For the first time in four years, the Laramie Plainsmen wrestling team has a state champion. It’s freshman Caden Polson.

Polson captured the 106-pound division last Saturday at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

The freshman defeated Tristen Tromble from Natrona County in the championship match thanks to a 7-4 decision.

It wasn’t an easy road for Caden, as he had to survive takedowns by his opponents in two matches, which included the title match, plus a sudden victory in the semifinals.

KOWB’s David Settle caught up with Mr. Polson to get his perspective on the weekend he had, those tough matches, what led to the turnaround, and more in the video at the top of this story.

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Laramie head coach Stuart Brinkman was very happy for Caden, saying he was super nervous going into the first round.

“He was shaking. The coaches and I sat him down and had a good conversation with him. I actually talked about soccer for one hour just to get his mind off of wrestling. (He) goes out and wins that first match, and then he didn’t have any more nerves.”

Polson won by fall in his first-round match. He won his quarterfinal over a wrestler from Kelly Walsh with a 6-0 decision. In the semis, Polson matched up against Kaden Orr from NC.

Brinkman said this was a senior that had experience in the finals before.

“Caden got taken down twice in the first period, but he ended up getting a reversal or escape. He kept the match super-close. We ended up breaking the kid in the third period. You could just see it on his face.”

The match went to overtime, which is where Polson made his move.

“Caden bites his mouthpiece. He shakes his head, yes. He’s ready to go. Takes him down right off the bat. It was such a good feeling.”

The match ended 8-6.

The championship was a rematch from the regional weekend, where Polson lost, 13-2.

Brinkman added, “We knew how Caden was wrestling, we had a shot. The kid got two early takedowns. We kept wrestling, and then at the end of the second and third period, that’s when Caden turned things around.”

Laramie finished with three more state placers. Sophomore Dakota Ledford was runner-up for a second straight state tournament. This time at 132 pounds. He lost a 7-1 decision to Liam Fox from Cheyenne East.

We talked with Ledford about his weekend and that championship match.

Brinkman said of Ledford, “We ended up staying underneath him (Fox) a little too long, got caught in a cradle and put to our back, but Dakota wrestled a really good tournament. He wrestled his heart out in the finals, as well.”

Sophomore Porter Trabing (106) and senior Chris Alvarez (145) both placed sixth in their weight class.

The Plainsmen scored 75 team points and place ninth in the standings.

Brinkman said overall, “There were tons of upsets (at state wrestling). We had a couple of guys going into state that we thought had a shot at placing, but some crazy things happened those first two rounds. Besides that, for Chris Alvarez, this is like the second time he’s ever placed at a tournament. For Porter Trabing, he wrestled pretty well up until his final match.”

As for Polson, Brinkman said, “We didn’t expect him to make the finals, but he had the best tournament of his life.”

Three of Laramie’s four state placers will return to next year’s team.

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