POCATELLO – It was the likes of Nathan McLeod and Tyler Booth, two of Post Falls’ four top-seeded wrestlers, who were expected to propel the Trojans to victory at the Idaho state wrestling wrestling championships, and those four wrestlers lived up to those expectations.
But coach Peter Reardon said it was the tenacity of some of the team’s underrated wrestlers, such as Chadd Webster, competing as the No. 6 seed in the 132-pound class, and unseeded Tanner Riekena who had Post Falls sitting atop the 5A division after the quarterfinals before falling to third after consolation matches.
“Tanner was unseeded and beat the No. 6 and the No. 3 guys today,” Reardon said. “Those are big wins. We had underdogs who won and kids who were supposed to do well taking care of business.”
With 12 wrestlers winning in the quarterfinals, Post Falls will be a strong contender for the title today along with another Inland Empire League school, Lewiston.
Lewiston finished the day on top at 171.5 points, with Centennial second at 163 and Post Falls third at 136.5.
After the first round of matches in the consolation brackets Lewiston coach Dan Maurer was optimistic. The tournament is a two-loss elimination format, and those with one loss continue on, vying for third through fifth places.
“We’re not quite where we should be. We’ve lost three of them, that on paper, we shouldn’t have,” Maurer said. “That drops us to the consolation brackets. It’s walking a tight-rope from here. Still, we have eight in the (semifinals) and 12 down below.”
Of the 12 wrestlers Lewiston had in the consolation brackets Friday afternoon, seven made it through the two remaining sessions.
Coeur d’Alene, the 5A state wrestling champion in 2010 and 2011, is mired in its youth, sitting in 10th place at the end with 62 points.
“We are pretty young this year. We only brought one senior,” said Coeur d’Alene coach Jeff Moffat. “I think we are wrestling all right for the youth we have.”
Garrett Demers made quick work of both his opponents in the 195-pound class, pinning the first in 58 seconds and the second in 48 seconds. Also still in the winner’s brackets for the Vikings is sophomore Hudson Staub in the 138-pound class. He won both his matches by decision, 7-0 in the first and 7-5 in the second.
Also struggling was Lake City, which finished the night with just 24 points, landing the Timberwolves in 14th place going into today.
However, surprise performances from Nate Partenfelder in the 152-pound class and Nick Wells at 132 means Lake City still has two vying for state titles.
Making a splash in the 3A division was Timberlake, in fourth place with 85 points.
“It’s going pretty good,” said Timberlake coach Ryan Montag. “We’ve had some things go our way today.”
Timberlake boasts five wrestlers in today’s semifinals.
But Timberlake, in addition to being just four points behind third-place Sugar-Salem, has a number of teams on its heels as only six points separates fourth and eighth places. Kellogg sits in eighth with 79 points.
Bonners Ferry is in ninth with 67 points, St. Maries is 16th with 41 and Priest River has 30 in 19th place.
Both Sandpoint and Lakeland are hovering in the middle of the pack in the 4A tournament. Lakeland is in 10th place with 46 points while Sandpoint is in 11th with 44 points.
“We’re probably doing a little better than we expected,” said Sandpoint coach Mike Randles. “We have two guys in the (semifinals) and two still alive down below.”