Coeur d’Alene won its second straight Idaho 5A state championship last year after Lewiston won district but finished fourth in state. Post Falls finished seventh in state, but had the most champions and finalists. Does that tell you how close this Inland Empire League should be? “The road to a state trophy is difficult,” Lewiston coach Dan Maurer said.
Returning state placers
Here’s why Post Falls is the likely IEL favorite this year: three returning state champions, two other finalists and a league-high seven total state placers. “I think that, looking at it objectively as much as I can, we’re probably favored as far as placing at district,” coach Pete Reardon said. “Lewiston brings back a lot of participants, but we bring back higher placers than they do.” … State titlists back for PF are James Ost (145 pounds this year), Tyler Booth (152) and Cole Jesienouski (170). Austin Wilson and Nathan McLeod placed second. Unfortunately, the latter two are at 160 pounds this year. … Lewiston has numbers – 12 returning state veterans, three who were top-three state placers, including champion Josh Carlton and runner-up Johnny Kenyon. Coeur d’Alene returns seven state qualifiers, three of them top-six placers, but by and large will be rebuilding with youth.
What they’re saying
Depth, more than high-end talent, wins state titles. “You’ve got to have numbers for state,” Reardon said. “A perfect example is, we had the most finalists and placers of any team. But we brought 11 kids total and Coeur d’Alene had something like 17. They had the numbers to score extra points.” Post Falls hopes to remedy that this year. … “After winning the team title at the district tournament, it was a big disappointment to place fourth in the state tourney last year,” Lewiston coach Maurer said. A total of 13 starters return for Lewiston and the freshman class is talented. “A larger than normal ninth-grade class boasts four All-Americans,” Maurer said. “We have set our goals high.” … “We’re a work in progress,” CdA coach Jeff Moffat said. “We have many young guys that have waited for their turn. We could be very competitive by season’s end. It’s a very tough league.” … Lake City has 15 seniors, eight returning starters and four state qualifiers in the lineup, but limited experience in the lower weights. “This is my fourth year at LCHS, so this graduating class is the first I’ve coached since they were freshmen,” coach Cody Owen said. “We have a great core group of kids that we can build around.” … Among IEL 4A team, state success was limited last year. Lakeland returns 11 state qualifiers, Moscow six and Sandpoint four. The highest team finish was Sandpoint in 12th, and there were just three top-six placers from the league.
|Predicted finish||3. CdA|
|1. Post Falls||2. Lewiston||4. Lake City|