Inland Empire League
This small league makes mighty noise in Idaho’s 5A State wrestling scene. With only four schools, the IEL has produced the last three team state champions. Last year Lewiston won the school’s first title while amassing a meet-record 289.5 points. Post Falls was second with 276.5. The two previous years Coeur d’Alene wore the crown. “After winning the team title last year, many eyes are looking for Lewiston as a top three favorite again,” Lewiston coach Dan Maurer said. … On paper the Bengals and Trojans appear to be tops in the IEL and two of three contenders for yet another team title, but don’t rule out the Vikings. “Coeur d’Alene has a remarkable junior class,” Maurer said. “Lake City (had its) best finish at the state tournament in nearly a decade.” … Half the Timberwolves starting lineup will be new, but coach Corey Owen said, “We have a chance to win a lot of dual meets this season.”
Wrestlers to watch: Lewiston returns nine state placers, including defending champion Ryan Klemp and finalists John Kenyon, a two-time USA All-American; Bryce Parson; and Drake Randall. Drew Randall finished third. Post Falls’ Drake Foster beat Drake Randall for the 106-pound title. They both move up in weight. Trojan state runners-up are Austin Wilson; Seth McLeod, who jumps up four weights to 170; and Cody Johnson.
Great Northern League
Deer Park has been the program to emulate and will continue to be so as it seeks a sixth straight State 2A team title. But defending the title won’t be easy. Joining the GNL is Colville, which finished sixth in State 1A last year with a sophomore- and freshman-laden team. The Indians return eight state qualifiers and topped perennial State 1A champ Orting, which has also moved up a class. … Last weekend the Stags finished seventh at their season-opening invitational behind both the aforementioned schools. But they do return two state champions and two other finalists. “We are very young at the middle heavyweights,” coach Matt Jorgensen said. “I expect us to compete well in our league and at the state level.” … East Valley coach Craig Hanson has “great expectations” for his young team. … West Valley fills its entire lineup for the first time in awhile for second-year coach Mike Bundy.
Wrestlers to watch:Jake Konzal, nationally ranked, and Cole Harris are Deer Park’s returning state champions. Joe Grable and CJ Rodriguez were finalists, and Matt Miller and Michael Leonard placed. … Cheney’s Cameron Schlotter reached the finals and Elias Mason was third. … Other returning placers: EV’s Nick Rodriguez and WV’s Auston Hilderbrand.
Northeast A League
There’s no clear-cut favorite now that Colville’s gone. Lakeside has a new coach in former Reardan head coach and six-year Eagles assistant Barry Lauderdale. He returns five starters. “The Eagles will have a very young team and the hope is for them to peak at the end of the year,” he said. … Riverside coach Randy Miller said: “I really think it is a tossup between Lakeside, us and Freeman. I don’t have any state medalist in the room and only two kids who went to state last year.” … The X factor is Medical Lake, which has moved from the GNL. … Chewelah returns the most state placers.
Wrestlers to watch: Chewelah brings back state placers Russell Smith and Adam Collins and participants Ian Cook and Josh Hanley-Podall. … Darius Judd (fifth in state) and state veterans Jacob Ulland and Klint Brown lead Lakeside. … Bryce Weatherell and Joey Allen are the Rams’ state veterans. … Freeman’s Tiegan Glidewell was a 220-pound state qualifier as a freshman.