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Branch Bolsters Wrestling Roster with Transfers and Late Signees

 

University of Wyoming wrestling head coach Mark Branch announced a half dozen signees Tuesday. Three transfers and a trio of high schoolers are set to join the Cowboys ahead of the 2024-25 season.

A pair of the transfer additions competed in the NCAA Championships this past season. In addition, two of the high schoolers joining the fray won an individual state title this past year.

Below is a list of the signees.

Jared Hill (Oklahoma)
Hill is a 157-pounder who spent his first three seasons at the University of Oklahoma. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
“Jared obviously has experience in the Big 12 and at the NCAA Championships, but he is hungry to be an All-American and looking to develop here and get that done,” Branch said. “He will not only strengthen our lineup, but he will also be key in strengthening and developing the guys in our room. I’m excited to see his impact.”
Hill has qualified for the NCAA Championships each of the past two seasons, compiling a combined 1-4 record once there. He finished sixth at both the 2023 and 2024 Big 12 Tournaments, and his most recent conference tourney run featured an upset of the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals. Hill owns a 38-30 career record.
Hill hails from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where he attended Broken Arrow High School. He was a part of two team state titles and claimed one individual championship.

Sam Mitchell (Buffalo)
Mitchell is a heavyweight who spent his first five seasons at the University at Buffalo. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
“Sam is a great kid, and I think he will be key in adding to the culture of our team,” Branch said. “He will give us depth at the upper weights and is going to be very versatile for us. This is his last year, and we expect him to go out with a bang.”
Mitchell qualified for his first NCAA Championships this past season while competing at 197 pounds and went 1-2. He took second at the MAC Tournament in 2024, a year after coming in third. Mitchell owns a career record of 66-44.
Mitchell hails from Marshfield, Wisconsin, where he attended Marshfield High School. While there he claimed an individual state title as a senior.

Brant Whitaker (Missouri)
Whitaker is a 165-pounder who has made stops at NC State and Missouri. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
“We recruited Brant out of high school, and we really liked him,” Branch said. “He’s a guy that can compete for us at a few weights, and he will be a strong competitor looking to fight his way into the lineup.”
Whitaker has held down a reserve role at Missouri the last couple of seasons. He’s compiled a career record of 20-12.
Whitaker hails from Boonville, Missouri, where he attended Boonville High School and Father Tolton Catholic High School. He won three individual state titles, one at Boonville and the final two at Father Tolton.



Antonio Avila (Gillette, Wyoming)
Avila is a 141-pounder from the northeast portion of state. He marks the fifth Thunder Basin High School grad currently on the Pokes’ roster.
“Antonio is the cream of the crop here in Wyoming,” Branch said. “He has been at our camps for years, and he has so much pride for the Brown and Gold. We really love the prospect of what he can do wrestling for his home state.”
Avila recently closed the book on an illustrious prep career. He claimed an individual state title each of his four seasons as a Bolt, and helped his team seize a team championship as a senior.

Christian Herrera (Bakersfield, California)
Herrera is a 149-pounder from California’s Central Valley. He attended Bakersfield High School.
“Christian keeps our California connection strong,” Branch said. “He competed well in one of the toughest weights in one of the toughest states, and I think he has a huge upside to develop.”
Herrera qualified for the state tournament this past season. He won a pair of matches before bowing out in the quarterfinals.

Westen Hoffschneider (Castle Rock, Colorado)
Hoffschneider is a 197-pounder from the Denver area. He attended Ponderosa High School.
“Westen is a tough kid whose dad played football and wrestled here,” Branch said. “He is a strong, solid upper weight, and he brings a great work ethic to our program. He will push our guys to the limit, and we need that toughness in the room.”
Hoffschneider claimed a 5A individual state championships this past year. He also has a second- and third-place finish at the state tournament to his name, as well.

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