Ridge Lovett wasn’t feeling the desire to go to the Cadet Greco-Roman World Team Trials.
The Post Falls junior-to-be wrestler, who has yet to lose in high school (82-0), had Fargo, North Dakota, on his mind. For good reason. That’s where he won a national Greco title and finished runner-up in freestyle last summer.
He may still go to Fargo. But he’s got Athens, Greece, on his mind now.
Lovett went ahead and traveled to Akron, Ohio, earlier this month, adding another national championship (for ages 14-16).
This national title ranks as the most impressive of several because of the prize attached – it qualified him as a member of the Cadet World Team that will compete in early September in Athens.
About five days after clinching the national title, the normally stoic Lovett was still bouncing off the walls, excited about his feat.
“The whole World Team part hasn’t set in yet,” Lovett said. “I know I qualified for it but I haven’t been there yet. Once we get closer to it, it’ll build up more. Right now I’m just more excited that I won another national title.”
And Lovett did so in dramatic fashion.
In Greco, points are scored by moves with the upper body. Wrestlers can’t touch the legs. As opposed to high school style, a technical fall occurs when a wrestler is eight points ahead.
Lovett scored technical falls on his first three opponents, qualifying him for the final – a best 2-out-3 showdown at 54 kilos, or 119.5 pounds.
He faced off with King Sandoval of Waldorf, Maryland. Lovett beat him back in middle school at a national tournament.
Sandoval opened a 4-2 lead in the first match, having got caught in a head-and-arm move. Lovett was trailing with 30 seconds left and on his back. He rolled off his back and put Sandoval on his back, winning by technical fall, 12-4.
In the second match, the score was knotted at 1-1. Lovett got caught again in the same head-and-arm move, trailing 5-4.
Like the first match, Lovett got off his back and scored on a series of gut wrenches to pull out a 6-5 win and claim the title.
At the same tourney a year ago Lovett didn’t place.
Lovett will spend quite a bit of his summer at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, preparing for Athens. He may not be able to attend Fargo for fear that injury would derail his trip oversees.
He must update his passport in the meantime.
Going to Athens is a great opportunity for more exposure in Lovett’s hopes of landing a collegiate scholarship.
He’s grown 2 1/2 inches and gained 20 pounds since last October. That’s why after he won titles at the Tri-State and Rollie Lane tournaments last season he had to move up a weight to 113 halfway through the season.
Lovett will most likely wrestle at 120, if not 126, this year. But if he continues to grow he could go as high as 132.
The 21st Washington/North Idaho All-State games are Saturday at HUB Sports Center.
There will be three games, beginning with B East vs. B West at 1:30, followed by 1A East vs. 1A West at 3:30 and capped by 3A/2A East vs. 3A/2A West at 5:30.
All-day admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students (12 and under) and seniors (62 and older).
Here are the area girls in each game: B – Sydney Zeiler and Grace Lilje (Davenport), Shania Graham (Republic), Dakota Patchen and Jordyn Moehrle (Colton), Tessa Jantz (Lind-Ritzville/Sprague), Gabi Isaak (Almira/Coulee-Hartline) and Katie Arrasmith (Garfield-Palouse). Coaching the East is Stacia Soliday of Davenport. 1A – Jayda Noble (Medical Lake). 3A/2A – Ellie Burland and Genesis Wilkinson (East Valley), Grace Kirscher and Trinity Golder (Sandpoint), Bayley Brennan (Post Falls) and Gracey Meyer (Moscow).
Northwest Christian (2B), Almira/Coulee-Hartline (1B), Freeman (1A) and Mead (4A) were area winners in the annual WIAA Washington Army National Guard Scholastic Cup.
NWC won its third Scholastic Cup in a right with the highest score of any of the classification champions with 1,720 points. The school produced seven Academic State champions in band, choir, boys cross country, drama, football, softball and boys track and field.
ACH won for the first time.
Freeman also won for the first time.
Mead climbed back to the top of the 4A class for the sixth time, tying for the most Scholastic Cups with Sehome.