The last action on the mats in the high school wrestling season is this weekend with the state championships.

Laramie heads to Casper to wrestle at the Ford Wyoming Center with 16 state qualifiers. The first-round action starts at 9 a.m. on Friday.

The Plainsmen return three wrestlers that were state placers a year ago. That’s Fischer Hawkins, Liam Knerr, and Dakota Ledford. LHS finished in tenth place in the team standings.

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Laramie head coach Stuart Brinkman says for his team to improve over the last couple of years it’s about confidence.

“Making sure we’re not overlooking anyone. I actually told them to not even check the brackets. Don’t look at the brackets. Show up for your match, get ready, go out there, and wrestle.”

KOWB’s David Settle talked with three Plainsmen wrestlers. Senior Fischer Hawkins was a placer last year, sophomore Porter Trabing, who was runner-up at regionals last weekend, and sophomore Dakota Ledford, who was a state runner-up last year. We offer our apologies, the audio with Mr. Hawkins' interview somehow glitched, and we're not sure why.

After last weekend at the regional tournament, Brinkman believes his guys can contend with anyone.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about all year. Making sure we’re ready with our mindset, and we compete.”

Brinkman is also not concerned about the atmosphere at the state tournament. He said this will be the second-smallest tournament they’ve competed at this season.

Brinkman added one of the biggest keys for his guys will be, “Shot defense. I feel like guys were getting in on our legs (last weekend) too easily, and also, leg defense on the bottom position. We worked on bottom (position), pretty much two full days (at practice), so they should be good on bottom (position) now. Hopefully, they’re moving more and scoring.”

The rest of the tournament schedule includes quarterfinals and the start of wrestlebacks on Friday afternoon. The semifinals are at 7 p.m. on Friday. Saturday starts with more wrestlebacks. The placing rounds begin at 1 o’clock on Saturday, and the championship matches are Saturday at 3:45 p.m.

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