Branch, Pokes ink six new wrestlers on signing day
LARAMIE -- Wyoming head wrestling coach Mark Branch has announced the signings of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the University of Wyoming. Analu Benabise (Casper, Wyo.), Bryce Dauphin (Tuttle, Okla.), Paul Garcia (Bayard, Neb.), Aidan Noonan (Bernard, Iowa), Branden Pagurayan (Kapolei, Hawai’i), and Dorian Walters (Brookfield, Mo.) all signed letters of intent Wednesday.
“This is definitely the most unique signing class we have ever had due to COVID and it really exemplifies the hard work of so many people.” Said Branch
“We had to virtually take our campus and wrestling program into the homes of these fine young men since they could not come here and that was a unique challenge but these obstacles have opened new doors for us. We have had a chance to more readily showcase our program and show how special Wyoming is, and in turn, we are signing some very special individuals who will make a huge impact on our future.”
Analu Benabise | 157/165lbs. | Kelly Walsh HS | Casper, Wyo.
Benabise has had an impressive high school career so far, winning the state title three times while also earning All-American honors.Benabise already has some experience wrestling in Laramie as he competed in the 2019 Cowboy Open and finished third in the 149-pound amateur division bracket.
Bryce Dauphin | 157/165lbs. | Tuttle, Okla. | Tuttle HS
Dauphin wrestled in the state finals in back-to-back years finishing as runner-up in 2019 before winning the state title in 2020. He is also an All-American and currently ranked by Flo Wrestling as the No. 13 ranked wrestler in the country at 145 pounds.
Paul Garcia | 125lbs. | Scottsbluff HS | Bayard, Neb.
Garcia signs with Wyoming from Nebraska where he has racked up three state titles and three district titles so far in his high school career. Garcia has also earned All-American honors.
Aidan Noonan | 133lbs. | Cascade HS | Bernard, Iowa
So far Noonan has won three Iowa State Titles and is highly-touted by Flo Wrestling. He is ranked as the No. 9 wrestler in the country at 132 lbs. and is listed as the 83rd-ranked overall prospect in the class of 2021.Noonan will head into his senior season at Cascade on an 87-match winning streak.
Branden Pagurayan | 141lbs. | Kapolei HS | Kapolei, Hawai’i
Pagurayan comes to Wyoming from Hawai’i where he has currently won three state titles and holds an overall record of 103-4 throughout his career.
Dorian Walters | 184/197lbs. | Lathrop HS | Lathrop, Mo.
After finishing as the state runner-up in 2019, Walters finished 2020 as the Missouri State Champion. Walters also has two district titles under his belt along with a 6th place finish in the 2018 USAW Preseason nationals.