1 BACK FOR MORE: Ten of the 14 wrestlers who won state championships last year return to defend their titles. The list includes three sophomores – Green River’s Dominic Martinez, Sheridan’s Reese Osborne and Kelly Walsh’s Analu Benabise – as well as KW’s Jace Palmer and Rock Springs’ Cameron Metcalf, who will both be going for their third titles.
2 REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: When Gillette won its 13th consecutive team title in 2015 the Camels had three state champions, five runners-up and four other placers. Kelly Walsh finished next to last and had just five wrestlers place in the top 6. This weekend, the Trojans are favored to capture their first state title while Gillette qualified just 12 wrestlers.
3 LITTLE BIG MEN: Beginning in 2014, Green River has had at least one state champion in the lower weight classes (106, 113, 120). Current Wyoming Cowboys wrestler Cole Verner got things started by taking gold at 113. Since 2014 the Wolves have seven individual titles in those three classes, capped by Dominic Martinez’s win at 106 last year.
4 DON’T I KNOW YOU? There will be four first-round matchups between teammates, two of which involve Kelly Walsh. KW senior Ryan Thapa takes on top-ranked junior teammate Jesus Alvarado at 220 even though there are two first-round byes in the weight class. Trojans Bode Draper and Kole Kraus face off in the first round at 170.
5 GROUP OF DEATH: The 132-pound weight class features two returning state champs in Jace Palmer from Kelly Walsh (120 last year) and Ashton Dupape from Rock Springs (126) as well as Natrona County’s Cyruss Meeks (3rd at 120), Evanston’s Kendell Cummings (5th at 126) and Green River’s Jacob Weipert (6th at 132).