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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Badgers claim 9 victories in first round

NAMPA, Idaho – If Bonners Ferry High wrestling coach Conrad Garner had been competing at the time, he would have been called for stalling.

Garner allowed more than a pregnant pause when contemplating how he would answer the question about how his Badgers fared in the first round. It wasn’t so much that Garner was indecisive. As usual, he’s being cautiously optimistic.

“There were no surprises,” said Garner, stopping just short of deeming it the best start possible. Nine of his 13 qualifiers prevailed in the first day of the State 3A tournament at the Idaho Center.

Garner’s nine winners were: David Hayes (130 pounds), Ken Swift (140), Adam Hall (145), Ken Koehler (152), Jacob Stonehocker (152), Derrell Davis (160), Travis Stolley (171), Don Dinning (189) and Ben Turner (215).

“We still have four in the back door and I’d love to go into Friday with all 13 still alive,” Garner said before the first round of consolation matches in the evening.

Bonners Ferry, state runner-up a year ago, had 29.5 points after the first round, good for third. Defending champ Weiser had 36.5 and perennial power Snake River had 31.

“We need more Weiser kids to go down,” Garner said. “Weiser started with 18, but we need them to be down to 13 going into (Friday).”

Weiser qualified 17, but the Wolverines received a last-minute alternate at 145. Unfortunately that alternate ran into the Badgers’ defending state champ, junior Adam Hall.

Hall toyed with him, taking a 5-0 lead after the first period. He needed just 24 seconds in the second period to pin.

A handful of other Intermountain League wrestlers had nice starts as well.

Jerad Madsen of Kellogg, who missed the first two-thirds of the season recovering from a broken ankle, had no problems at 112, topping Justin Ishino of Shelley 8-2. Madsen, who had just six matches before state, is seeded second.

Kyle Payne of St. Maries, seeded second at 119, did all but pin his opening opponent. Payne had to go the distance for a 13-0 major decision over Kyle DeYoung of Weiser.

“It’s a lot harder to pin somebody at state,” said Payne, a senior, who is looking for his first state medal in three trips. “It was good to get some mat time. I thought I had him in the first period a couple of times, but Weiser wrestlers are well-coached. I needed the mat time.”

Although he’s seeded second, Payne (40-2) admits he’ll have to pull off an upset or two to make it to the state finals.

“Some of the guys seeded below me are past state placers,” Payne said. “I haven’t done that yet. Seeding only means so much if you haven’t placed at state before.”

Payne’s teammate, Kyle Joiner, scored a 12-6 decision over Casey Richman at 160. Isaac Meyers of Priest River, seeded second at 189, needed just 27 seconds to dispose of Trevor Johnson of Marsh Valley.

At heavyweight, Blake Cord of Timberlake, the second seed, pinned Cody Harvey of Middleton in 53 seconds and Dusty Brede of St. Maries stopped Quincy Shell of Filer in 2:17.

4A: Sandpoint and Post Falls had OK first rounds. Bulldogs coach Mike Randles put it best when he summed it up as “so-so.”

Seven Bulldogs and five Trojans won opening matches.

Top-seeded Joey Fio of Sandpoint had no problems at 119, scoring a win by technical fall over Chris Killoy of Minico.

Post Falls freshman Danny Booth had a nice win at 103, topping David Burgara of Minico 7-2.

The lone surprise for Sandpoint was Taylor Morris at 160. Morris shut out Keith Blanc of Jerome 4-0.

In the upper weights, Sheldon Cramer needed just 1:04 for a pin at 215 and Kyle Neal of Post Falls went 2:39 before pinning at heavyweight.

Brandon Palaniuk of Lakeland, a state champ last year in 3A, scored a 9-0 major decision over Kevin Higgs of Nampa. Hawk teammate Nathan Birdall, who is fighting illness, also scored a shutout, topping Jack Carskadon of Emmett 7-0 at 135.

2A: Senior Jake Will of Wallace, seeded second at 135, cruised in his first match, pinning Reed Cranall of North Gem in 4:46.

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