Two Wyoming high school wrestlers attained All-America honors on Saturday at the NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and neither started the day in the championship bracket.
Kelly Walsh’s Analu Benabise and Kemmerer’s Hayden Walker fought through the consolation bracket on Saturday to secure All-American honors and Sunday matches for fifth place. All-American status is earned by wrestlers who finish in the top eight of their respective weight class and division.
Benabise entered the consolation bracket at the second Round of 16 and scored four consecutive victories, one by pin and three by decision, before falling in the consolation semifinals. The two-time state champion will face Gavin Quiocho of West Virginia for fifth place on Sunday.
Walker fell by a close 7-5 decision in the Round of 64 on Friday, setting the stage for eight matches on Saturday. He scored three pinfalls, including one over Pinedale’s Kolby Carson, and three decisions before losing in the consolation semifinals by decision. The three-time state champion and Rocky Mountain Nationals runner-up will face Nebraska’s Dillyn Miller, a two-time state champion and Fargo All-American, for fifth place.
Thunder Basin’s Terren Swartz was the only Wyoming high school wrestler to start the day in the championship bracket but was eliminated early with two consecutive losses, both by decisions (8-7 and 5-3). That ended the future Wyoming Cowboy wrestler’s run of three consecutive All-American finishes at the event. Sheridan’s Reese Osborne, the only other Wyomingite to wrestle into the mid-afternoon, scored three straight wins in the consolation bracket before getting eliminated by pin in the consolation Round of 8.
Pinedale’s Cody Phelps lost his only match on Friday only to rally on Saturday with four consecutive wins before getting eliminated via a 7-4 decision.
Thunder Basin’s Seamus Casey scored three straight consolation wins before losing by pinfall. Bolts teammate Dalton McInerney and Kelly Walsh’s Jace Palmer also won three consolation matches before getting eliminated.
Hunter Goodwin of Sheridan earned two victories, one by decision and one by pinfall, in the consolation bracket before getting eliminated. That was also the case for Keegan Gehlhausen (Pinedale), Kevin Anderson (Kelly Walsh), Warren Carr (Thunder Basin), Carson Cantu (Pinedale), Riley Mitchell (Thunder Basin) and Colton Gehlhausen (Pinedale). One of Cantu’s two victories came via pinfall against fellow Wyomingite Dylen Johnston.
Sheridan’s Rudy Osborne scored a pin in his only consolation win before getting eliminated. Sheridan teammate Justin Vela, Natrona County’s Kyler Henderson and Green River’s Payton Tucker, along with the Pinedale trifecta of Ethan Carson, Kolby Carson and Kadar Criddle, all notched one consolation win on Saturday before getting eliminated.
Dylan Catlin (Thunder Basin), Hayden Crow (Sheridan), Landon Trujillo (Cheyenne East), Cody Pinkerton (Douglas), Brock Steel (Sheridan), Ridge Briggs (Riverton), Rowdy Pfeil (Moorcroft) and Dylen Johnston (Thunder Basin) all were eliminated in their first and only consolation matches on Saturday.