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Tri-State wrestling tournament should feature balance

The Tri-State wrestling tournament turns 39 years old Friday, and it’s not holding.

The older the tourney gets, the better it seems to get.

The two-day tournament begins with quarterfinals at 7 p.m. The semifinals are at noon Saturday with the finals at 6.

Lake Stevens’ string of two straight team titles could be broken. Lake Stevens, which has won five Tri-State titles, returns just two placers.

Tournament director Pat Whitcomb sees several teams in the mix to challenge Lake Stevens, including University, Orting, Wash., Flathead of Kalispell, Mont., Post Falls, Hermiston, Ore., and Coeur d’Alene.

Four Tri-State champs return: Garret Belgarde of Sandpoint, Antonio Brown of Orting, Casey George of Lewiston and Dylan Rutledge of Auburn, Wash.

Another 40 placers return.

“It’s going to be a thick, tough crew,” Whitcomb said. “For newcomers it’s going to be tough to get into the mix. It’s going to be as tough a Tri-State as ever.”

Lake Stevens won last year with 191 points. Whitcomb doesn’t see a team coming close to that this year.

“Points are going to be spread out,” Whitcomb said. “I could see 15 points separating the top five teams. The team that wins won’t win with finalists. It’s the points you score in the matches for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth places that will count the most.”

All-State teams

The Idaho Statesman newspaper announced its All-Idaho football teams and 5A state champ Coeur d’Alene was well-represented.

Junior quarterback Chad Chalich was named the 5A player of the year. He set single-season records in total offense (3,385 yards), passing yards (2,844), completions (209) and touchdown passes.

Joining Chalich on the first team were running back Zach Keiser, offensive linemen Drew Moreno and Shaun Duffy and defensive back Jake Matheson.

Other first-team picks from the region were Timberlake defensive back Devin Smith, Bonners Ferry defensive back Taylor Tompke and Kellogg punter Ryne Stull in 3A.

• Washington State 4A champ Ferris didn’t get much love in the Seattle Times’ All-State team.

Saxons free safety Riley Stockton was the lone selection. Gonzaga Prep running back Bishop Sankey also was picked. Ferris coach Jim Sharkey was picked the 4A coach of the year.