It’s been 14 years since a North Idaho 5A school captured a state wrestling championship. The drought could end this year.
“If all the stars align, Coeur d’Alene not only wins but they run away with it,” Lewiston coach Dan Maurer said.
The Vikings positioned themselves to claim a state title last year going into the semifinals. But two favored Vikings were upset.
“It was about a 30-point swing,” CdA coach Jeff Moffat said.
CdA went from possibly winning to finishing just out of a trophy at fifth.
The Vikings and 2009 state runner-up Highland return the most state placers with seven.
State is Feb. 26-27 at Holt Arena in Pocatello.
Here’s a look at the IEL’s 5A and 4A teams:
The top three finishers in each weight at regionals advance to state.
Two-time state champ Braden Mowry (135 pounds this year, 125 last year), a senior, leads CdA’s list of state placers.
Seniors Sam Howard (125/130, sixth at state) and Jake Norris (160, fifth) and juniors Kyle Siegwarth (119/103, fifth), Kenny Staub (130/119, fifth), Colin Comack (152/145, fifth) and Johnny Peregrina (160/152, fifth) give Moffat a solid base.
Others who could contend for state medals are senior Kevin Moore (171), juniors Caleb Davis (189), Shaun Duffy (215) and Drew Moreno (heavyweight) and sophomores Matt Howard (171) and Garrett Demers (152).
“We are talking about it (a state title) and hopefully we learned from last year,” Moffat said. “We had that thing wrapped up, but you’ve got to be on your game from the get-go. It was within our grasp.”
Post Falls has a deep lineup and hopes to challenge CdA. Former North Idaho College wrestler Pete Reardon takes over as head coach. Dennis Amende resigned after 18 seasons.
Four state placers return in state champ Chad Booth (112/103), a senior, senior Josh Erickson (160/152, fourth) and sophomores Tyler Booth (135/125, third) and Mitch Crain (112/103, sixth). Senior Derrick Booth (130/119) placed third as a sophomore.
Reardon is looking for good things from a number of others, including freshmen Peter Berger (103) and Austin Wilson (145), sophomores Chad Webster (119), James Ost (125) and Nathan McLeod (140) and junior Colton Peugh (145).
Lewiston’s returning state placers are two-time state champ Casey George (135, 119), a junior, seniors Justin Carlton (135/130, fourth) and Jake Schmidt (145/135, fifth) and juniors Sammy Metz (152/140, fifth) and Ryan Vandevender (130/125, sixth).
Lake City returns one state placer in senior Marcus Banducci (119/112, third). Others who could contend for medals are senior Chris Schenck (215), junior Brian Griswold (171) and sophomore Nate Partenfelder (135).
The top two in each weight at regionals advance to state.
Defending regional champ Lakeland returns three state placers in seniors Nate Wright (103, fifth), Brandon Richardson (152/140, second), who has signed with Wyoming, and Ken Winn (160/145, fifth).
Sandpoint returns state champ Garret Belgarde (119/103), a junior, and senior Leonard Fister (160/152, fourth).
Moscow brings back one state placer in senior Eric Frisbey (145/140, fifth).