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Cheyenne East's Jackson Hesford grapples with Rock Springs' Wyatt Martinez in the 132-pound third-place match on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at the Casper Events Center. Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Burns-Pine Bluffs

Coach: Dan Clayson

2017-18 finish: 13th at Class 2A state tournament

Returning medalist: Boe Clayson, jr. (fourth at 182 pounds).

About the Broncs: Junior Zach Cudney did not make the medal stand last season, but was fifth at 106 pounds during his freshman campaign. … Senior Mark Merryfield lost one match before the medal round last winter. He dropped a 2-1 decision to Lusk senior Pacen Gifford … Burns has its biggest team since Dan Clayson has been coach. The Broncs have several athletes logjammed in a couple of weight classes. “The good thing is we have a lot of tournaments we’ll go to where we can put two guys in the varsity bracket and two guys in the JV side,” Clayson said. “We can get a lot of guys experience that way.” … Boe Clayson has placed fourth at 182 pounds both of his first two seasons in Burns. … Dan Clayson thinks juniors Ben Banville and Kyle Thurin could make some noise in the postseason. … “We have some kids working hard, so I’m excited to see how we can do this season,” Clayson said.

Cheyenne Central

Coach: Kyle Brightman

2017-18 finish: Ninth at Class 4A state tournament

Returning medalists: Coby Goossen, sr. (fifth at 170 pounds); Mikel Hill, sr. (sixth at 220); Tanner Martin, sr. (sixth at 195); Brian Nicholson, sr. (fifth at 152).

About the Indians: Brightman said this year’s squad has the potential to be the most competitive he has had during his five seasons at the helm.

“We have five returning state placers, and the kids around them are close to getting there,” he said. “The competitiveness and mental toughness I have seen during practice has also been really good.

“I have had to kind of rein the kids back a little bit. It has been a process getting here, but we have 11 seniors who are really setting the tone.” … Junior Johnathan Vroman came up short of medaling last season, but placed fifth at 120 pounds as a freshman. … The bulk of Central’s experience lies in the upper weights. … “We’re going to try and fly under the radar and surprise some people this season,” Brightman said.

Cheyenne East

Coach: Thad Trujillo

2017-18 finish: Class 4A state champions

Returning medalists: Landin Eldridge, sr. (sixth at 152 pounds); Jackson Hesford, so. (third at 138); Jason Hoskins, jr. (fifth at 106); Lucas Robinett, so. (second at 113); Shawn Smith, sr. (third at 126); Amos Solano, jr. (second at 120).

About the Thunderbirds: East won its state championship without having an individual champion. … The T-Birds have most of their roster returning, but they also have a few athletes breaking into the lineup in the lower weight classes who Trujillo expects to contribute. He also expects some of his wrestlers who fell just short of the medal round to take that next step. “We had some guys who were really close, some guys who made the final and lost, and some guys who were in that third- and fourth-place match that came up just short of the final,” he said. “Those guys are all capable of getting to the next round. They worked a lot in the wrestling room and weight room during the offseason. They ran and worked out hard. They did all the right things.”

Cheyenne South

Coach: JoJo Ojeda

2017-18 finish: 11th at Class 4A state tournament

Returning medalist: Mikey Fischer, sr. (fourth at 126 pounds).

About the Bison: Senior Dominic Dominguez was eliminated from the state tournament one match shy of the medal round, dropping a 10-9 decision to Sheridan sophomore Hayden Crow. Senior Tyler Wilken didn’t qualify for state, but he and Dominguez could find themselves on the medal stand this winter. “They wrestled this summer and improved. They’re even starting to get in on my legs during practice,” Ojeda said. “That shows me they’ve improved their technique a lot. They’re not being timid or cautious on bottom. They’re getting up and out and not waiting on the other guys to do something.” … The Bison return six other athletes who competed at the state tournament. … Ojeda also expects freshman Sage Shrove and sophomore Shelton Balch to have an impact this season.

– Jeremiah Johnke, WyoSports

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