RATHDRUM, Idaho – The last time Dan Maurer left Lakeland High School after a District I & II wrestling tournament, he took his Lewiston Bengals to the Idaho state wrestling tournament and set a record for most team points in a 5A championship.
Saturday, after edging Post Falls once again for the district title, he was thinking about something else.
“We’re certainly taking numbers to state,” he said. “We qualified 17 wrestlers for sure and have the possibility of adding two more to make it 19. But we sent 12 kids into the finals and only won three individual championships.”
Lewiston scored 312 1/2 team points to edge Post Falls by 4 1/2 points.
Still, he said, with Post Falls also sending a big contingent to state (14, with three potential wild-card entries), and Coeur d’Alene taking a hefty number as well (13 with three possible wild cards), North Idaho is in good shape to continue its domination of the big school division.
“It’s a matter of pride for us because Centennial has a big, talented team and we need to beat them,” Maurer said. “Coeur d’Alene has won a couple state championships and Post Falls has won titles. It’s funny because before this run we hadn’t won at all.
“It’s going to start to change, I’m afraid. Some of the Boise schools are growing and will start moving into 5A and the balance of power is going to start to shift.”
Lakeland captured the 4A district title on its home mats, more than doubling up on Sandpoint. The Hawks crowned nine individual champions and qualified 16 wrestlers for the state tournament.
Bonners Ferry crowned six individual champions and edged Timberlake, 215 1/2 -214 to earn the 3A district title.
The biggest surprise of the tournament came at 132 pounds, where Tannar Riekena of Post Falls scored a reversal as time expired to upset previously unbeaten Bryce Parson, 10-8, in the finals.
“If there was a wrestler of the tournament, it definitely was Riekena,” Maurer said. “He upset our No. 2 wrestler in that weight, Justin Rodgers, in the semifinals, and our two guys are the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked kids in the state. No knock on Riekena, he’s probably the No. 3-ranked kid in the state himself, but it was an upset. I hope he has another great tournament next week – against everyone but our guys.”
Riekena held an 8-5 lead with 24 seconds remaining in the match, but Parsons, starting from the down position in a restart, managed an escape and takedown to tie the match at 8-8, only to be reversed as time expired.
Like Lewiston, Post Falls sent a dozen wrestlers into the finals, but came away with nine individual titles for their efforts.
Freshman Alius De La Rosa ran his season record to 44-3 by capturing the 106 title for the Trojans while sophomore teammate Drake Foster enters state with a 48-2 record after winning at 120.
Of Lewiston’s potential 19 state entrants, 10 are returning state placers and all but three are returning state veterans.
“The big key for us last year was that we sent a lot of wrestlers and they all scored and kept scoring for us,” Maurer said. “We didn’t win a lot of titles, but we won a lot of matches.”
The Hawks won 10 of the first 11 individual championships, failing to capture only the 132 crown.
“We’re sending the numbers to state,” coach Rob Edelblute said. “Now we just have to do something with them.”
Justin Wright (106), Tyler Hendricks (113), Austin Hoobler (120), Dustin Hannawalt (126), Chad Miller (138), Jesse Putnam (152) and Killian Estes (170) all won district titles by pin.
Bonners Ferry captured the district title on the strength of its six individual champions and eight total finalists.
Carman Krichbaum, William Gaspar and Morris McAllister captured the final three weight classes for Bonners Ferry, all with championship match pins. Krichbaum won the 195-pound title and Gaspar the 220 crown with identical 35-second pins.
Timberlake captured four individual titles with seven wrestlers in finals.
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