March 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Wyoming coaches March Branch (left) and Chris Pendleton encourage wrestler Joe LeBlanc during a 184-pound wrestling match at the 2012 division I wrestling championship at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Carpenean-US PRESSWIRE
Mark Branch has built the Wyoming wrestling program into one of the top in the nation. While he is losing several of his top wrestlers to graduation, the team is adding plenty of talent with the new recruiting class. Five wrestlers signed with Wyoming in the early signing period and then three more were announced on Monday.
That gives the 2012 class eight members, five of which are four-time state champions and five have earned Senior National All-America status. Gone are familiar names like Joe LeBlance, Michael Martinez, Shane Onufer, Dallas Hintz and Chase Smith.
Let's take a look at this group of future Pokes.
Jake Elliott, Roseville, Calif. (Oakmont HS) - 149 pounds
Elliott was a California state champion and a two-time state finalist. He also finished third at Senior Nationals, giving him National High School Coaches Association All-America status.
Cole Ford, Elberta, Utah (Payson HS) - 141 pounds
Ford was a Utah state champion and a member of two-time team state champion Payson High School. His older brother is junior McCade Ford , who wrestled for the Pokes this season at 149 pounds.
Cole Mendenhall, Great Falls, Mont. (Great Falls HS) - 133/141 pounds
Mendenhall was a four-time Montana state champion and opened eyes with his performance at Senior Nationals. He finished second and earned NHSCA All-America honors.
Dylan Schumacher, Hays, Kan. (Thomas More Prep-Marian) - 133 pounds
Schumacher was a four-time Kansas state champion, along with a National High School Coaches Association All-America honoree. He was a multi-sport athlete, also.
Brent Havlik, Kimball, S.D. (Mitchell HS) - 165/174 pounds
Havlik was a three-time South Dakota state champion, an NHSCA All-American and a Disney Dual Silver medalist.
Ben Stroh, Chinook, Mont. (Chinook HS) - 184/197 pounds
Stroh was a four-time Montana state champion and a Junior National All-America honoree. He received interest from wrestling powers like Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan. Stroh's older brother, Robert, wrestled as a redshirt freshman for the Cowboys last season.
Jordan Hanson, Lander, Wyo. (Lander HS) - 285 pounds
Hanson was a Wyoming state champion at heavyweight in 2011 and 2012. He also was fourth at the state tournament in 2010 as a sophomore. Hanson didn't start wrestling until he was in high school, and stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 275 pounds.
Drew Templeman, Orting, Wash. (Orting HS) - 125 pounds
Templeman was a four-time state champion as well as a three-time NHSCA All-American. He has a reputation as a tireless worker and is quite adept in the classroom, as well.
Really a diverse class with athletes coming from California, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Washington and Wyoming. A number of weight classes are covered including heavyweight which had been a weak spot for the Pokes over the years.