Wrestlers go for the gold
POCATELLO, Idaho – Five 5A and six 3A wrestlers from North Idaho will seek state titles in the 50th annual high school championships at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena.
In 5A, Coeur d’Alene advanced two of three semifinalists, Lewiston two and Post Falls one Friday evening. In 3A, Timberlake will be looking to triple its number of state champions as the Tigers pushed all three of their semifinalists into title matches, while Bonners Ferry got two of four through and Priest River has one.
Juniors Jeremy Zabel and Jesse Nielson of Coeur d’Alene will seek state titles. Zabel, a state champ last year at 152 pounds, held off Chase Kelpin of Caldwell 8-7 in an entertaining semifinal at 160.
Moments before, Nielson pulled away from Chaz Huntington of Eagle 9-3 at 152.
Phillip Howard of CdA ran into a brick wall and defending state champ in Kirk Smith of Centennial at 171. Smith, who has signed with Boise State University, needed just 50 seconds to pin Howard.
Post Falls senior Duane Carr had no problems with Reed Kaus of Mountain View, winning 8-3 at 189.
In the first match at 103, Post Falls freshman Derrick Booth gave a good account of himself before falling 7-5 to freshman Holden Packard of Mountain View.
“He wrestled well,” Post Falls coach Dennis Amende said. “He had his opportunities.”
The Trojans ran into some bad luck in the morning quarterfinals. Danny Booth was ahead 4-0 over Chance Hyer of Centennial, but he dislocated an elbow and had to default.
Lewiston senior heavyweight Mark Skogrand, who needed just a little more than a minute to win his first two matches, had to go the distance before beating Jake Densley of Centennial 7-2.
Earlier, Lewiston sophomore Tracey Huffman tripped Jordan Cox of Idaho Falls 5-4 at 112.
In the team race, Centennial (182) leads defending state champ Idaho Falls by 2 1/2 points. Coeur d’Alene is sixth (101.5), two spots out of the hunt for a trophy. Lewiston is eighth (96) and Post Falls is 10th (61.5).
In 3A, Timberlake coach Matt Neff was all smiles after watching Patrick Neal, David Hayes and Scott Holbrook win semifinal matches. Neal defeated Lance Dilworth of Bear Lake 9-4 at 125, Hayes pinned Nick Mulberry of Kimberly in 1:18; and Holbrook pinned Doug Yearout of St. Maries in 1:52.
“I think all three of us can win,” Hayes said.
Hayes is wrestling particularly sharp after suffering a loss just more than two weeks ago to undefeated Zach Horsley of Lakeland. Hayes led 5-0 before losing 8-5.
“I think it helped me focus for state,” Hayes said.
Kenny Swift of Bonners Ferry used a pin at 152 and teammate Jared Stone won 5-1 at heavyweight as they advance to finals.
Teammates Dayne Swisher (130) and Josef Musial (215) weren’t as fortunate.
Neither was St. Maries senior Kyle Joiner, who fell to K.C. Qualls of American Falls 5-2 at 171.
Priest River senior Ray Hinshaw will go for gold as he survived in an overtime match, winning 3-1 over Jordan Monroe of Declo.
Will Yergler of Kellogg came up short at 135, falling to Brayden Buxton of Teton 5-2.
Shelley (216.5) leads defending champ American Falls (142). Bonners Ferry is sixth (83) and Timberlake is seventh (75.5).