This has been sort of a confirmation wrestling season for Post Falls sophomore Drake Foster.
Not that he has anything to prove. After all, he went 42-3 last year on his way to capturing a 5A state championship at 106 pounds.
Historically, though, the lighter weights are chock full of freshmen. Foster cruised through his weight, never facing a junior or senior.
That will be different when the state tournament begins Friday at Holt Arena in Pocatello.
Foster sports a 48-2 record and is seeded No. 1 at 120.
“We knew he was the real deal, pretty special last year,” Post Falls coach Pete Reardon said. “His freshman class was really good. We knew about them as they were growing up, but you never know the full extent of how good they can be until they get here. There’s a transition between middle school and high school.”
It was a seamless transition for Foster.
Foster’s wrestling roots go back to when he was 6 and a couple of friends talked him into joining them on the Real Life Ministries club team.
But wrestling was in his genes. His father was a two-time state qualifier on back-to-back state title teams at Lakeland (1988-89).
Drake Foster fondly remembers his first tournament.
“I won,” he said.
And the winning hasn’t stopped.
His stock went up last summer at the Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D., where he took sixth in freestyle and second in Greco Roman.
“That’s the toughest high school-age tournament in the nation,” Reardon said. “Those are huge credentials. He had never been there before. He brought that into this season and hasn’t slowed down.”
Foster did get off to a rocky start. He suffered his two losses at the Tri-State tournament, but he lost to quality opponents.
The first loss was to eventual champ Isaac Aguilar of Hermiston (Ore.) in the semifinals, and he fell in overtime to Noah Cuzzetto of Edmonds-Woodway (Wash.) in the match for third and fourth.
Cuzzetto captured a State 4A title last weekend in Tacoma and Aguilar is seeded second in the Oregon state tournament being held this weekend.
Foster avenged the loss to Aguliar in early January at the Rollie Lane tournament in Nampa. They met in the final with Foster prevailing 3-2.
“He had some hiccups early,” Reardon said. “He came back and worked specifically on the things he needed to do to beat (Aguilar).”
With 90 career wins and counting, Foster is well on his way to breaking the school record for career wins (165).
He wants to rewrite the Trojans’ record book. He broke the season mark for takedowns (107) last weekend. He will go after the record for most pins in a season (38) next year.
Foster plays soccer so he doesn’t burn out on wrestling. Last fall, he started at defender on the Trojans’ state title team, and he was named the Inland Empire League’s newcomer of the year.
He’s not an imposing sight at 5-foot-4, but he uses his wrestling instincts to body forwards off the ball.
He hopes to start at center defender next year, a spot vacated by senior Brady Ulen, the league’s most valuable player.
“It will be a challenge. I definitely have some big shoes to fill,” Foster said.
Foster is looking forward to the summer and making a run at a Cadet National title. First, he has work to finish this weekend.
Post Falls has had two three-time state champs but no four-year winners.
“I want to be the first,” Foster said.