Branch Signs Four to 2017-18 Class

LARAMIE, Wyo. (Nov. 15, 2016) – Four student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to future their academic and athletic careers as members of the Wyoming wrestling program, head coach Mark Branch announced today. The newest Pokes are Cale Davidson, Hayden Hastings, Carless Looney and Casey Randles.

“I feel really good in the coverage that we were able to get in this fall signing period,” UW head coach Mark Branch opened. “We explicitly focused on our upper weights and put a lot of effort into that area as we knew it was a serious concern of ours for the makeup of this team. It’s advantageous for us to get a couple of in-state guys, as that is not always possible each year. It was a great place for us to start and then add a couple more very talented wrestlers that are from out of state. The coverage these guys will give us between the 165 and 197 weights is really going to help the depth we are looking for in the upper weights and also strengthen the competiveness we have.”

Cale Davidson | Wichita, Kans. | Goddard High School

Davidson is projected to be a 197/285-pound wrestler for the Cowboys. He took third in Kansas as a sophomore then helped lead his team to a 2016 championship, as he was a state champion. Additionally, Davidson was USAW Jr. National Folkstyle All-American. He won the Midwest Nationals at 182 pounds and also placed third at the Rocky Mountain Nationals.

“Cale (Davidson) has a great build for 197,” Branch said. “It’s not out of the question for him to grow into heavyweight during his career.  We discovered him at folkstyle nationals and I think the potential here is endless.”

Hayden Hastings | Dayton, Wyo. | Sheridan High School

Hastings will compete at the 165/174-pound weight class for UW. He is a three-time finalist and two-time high school state champion and earned All-American honors after a fourth-place finish at the NHSCA High School Nationals. Hasting’s junior season also featured a title at the Ron Thon Memorial tournament and a third-place finish at the ultra competitive Reno Tournament of Champions. Furthermore, Hastings is ranked No. 18 on Intermat.

“Hayden (Hastings) has competed at the national level and has gone above and beyond the effort to find the stiffest competition,” Branch mentioned. “He beat some nationally ranked guys this summer in Fargo and placed at the highly competitive RTOC.  We are lucky to be able to keep him in state.”

Carless Looney | Laramie, Wyo. | Laramie High School

Looney will wrestler at the 184-pound weight class for the Brown and Gold. He was a Ron Thon champion in addition to being a 2016 high school state champion and also a NHSCA Freshman All-American. He took second as a sophomore and sixth as a junior. Additionally, Looney wrestles for former Cowboy wrestler Mikah Kadera. 

“Carless (Looney) has really matured physically the last year and has spent a lot of time training in out RTC,” Branch added. “He, like Hayden, has traveled for years to wrestle the best and it’s paying off.  He could also get bigger and when you have a kid this talented in your backyard, you have keep him.”

Casey Randles | Coeur d’Alene, Idaho | Coeur d’Alene High School

Randles is projected to compete for the Brown and Gold at the 174/184-pound weight class. He was twice a high school state champion including a perfect 32-0 as a junior. He finished third in Idaho as a freshman and is looking to finish with three titles once his high school career is over. Randles was the 2016 Western Regional freestyle champion, and won the prestigious Tri-State tournament as a junior. He was a cadet folkstyle National runner-up and he has been coached by Jake Rosholt, who was recruited and coached by Branch and won three NCAA titles at Oklahoma State. He was also a USAW National All-American after placing third.

“I met Casey (Randles) when he was probably five years old at a camp in his hometown of Sandpoint, Idaho, Branch said. “He comes from an amazing program and his father has coached him his entire life.  He knows wrestling, and he’s a stud who can score from every position.”

The Cowboy’s open the dual portion of their schedule by hosting Nebraska on Sunday. The dual will begin at 3:30 p.m. MT in the UniWyo Sports Complex.