CASPER – The Torrington High School wrestling team brought back seven medals from the Class 3A State Wrestling Championship at the Casper Events Center, including a pair of runner-up medals.
“The really good thing is, we placed seven kids,” THS coach Doyle Meyer said. “We brought 15 and placed almost half of them. That was pretty exciting.”
Seniors Jacob Polkowske and Brandon Bennick led the Blazer charge, reaching the state title bouts on Friday evening.
At 160 pounds, Polkowske picked up a pair of pins, including one over teammate Kevin Ferguson in the opening round.
Polkowske then defeated a pair of Star Valley wrestlers later in the day on Friday to reach Saturday’s championship match.
In the championship match, Polkowske and Worland’s Luke Goncalves battled to a draw after the first period. Goncalves picked up a near fall in the second period before pulling away for a 9-0 major decision to claim the 160-pound championship.
In the heavyweight bracket, Bennick pinned his way to the championship match defeating Powell’s Sawyer Mauthe, Douglas’ Edel Diaz-Jamie and Rawlins’ Kie Foster to reach the championship.
In the title bout, Bennick was pinned by Star Valley’s Parker Merritt in the third period. Bennick trailed 7-1 when Merritt capped off the match with the fall.
“The final matches are what they are. We lost those, but if you look at how much we improved,” Meyer said. “Brandon didn’t even place here last year and ended up taking second. Polkowske placed fifth last year and ended up being in the finals this year. If you look at it from gains, we did some really, really amazing things. We just fell a little bit short in the end.”
At 145 pounds, Tristen Kingsley was the lone Blazer to end the day with a victory.
After reaching the semifinal round, Kingsley was pinned by Riverton’s Ridge Briggs.
Kingsley bounced back to score a fall in the consolation semifinal and a 5-3 decision over Buffalo’s Clay Reiner to claim third, avenging a loss from the Regional Tournament the week before.
The other four placers – Quentin Meyer, Casey Britton, Josh Kingsley and Riley Grubbs – finished sixth.
Meyer fell to Powell’s Michael Maddox by a 7-5 decision in the 126-pound bracket. Meyer ended the weekend with a 2-3 record.
Britton finished state with a 3-3 record after falling to Wheatland’s Seth DeWitt in the opening round and in the fifth-place match of the 152-pound bracket. It was the first time Britton had placed at state in his high school career.
At 170 pounds, Josh Kingsley lost his first match in the quarterfinal round. He battled back to reach the fifth-place match before falling to Boe Clayson of Burns-Pine Bluffs.
In the 195-pound bracket, Rhiley Grubbs also lost in the quarterfinal round before winning two straight to reach the consolation semifinal. Grubbs was pinned in his two final matches of the season.
Pake Haun (132 pounds), Austin Fox (138), Tyler Juma (170), Gabe Mitchell (182) and Brandon Deen (220) earned at least one win on Friday before being eliminated.
“We’ve also got a lot of young kids who are going to benefit from the experience this year,” Meyer said.
Torrington ended the season sixth in the final team standings with 98 points. Star Valley ran away with the team championship with 296.5 points. Douglas was second with 193.5 and Powell was third with 172.
“I just want to thank everyone who has ever supported the program,” Meyer said. “The true honor was mine to be a part of something this special and support by the community.”