The second annual Trojan Border War gets underway on Friday afternoon at Kelly Walsh High School.
The round-robin tournament was the brain child devised by the Kelly Walsh athletic department, including former principal Brad Diller. And after a successful first meet, which saw Star Valley come away with the newly minted trophy, teams return from inside Wyoming and from bordering states for another shot at gold.
Once again the four in-state teams are Kelly Walsh, Natrona County, Douglas and Star Valley. Rapid City (South Dakota) Central; and North Platte, Nebraska, return to Casper for another year while two new out-of-state teams will compete. Fruita (Colorado) Monument; and Alliance, Nebraska, join the action this year in favor of the Montana and Idaho schools that finished in the bottom two spots at last year’s meet.
The first duals are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. inside the main gym at Kelly Walsh.
Weigh-ins will not be conducted until shortly before action begins on Friday so wrestlers at each weight class remain projected. Still, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the field should be loaded.
Among in-state teams, there’s plenty of competition. Current Class 4A No. 1-ranked Kelly Walsh hosts, alongside longtime Class 3A leader Star Valley. Natrona County ranks No. 6 in Class 4A in the latest team rankings while Douglas stands at No. 5 in 3A.
The marquee match between the two top-ranked teams, Kelly Walsh and Star Valley, is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday.
North Platte brings multiple ranked wrestlers. Jaylan Ruffin (113) is ranked No. 3 in Nebraska’s second-largest classification as a junior, sophomore Darian Diaz is the top-ranked wrestler at 126 pounds and sophomore Cash Arensdorf (160) is ranked No. 5.
Alliance has three ranked wrestlers in the same classification: No. 4 sophomore Paul Ruff (120), No. 6 Asa Johnson (138) and No. 6 Bailey Hood (220).
Fruita Monument does not have any individuals ranked in the latest Colorado poll. South Dakota wrestling rankings weren’t available, although Rapid City Central does return a second-place finisher at last year’s state championships in Cael Larson (106).