Feb 11, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorIt was the first championship ever by a Dubpos wrestler at the state's biggest tournament.
Dubois wrestler Sterling Baker surprised himself and the packed Ron Thon Memorial Invitational crowd when he pinned Powell's Riley Stringer for the 220-pound title in 21 seconds.
The victory was the first ever Ron Thon title won by a Dubois wrestler at the Ron Thon tournament, the biggest regular-season tournament of the wrestling tournament annually.
This year, 42 of Wyoming's 43 high school teams participated at Wolverine Gym in Riverton.
Baker's win established him as one of the top gladiators Wyoming high school wrestling.
"It wasn't what I was expecting," said Baker about the quick pin.
"I'm happy, but I like going three rounds with people. When it comes down to it, I will do whatever it takes."
Baker placed third at the Ron Thon his junior season.
"It's great to be the first one from Dubois to win a Ron Thon title," Baker said.
He notched a 4-0 record in the two-day tournament.
"That same takedown has been really working well for me," Baker said. "I didn't expect the cradle to be there."
The big senior now can add the Ron Thon title to his long sports resume.
"It means everything to me because I have been working for the Ron Thon championship my entire life," Baker said.
Baker has been at both 195 pounds or 220 pounds during the regular season.
"Baker likes to wrestle certain kids," Dubois coach David Trembly said. "We kind of pick week by week who is at the given tournament to decide who he wrestles."
Baker was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament in the higher weights.
Cheyenne Central's Bryce Meredith was the MOW in the lower weights.
Baker said he can't wait for the regional and state tournament later on this month.
"I'm really excited for that," Baker said.
Baker will drop down to 195 pounds for his postseason run.
Ron Thon matches
Saturday started well for Baker when he won a 5-2 decision over Sheridan's Tory Music in the semifinals.
"My semifinal match was pretty tough," Baker said. "I'm glad that I'm just getting better."
Baker had two takedowns and an escape to put up the win.
Music and Baker faced each other twice at a Powell tournament at the start of the year.
Music beat Baker early in the tournament, but the Dubois Ram came back in the finals for the win.
Baker claimed a major decision victory against Garrett Boner from Douglas 10-1 in the quarterfinals of the Ron Thon.
Baker had a bye in the first round and pinned Green River's Matthew Medina in 44 seconds in the second round for a perfect showing at the tournament.
"Coach Monte Baker and Sterling have been waiting for that match to happen for a long time," Trembly said. "It was exciting for them."
Trembly was shocked at how quick the match lasted in the championship.
"Sterling went out and worked hard at it," Trembly said. "The opportunity was there, and he took advantage of it."
The Shoshoni Wranglers earned a number of wins in the varsity division but came up just short in placing anybody in the top six.
Danny Huxtable produced a 2-2 mark at 126 pounds. J.J. Crichton was 2-2 at 160 pounds.
Teammate Alex Minge earned a 2-2 tournament record at 170 pounds.
Connor Wilkinson finished the double-elimination tournament 1-2 in the 120-pound division.
Patrick Forster also claimed a 2-2 mark.
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