The Sandpoint High School wrestling team has yet to win a tournament this season.
But that’s incredibly deceiving, especially considering the Bulldogs will likely run away with another State A-1 championship come March.
After a runner-up finish at Tri-State, the Bulldogs took third last weekend at the Tiger-Grizzly Tournament in Idaho Falls.
“It was a little tougher than Tri-State,” Sandpoint coach Dan Taylor said. The Bulldogs captured third with just nine wrestlers as unbeaten Tri-State 130-pound champion Trevor Walkington (11-0) is out with a broken wrist. He’ll return in two weeks.
“It’s phenomenal what we’re doing with nine and 10 guys,” Taylor said.
The Lawrence brothers (Jared, a freshman, and Brett, a junior) won individual titles. But the story of the tournament was sophomore Pat Larson, a state champion last year as a freshman.
Larson had to win a pigtail match to wrestle at Idaho Falls. The 140-pounder won all five of his matches by pin to earn the outstanding wrestler honor. Larson, 14-2 overall, also won an award for most pins in the tourney as well as most pins in the least amount of time.
He spent a combined 6 minutes and 36 seconds on the mat, and 4:35 of that came in the championship match against hometown wrestler Jake Phippen. Larson fell behind 7-0 to Phippen before he pinned the top-seeded wrestler early in the third period.
Larson pinned his other four opponents in 31, 46, 11 and 33 seconds.
The Lawrences were both seeded second in their weights. At 103, Jared had a pin and three decisions as he defeated top-seeded Josh Bales of Capital 9-5 in the final.
At 119, two-time Idaho state champion Brett Lawrence had two pins and a decision to reach the championship match. He manhandled top seed Leon Castille of Green River, Wyo., 9-2.
Both Lawrences are 15-0.
Wasatch of Heber City, Utah, took the team title with 142.5 points. Green River was runner-up at 129.5 and Sandpoint third with 127.
Tri-State a $uccess
North Idaho College wrestling coach John Owen reports that the Tri-State Tournament was a financial success, drawing a record $5,000 in gate receipts (not including team entry fees).
Now all Tri-State officials have to do is get the tournament format under control.
The tournament began at 8:30 a.m. the first day with 510 participants and didn’t conclude until 1:15 a.m. the next morning. That’s way, way, way too much wrestling.
“We need to cut it back to about 400 wrestlers,” Owen said.
The first day went longer than expected largely because of 75 pigtail matches.