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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Hayes just getting started

Mike Saunders Correspondent

Bonners Ferry sophomore David Hayes has already accomplished a lot in his high school wrestling career.

Fifth at state a year ago at 119 pounds and now ranked second in Idaho at 130, it’s what Hayes has yet to do that drives him.

Dethroning his No. 1 competitor, bringing home team and individual state titles and eventually competing in college are tops on the list.

“Things have gone pretty well this year – I’ve won a few tournaments,” said Hayes, who points to the Inland Northwest Championships at Sandpoint, in which he pinned every competitor, as the highlight. “My personal goal is to beat Shawn Jones from Snake River – he’s ranked No. 1 right now.”

Jones, a junior, is already a two-time state champion and an obvious obstacle, at least for this season and next, to Hayes capturing a state title.

He’d also like to bring back the first-place team trophy for 19-year Bonners coach Conrad Garner, who has mentored Hayes since second grade.

“He’s my teacher, and he’s been helping me for a long time,” Hayes said of Garner. “We’re pretty close, and he’s one of my best friends.

“So it would be nice to be able to do that for him.”

Garner, not surprisingly, shares the sentiment.

“For being a younger kid, he’s one of the major building blocks of the team,” Garner said. “It’s great to have that kind of youth with that kind of talent in the room, because it’s something to look forward to this year and in years to come.”

Listening to Hayes talk about the Badgers and keeping in mind recent history, the goal of a state title doesn’t seem far-fetched.

“Our team is doing pretty good – we’ve got quite a few guys ranked,” Hayes said. “We took second in state last year, so our goal this year is to win it for Coach Garner.

Garner also coached Hayes’ three uncles – Mike, Dwayne and Chris Miller – as an assistant to Jim Whiteman at Lakeland in 1984 and ‘85. All three were state placers, and Mike earned two state titles for the Hawks in that period.

“My uncles coached me a lot from a really young age, and they have always been really helpful,” Hayes said.

Hayes’ career has not been without adversity. He had an elbow broken in two places at nationals last summer and the event has stayed with him.

“I was really freaked out,” said Hayes. “I was given like a 10 percent chance to ever get full extension, and now I’m all the way there.

“It still scares me sometimes when I’m in the middle of a match, but it’s just something I have to overcome.”