and DuPape are coming off state championship seasons, while Metcalf not only won the Evanston Invitational but also the Monster Match Nationals, where he beat Jace Palmer by a 7-2 decision.
Thunder Basin duo Riley Mitchell (170) and Terren Swartz (220) also earned No. 1 rankings. Swartz recently committed to wrestle at the University of Wyoming and has yet to be beaten in Wyoming since last year’s Shane Shatto. Natrona County heavyweight Trevon Smith returns to defend his championship and stands No. 1 in his class.
No surprise as returning champion Star Valley retains top billing as the Braves return nine different state placers. Interestingly enough, however, the Braves only have three wrestlers ranked No. 1, with Tristan Hicks (126), Koa DeLong (170) and Parker Merritt (285) all earning that distinction. Hicks is currently 8-0, DeLong and Merritt are 7-1.
Powell ranked second as a team, largely because of Reese Karst (138), Brody Karhu (152) and Bo Dearcorn (182), the Panthers’ three top-ranked grapplers. Both Karst and Karhu return after state championship campaigns. It’s also worth noting Powell sophomore Emma Karhu is ranked second at 113 pounds a year after becoming the first girl to place at the Wyoming state wrestling meet.
Adam Bankert (120) and Domanic Hartley (113) of Worland also earned No. 1 rankings. They both struggled through the large Rapid City Invitational although Hartley rebounded to go 6-0 at the Battle of the Big Horns. Bankert went 5-1 at 126 pounds at the annual meet hosted by Worland.
Lyman freshman Sefton Douglass has burst onto the scene for a No. 1 ranking at 106. Before finishing third at the Evanston Invite he won the Cadet 94-100 weight class at the USA Western States Championships. He also won the Rocky Mountain Nationals for 15-under at 88 pounds in March.
Kale Corley, Newcastle’s returning state champion at 120, earned the top spot at 132 pounds. Riverton’s Ridge Briggs (145) tops his weight class after going 6-0 at the Battle of the Big Horns. Torrington’s Jacob Polkowske leads 160 after winning the Charlie Lake. Returning runner-up Cody Pinkerton of Douglas stands atop 195 pounds after winning the Charlie Lake and going 6-0 at the Battle of the Big Horns. Wheatland senior Wyatt Crane (220) also earned a No. 1 ranking following a third-place finish at the Charlie Lake.
The tight team race begins with Kemmerer ranked No. 1 ahead of Moorcroft (second), Cokeville (third) and Glenrock (fourth).
Three of Kemmerer’s four top-ranked grapplers are defending state champions. Dawson Schramm (126), Donny Proffit (145) and Hayden Walker (195) all won gold last year and so far have finished at least second in the opening two weeks. Proffit is going for a four-peat this year while Schramm is a two-time champion. Then there’s Colter Julian, ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds, who finished third last season.
Moorcroft duo Parker Seeley (138) and Rowdy Pfiel (170) also earned top billing. Both won at the Tiger Invitational and held their own at the larger Pat Weede Memorial.
Ammon Teichert (152) is the only No. 1 wrestler from Cokeville in the Week 1 rankings. Teichert finished second as a junior last season. Sundance junior Myles Stefanich (106), who finished second last year as well, leads his weight class.
The Glenrock duo of Tate Stoddard (113) and Ian Arnold (182) topped their weight classes. Stoddard, a three-time champion, took fifth at Charlie Lake and Arnold, who finished second last year, won the Charlie Lake.
Alex Nicholson (120) and Coy Trainor (220), both of Lovell, earned No. 1 spots. Nicholson won the Powell Invitational and went 6-0 at the Battle of the Big Horns. Trainor, a returning state champion, has not competed in Lovell’s two opening meets.
Wright standout Dax Yerardi (160), a runner-up last year, and Big Piney heavyweight Asencion Pelham (285), the returning state champion, also earned No. 1 spots.