POCATELLO – Drake Foster was well aware that his opponent in the Idaho State High School Wrestling Tournament’s 5A 120-pound finals, Madison senior Chase Green, took home a state title a year ago, but the Post Falls sophomore had all the confidence one might expect from someone who was also a returning state champ.
“I knew he was good on his feet,” Foster said. “My plan going in was to tie him up and throw him down early.”
That plan worked, and Foster grabbed his second state title in as many years Saturday night, pinning Green just 1:18 into the match.
He was one of four Trojans who took home state titles, the others being Alius Delarosa at 106, Austin Wilson at 160 and Seth McLeod at 170.
As a team, Post Falls soundly took home a second-place trophy, racking up 232 points, well above third-place Mountain View’s 178.5 points. Taking first place was Centennial, the team pretty much every coach in Division 5A pointed to as the tournament got under way, with 318.5.
Wilson, a senior, who finished third as a freshman and in second the past two years, savored the moment, taking ample time to hug friends, family and coaches.
“I did it. I finally finished it,” he said, of grabbing the state title.
Wilson’s victory came in a 5-1 decision over Rocky Mountain’s Kaden Steingruber, a wrestler he anticipated facing in the finals, and one who did not give up on the title easily.
“It was the toughest match (of the tournament) by far,” Wilson said.
Post Falls seniors Peter Berger and Cody Johnson each finished in second place in the 113- and 182-pound classes, respectively. Freshman TJ Wolf and senior Tannar Riekena each grabbed a third place.
In all, 10 of the 14 wrestlers Post Falls coach Pete Reardon brought to Pocatello placed during the state wrestling championship.
“We were all pretty happy with our performance,” Reardon said. “We pulled out some pretty good upsets and kids who were picked to finish high, did.”
Taking fourth was Lewiston at 166 as Bryce Parson (132) and Ryan Klemp (152) won titles.
Coeur d’Alene had just one wrestler vying for a state title, sophomore Anthony Nelson, who took home the 98-pound class title with a 6-4 decision over Borah freshman Shea Randall. The Vikings collected 105.5 points as a team, good enough for ninth place, as several of their wrestlers managed to place in the consolation bracket, including senior AJ Konda who took fourth at 113 and junior Matt James who grabbed third at 285.
Lake City, which brought three wrestlers to Pocatello, finished in 18th place with 16 points. Senior Nick Wells, who took fifth place at 126, was the team’s top finisher.
Lakeland finished in sixth place with 107 points, thanks to several wrestlers who managed to place in the consolation bracket, including fourth-place finishes by senior Dustin Hannawalt in the 126-pound class and senior Brandon Yount in the 145-pound class and sophomore Killina Estes in the 170-pound class.
Sandpoint finished in 21st place with 20 points. Junior Jon McCormick led all Bulldogs with a sixth-place finish in the 182-pound class.
When Bonners Ferry senior Blaine Invernon stepped on to the mat for the 138-pound title bout, he knew he took with him the Badgers’ only chance for a state title. Despite the match standing at scoreless tie after the first two rounds, Invernon’s confidence never wavered.
“Earlier in the year, I lost one match and we said it would be the last match I would lose,” he said. “I went in there with the right mind-set.”
The senior promptly ramped up his game in the final round, racking up a quick six points and going on to a 6-1 decision over Shelley’s Chase Call.
Bonners Ferry finished the day in fifth place with 125.5 points, due in large part to the team’s performance in the consolation bracket, which included three third-place finishes and two fifth-place finishes.
Timberlake’s Kody Hongslo appeared well on the way to the 126-pound title with an 8-1 lead in the final seconds of the second round, when he was pinned by Weiser’s Lionel Perez at 3:41.
The Tigers finished the tournament in ninth place with 96.5 points on strong efforts in the consolation bracket that included one sixth-place finish, two fourth-place finishes and a third-place finish from Tyler Badertscher in the 152-pound class.
Kellogg sophomore Blake Ivie won the 120 title, making quick work of Snake River’s Kaden Bench, pinning the junior in just 1:07.
“There is no one more deserving,” said Kellogg coach Scott Miller. “He’s one of our leaders, one of our captains.”
Kellogg finished the day in 13th place as a team with 78 points as senior Chris Vergobbi contributed a third place.
Priest River’s Tyler Popkin lost an 8-5 decision in the 132-pound championship after leading 5-1 through two rounds against Kimberly’s Tanner Mulberry.
Priest River finished the day in 16th place with 59 points. Adding to the team total was senior Brian Fink, who pinned his opponent in the 170-pound class in just 1:42 to take third.
St. Maries finished ninth with 84 points. The Lumberjacks’ lone wrestler in the finals, Joseph Bloomsburg, lost 21-6 to Challis junior Ruger Piva at 152.
“It’s an improvement over last year,” St. Maries coach Rodney Cochrane said of the team’s overall performance, “so I have to be happy with how we did. We are young and we have a lot to be excited about.”