Jared Lawrence didn’t need any luck to win at Reno.
By capturing an individual title at the Nevada event that bills itself as the nation’s toughest, Lawrence cleared the biggest hurdle toward an undefeated career.
He dominated the 130-pound division last weekend. The only points Lawrence has allowed this season have come when he’s cut opponents loose so he could score more points.
One of his five victories at Reno was a first-period pin of Central Valley senior Shane Cunanan, a favorite to win a state title. In the championship match, Lawrence easily defeated a three-time Nevada state champion (from a school two blocks from the tourney site) 11-2.
Lawrence, who’s headed to the University of Minnesota, is 109-0 overall, 15-0 this season. He became the first four-time winner in the 26-year history of Tri-State just before the holidays.
“He was phenomenal at Reno,” Sandpoint coach Eric Langley said.
Lawrence, whose toughest competition is behind him now, should coast to his fourth state title and become just the second wrestler in A-1 history to complete an unbeaten career.
An unbeaten career is the last of three goals he set this year. For the second straight year Lawrence is ranked No. 1 in the nation at his weight.
Sandpoint finished 17th out of 34 teams in the high-powered tourney. Central Valley was 21st.
Defending A-1 champ Idaho Falls served notice that it will bulldoze the competition at state in late February. Idaho Falls finished second, just four points behind champion Choctaw (Okla.), the top-ranked team in the country.
Idaho Falls would have won the team title had defending state heavyweight champ Phil Coburn won his final. Idaho Falls had two other wrestlers finish third, one fifth and one sixth.
Sandpoint had another placer. Senior Joe Tuinstra, in his first action after serving a two-week suspension, placed third at 171 to earn All-American status. Senior Cody Crawford (125) and freshman Jake Rosholt (135) were one win away from placing.
The first team and individual wrestling rankings in Idaho were released in late December.
Even before the Reno tournament, Idaho Falls was the runaway team in A-1 with 11 wrestlers ranked. Minico is second with nine wrestlers and Sandpoint third with five among the top six in each weight.
Post Falls (eighth) was the only other North Idaho team ranked among the top 10. Four Trojans were ranked.
Sandpoint’s Lawrence, Crawford and Jake Macdonald (103) were rated No. 1. Post Falls’ Al Mack (112) and Matt Smith (heavyweight) were both ranked second.
In the A-2, Weiser is ranked No. 1. Priest River (eighth) and Bonners Ferry (10th) represent North Idaho.
Defending state champ Jake Stark of Priest River (145) is the lone Intermountain League wrestler rated atop his weight class. The next highest rated IML wrestler is Bonners Ferry’s Winter Braden (second at 130).
Several North Idaho football players received final season honors when All-State selections were announced in late December.
Seven Panhandle players were tabbed first team. They were: Sandpoint senior wide receiver Caleb Bowman in A-1; Lakeland junior linebacker Harrison Bertsch, Lakeland senior defensive back Dan Ross and St. Maries senior defensive back D.J. Eberlin in A-2; and Lakeside senior quarterback Ken Pluff, senior wide receiver Dustin McFadden and senior linebacker Sam Lozeau in A-4.
Bowman, who is headed to Stanford, led Sandpoint to the State A-1 Division II championship. He set school records for receptions (65), yards (1,220) and touchdowns (19).
Lake City senior running back Scott Bushnell, Sandpoint senior offensive tackle Dave Rust and senior defensive tackle Matt Smith, Lewiston senior wide receiver Mickey Hewitt, senior linebacker Grant Wright and senior defensive Rick McCrery were second-team picks. Joining them were Lakeland senior quarterback Kurt Reese, junior tight end Taylor Skidmore, Bonners Ferry senior senior place kicker Matt Clark, Priest River senior defensive lineman Josh Queen, St. Maries senior defensive lineman Mark Raebel and Lakeside senior running back Buck Allen.
First-team picks for all four divisions are listed in the Stat Sheet along with area honorable mention selections and players of the year for each classification.
The Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise coordinates the all-state teams. Coaches vote for the teams.
Lake City senior linebacker Ian Johnson, the Inland Empire League’s co-defensive player of the year with Lewiston’s Grant Wright, wasn’t selected all-state. But he received a national honor.
Johnson has been named honorable mention all-state by the USA Today newspaper. Highland quarterback Joe Green was named Player of the Year by the newspaper. Other area honorable mentions are: Bowman of Sandpoint, McCrery of Lewiston and Sandpoint senior running back Kurt Berkley.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: GAME OF THE WEEK They’re dusting off the upstairs bleachers at Lake City High School’s gym in preparation for a sizeable crowd for the first showdown between the city’s boys basketball rivals Friday. Coeur d’Alene visits Lake City in a game that will be key in deciding which of the Border League’s North Idaho teams plays host to the state-qualifying regional tourney. Tipoff is at 7:45 p.m. LC (4-3 in league, 5-4 overall) is coming off victories over Post Falls and Sandpoint. Favored CdA (4-2, 6-3) welcomed back four-year starter Lukas O’Dowd over the holiday break, but is still without leading scorer Casey Hoorelbeke, who suffered a fracture in his foot. The 6-foot-6 post is expected back in two weeks.