POCATELLO – When Post Falls senior Nathan McLeod completed his 4-0 win over teammate Cody Johnson, he not only won his first state wrestling title, but he also completed another longtime goal.
“Because I wrestled my teammate, I got automatic pin points,” McLeod said. “That means I pinned all of my matches and had a perfect tournament.”
McLeod was the top seed in the 182-pound class coming into the Idaho state wrestling tournament and ran the table, pinning his opponents in 2 minutes, 20 seconds, 1:59 and 1:56 in his first three matches on his way to the perfect tournament.
The only feeling tainting his win was the fact that it came at the expense of a teammate’s efforts.
“Our team is like family,” he said. “It’s like wrestling against a brother.”
McLeod and his Post Falls teammates finished second to Lewiston in the team scoring.
The 182-pound class was one of two in which Trojans dominated. In the 145-pound class, it was senior James Ost who took down his third state title, doing so by defeating Seth McLeod, Nathan’s freshman brother.
It was the competitiveness of his wrestlers in the winner’s bracket that propelled coach Peter Reardon’s Trojans to the second-place finish with 276.5 points.
“There is some disappointment in taking second, our goal is to win it,” Reardon said. “But I am proud of my guys. They really went after it.”
In all, 11 of the 19 Trojans who went to the state tournament placed.
Post Falls managed four titles – senior Tyler Booth won at 152 and freshman Drake Foster at 106 – and had four second-place finishes along with two thirds, a fourth and a sixth.
It was the consolation bracket in which Lewiston, which finished in first place with 289.5 points, did much of its damage.
While three Bengals won state titles and another three took second place, they had a total of nine wrestlers place in the consolation bracket.
Coach Dan Maurer said it’s Lewiston’s first state wrestling title.
“For a number of years, I coached club level before the high school,” he said. “A lot of these kids, I’ve coached since they were in elementary school.”
Early on during the title matches, it was uncertain if Lewiston would have such success during the final round. Freshman Drake Randall lost 9-6 at 106 to Foster.
Sophomore Johnny Kenyon was edged by Centennial’s Jace Johnson 3-2 at 120.
But then senior Josh Carlton, at 126, blanked Centennial’s Dakota Wall 6-0.
Freshman Ryan Klemp followed that up with a 3-2 victory at 138, and Ryan Rigney, a senior wrestling at 220, pushed through a tough competitor in Eagle senior Matt Llanes to take an 8-6 win in overtime.
Rounding out Northern Idaho’s 5A Division competitors, Coeur d’Alene, defending state champion, finished in eighth place with 91 points.
The Vikings had five wrestlers place during the tournament.
Senior Garrett Demers, the No. 1 seed in the 195-pound class, was the Vikings’ lone titlist. He defeated Centennial’s Jon Fisher 3-0.
Lake City finished in 14th place and had three wrestlers who placed.
Lake City’s top finisher was senior Nate Partenfelder, who was second at 152, losing the title bout 3-0 to Post Falls senior Tyler Booth.
Sandpoint and Lakeland remained in the middle of the pack throughout the day, finishing 10th and 14th, respectively.
Sandpoint had four who placed, one each in third through sixth places. Lakeland had one wrestler who finished in fourth place and another who took sixth place.
Timberlake, fourth going into the day, had five wrestlers who still had a shot at a state title. But three lost during the first session.
The other two, junior Kody Hongslo, at 120, and junior Forrest Herring, at 160, lost their title matches.
Of the 20 wrestlers eighth-place Kellogg brought, 12 are returning next year, and four of those 12 placed during this year’s tournament.
Bonners Ferry finished 10th, St. Maries 18th and Priest River 19th. Bonners Ferry junior Blaine Ivernon won the 132-pound title.