The Braves had a terrific outing in Casper this year, racking up 233.0 team points but it wasn’t quite enough as the defending champion Powell Panthers finished with 241.5 and closed the door with a head-to-head victory in the 195 pound championship.
Star Valley had a slim chance to make a 19-point Panther lead evaporate in the finals, a lead which dwindled as the first five Powell finalists all lost their matches, some of them in outrageous fashion. The Braves had four individual champions overall out of their five finalists. After cutting the lead to 6.5 points, Zach Thompson defeated Jordan Semadeni via pin to bump the lead back to 12.5 and seal the repeat. Derrick Wolfley capped off a great Star Valley rally with a 2-1 victory over Worland’s Casey Hernandez.
The Braves got their first championship of the evening at 132 pounds as Carbon Kennington controlled Powell’s Andrew Feller for a 5-0 decision. It was sweet redemption for the senior who came up one point short last year as a junior. Kris Beach then defeated Cody’s Skyler Landerman 6-3 to win the 160 pound championship. Beech was a rare Star Valley move-in who capped off a terrific senior season with the victory.
The momentum kept building as Marshall Watkins manhandled Newcastle’s Merritt Crabtree for a second-period pin. It was one of three pins he collected in a dominating run to the 170 pound title.
Semadeni and Thompson traded reversals on three occasions before the Powell junior collected the pin with just eight seconds remaining in the match which he was leading by a point.
With the team title now out of reach, Wolfley matched his older brother in 2010 with an impressive run to the 220 title where he outlasted the Worland junior 2-1. Both Wolfleys won their title at 215/220 after not placing the season before.
It is the fourth state runner-up finish for Star Valley since last winning the state title in 2007, three of which came in the 4A ranks. In all, the Braves had 12 medalists this year, four of which will be eligible to return next season.
106: Jake Thompson (Soph) 6th, 113: Gabe Waldron (Sr) 5th, 126: Ian Anderson (Jr) 4th, 132: Carbon Kennington (Sr) 1st, 138: Cole Bagley (Sr) 3rd, 145: Austin Hoopes (Soph) 3rd, 160: Kris Beech (Sr) 1st, 170: Marshall Watkins (Sr) 1st, 182: Chris Erickson (Sr) 4th, 195: Jordan Semadeni (Sr) 2nd, 220: Derrick Wolfley (Sr) 1st, 285: Colton Trisler (Jr) 4th.