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State Wrestling

Powell's Emma Karhu smiles after receiving her fifth-place medal at the Wyoming State High School Class 3A Wrestling Championships last year in Casper. 

Following another weekend of national wrestling tournaments, two Wyoming high school wrestlers returned home to give the Equality State three total All-Americans this off-season.

Kelly Walsh's Analu Benabise and Kemmerer's Hayden Walker both returned from the 2019 NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, Virginia, after earning sixth-place finishes in their respective divisions on Sunday. Their medals, coupled with the third-place medal Powell's Emma Karhu earned the previous weekend at the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, gives the state three All-American honorees so far.

Benabise lost by a gut-wrenching 6-5 decision in the fifth-place 145-pound match, sophomore division. The two-time defending state champion took a 4-2 lead early in the second period before falling behind 6-4 in just a 9-second span. Benabise scored an escape a minute later but couldn't score score anymore against Gavin Quiocho of West Virginia, ranked No. 13. Benabise finished the weekend 7-3.

Walker, who earned the No. 13 ranking at the tournament, lost his fifth-place match to unranked Dillyn Miller of Nebraska by 13-4 major decision. Walker, a three-time state champion, fell behind quickly on three separate first-period takedowns. Miller notched three additional takedowns in the second period and by that point the match was in-hand. Miller knocked Walker out of the championship round on the first day of competition with an 8-6 sudden victory. Walker went 7-3 on the weekend.

Powell sophomore Karhu earned a bronze medal and All-American honors the weekend prior, the first of her career at the USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals. Karhu completed a 4-1 weekend, losing only in the semifinals, with a 5-0 decision in the third-place match. Karhu, who wrestled in the 117-pound U16 division, joins Moorcroft's Charmayne DeLong and Buffalo's Jenna Elmlinger as female All-American wrestlers from Wyoming since 2015.

More Wyomingites could attain All-American honors at national tournaments throughout the summer.

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Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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