January 12, 2023 |

Two Rawlins middle school wrestlers won the USA Wrestling state tournament.

Hudson Baker and Caleb Lawrence, of Rawlins, are state middle school wrestling champions. Both Baker, who is in 8th grade, and Lawrence, a 6th grader, also won the Wyoming Amateur Wrestling Association’s Governor’s Award. According to the W.A.W.A. nominee application form, the governor’s award is “given to the outstanding wrestler for each age division and style from the past season.”

Noah Baker is the head coach of Rawtown Elite Wrestling, the training club in Rawlins which both Baker and Lawrence belong to. He is also Hudson’s father. He said both boys won in their respective weight classes during the December 17th W.A.W.A. state middle school tournament. Baker won the boys’ 95-pound class with a record of 22-0. With one extra bout, Lawrence ended the competition with a record of 22-1 in the 85-pound category. The Rawtown Elite head coach said he was excited and proud of the boy’s accomplishments.

This is Baker’s 3rd consecutive middle school state championship victory. Baker and Lawrence weren’t Carbon County’s only champions on the weekend of December 17th. Saratoga’s Ace Arnold earned 1st place in the boys 105-pound weight division.

Noah Baker, whose brother owns and operates a mixed martial arts training club in Rawlins, has been coaching wrestling for over 20 years. Rawtown Elite Wrestling is an off shoot of that MMA school. Baker said his focus is on teaching a small group of kids that are serious about the sport. Thanks to the dedication of both the children and their parents, Baker said his year-round training regimen has been successful.

State championships aren’t the only titles Baker and his wrestlers have their sights set on. With Rawlins being a relatively small town, the head coach said he trains his students to excel on a national stage.

By winning the state championship, Baker and Lawrence have qualified to represent Wyoming in the Amateur Athletic Unions’ National Middle School Duals in Des Moines, Iowa. Held each April, wrestling teams from across the country compete against one another in a pool-style tournament. In a pool competition, each team of wrestlers draws random opponents in their weight class. They must compete against every other wrestler in their respective pool. Baker has won All-American in both of his national appearances.

Rawtown Elite’s head coach said both boys have what it takes to prevail at the highest levels of the sport. He explained what he believes the key to success is.

A new season begins later this month. Hudson Baker will end his middle school career with a record of 77-1. He will compete for the Rawlins high school wrestling team next year. Caleb Lawrence has two more years of middle school bouts ahead of him. With his skills and drive, the Rawtown Elite head coach said Lawrence has the potential to beat Baker’s record.

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