It possesses the quality of a state tournament, but in reality it’s bigger than a state tournament.
The 42nd edition of the Tri-State wrestling tournament will be no different – though the tourney’s reach has long extended beyond the three original states of Idaho, Washington and Montana.
The tourney begins Friday morning at 10 and concludes with the championship finals Saturday evening at 6.
In between will be wall-to-wall wrestling at North Idaho College’s Rolly Williams Court.
Hermiston is the defending champ and is favored to repeat. Post Falls and Washington 4A state champ Lake Stevens also will challenge.
The Greater Spokane League should be well represented – perhaps not in the chase for the team title but certainly for individual titles.
Joe Grabel of Deer Park, Alius De La Rosa of Post Falls, Bryce Parson of Lewiston and Izaec Quintanilla of North Central are among the returning defending champs.
• The tourney will also spotlight one of its own.
Former NIC coach John Owen, whose teams won eight NJCAA championships in a storied career, will be honored just before the finals when NIC names the practice room after him.
Owen, 66, is head coach at Central Valley. Tri-State tourney director and current NIC coach Pat Whitcomb said it was time to honor the former coach.
“It’s well deserved,” Whitcomb said. “Most of his family and many former wrestlers will be here. He means a ton to all of the wrestling community. It’s great that today’s generation is benefitting from him also.”
• Admission is in all-session pass form. A general all-sessions pass is $25, $15 for students and senior citizens.