1 STAR POWER: Three-time defending state champ Star Valley graduated four gold medalists from last year’s team, but the Braves are still the heavy favorites to make it four in a row. The main reason is depth –26 state qualifiers – and quality as they return eight wrestlers who finished on the podium, including two silver medalists.
2 PANTHERS PRIDE: Powell’s fourth-place finish last year marked the first time since 2006 that it didn’t finish in the top three of the team standings. Don’t expect that to continue, though, as the Panthers return two-time state champ Reece Karst and defending state champ Brody Karhu and finished second at the West Regional and fourth at Ron Thon.
3 MOVIN’ ON UP: Burns/Pine Bluffs finished 13th in Class 2A last year, marking its first finish outside the top 10 since 2012. It might find itself in a similar position this weekend after moving up to 3A. But the team could make some individual noise with Boe Clayson, Kyle Thurin, Lash Branigan and Ben Banville.
4 SEEKING REDEMPTION: Riverton junior Ridge Briggs won a state title at 113 as a freshman, but finished third at 132 last year after losing in the semifinals. This year, competing at 145, Briggs won the West Regional and enters state with the No. 1 ranking after compiling a 48-4 record for the season.
5 FIRST-ROUND FIREWORKS: At 106, No. 2 Jacob Guild of Star Valley faces No. 5 Emma Karhu of Powell and at 152, No. 2 Seth DeWitt of Wheatland takes on No. 6 Casey Britton of Torrington. Also, all eight wrestlers in the bottom half of the 138-pound bracket have won at least 20 matches this season.