Kemmerer wrestling teams shine at Ron Thon
Proffit wins third Ron Thon title; Julander wins first
Consistently billed as the toughest wrestling tournament in the state, the Ron Thon Memorial Tournament in Riverton pits the top wrestlers in Wyoming in each weight class against each other, regardless of classification — a true “Best of the Best” competition.
The Kemmerer High School wrestling teams proved up to the challenge over the weekend, with the Rangers and Lady Rangers combining for two individual champions, three runners-up and six total trips to the podium.
The Rangers finished 13th as a team — the top 2A finisher in the field — while the Lady Rangers placed ninth, with all three wrestlers that competed reaching the finals in their respective weight classes. On the JV side, the Rangers placed second overall as a team, the highest finish for a Kemmerer JV squad at the Ron Thon Memorial.
“I was really impressed with our teams, especially our JV kids,” said KHS head coach Darrell Bullington. “I think that’s the first time we’ve placed in the Top 3 in that tournament, so there were a lot of good performances there. And to have five kids make it to the finals on the varsity side, that’s the big one, you know? This is all the teams in the state, so to get that far is a pretty good deal.”
Ranger junior Roany Proffit won his third consecutive Ron Thon championship at 126 pounds, though it wasn’t always easy; against Green River’s Spencer Wright in the finals, Proffit overcame a 5-0 deficit to win a 7-5 decision. Kaylie Julander won the championship at 140 pounds to become the Lady Rangers’ second-ever Ron Thon champion, pinning Shoshoni’s Lacoda Kiser in the title match.
Gabe Emery (157 pounds), Rylie Meyer (100 pounds) and Laynee Walker (120 pounds) finished as runners-up, while Owen Barton placed fourth (215 pounds).
After pinning two of his first three opponents and winning the other by a major decision, 126-pound champion Roany Proffit squared off against Star Valley’s Caleb Morrison in the semifinals, winning an 8-1 decision. Proffit found himself in a battle against Green River’s Spencer Wright in the finals, with Wright scoring back points and taking a 5-0 lead. The two-time defending champion showed his grit by battling back to win a close 7-5 decision, and his third Ron Thon title.
“Roany made us all a little nervous — twice in the tournament, he battled back from being down 5-0,” Bullington said. “That takes a lot of mental toughness to do that — you spend half the first period on your back; it takes something special to come back from that.”
At 157 pounds, Gabe Emery won his first four matches, including an impressive 5-4 decision over Cokeville’s Micah Petersen in the semifinals; Petersen beat Emery in the finals at last year’s 2A State Wrestling Championships. In the championship match, Emery lost a 9-1 decision to Thunder Basin’s Jais Rose, last year’s Ron Thon champion at 152 pounds.
“Gabe wrestled really well — he had a pretty tough kid in the finals,” Bullington said. “He did a good job getting to that point, and he beat Petersen again from Cokeville, the returning state champ at his weight, so that was good.”
At 215 pounds, Owen Barton compiled a 4-1 record en route to the third-place match; he lost to Rock Springs’ Ian Dickinson to finish fourth.
Other Ranger wrestlers who scored points at Ron Thon included Bryce Brown