Full schedules & scores
(AP)

Prestigious Tri-State wrestling tournament brings best of big and small schools together

Mead made another impressive team display, taking first place in the team aspect of the 39th annual Tri-State wrestling tournament at North Idaho College on Saturday, making a statement that its second place at state last season was just a sign of things to come.

But glory comes at a price.

In the 120-pound final, Mead’s two-time state placer junior Chase Randall sustained a serious injury, preliminarily diagnosed as a dislocated elbow according to coach Phil McLean, and will be lost to the team for the foreseeable future.

Randall was transported for further observation.

The Panthers edged Post Falls 183-177 for the team title. Mt. Spokane finished fourth with 144 points.

On the mat, Greater Spokane wrestlers Blake Haney of Mt. Spokane (sr., 138), Drew Roberts of University (soph., 126), Kenndyl Mobley of North Central (fr., 106) and Ben Voigtlaender of Mead (220) won titles. Central Valley’s Braxton Mikesell (jr., 285) won by injury default.

Haney beat two-time state champion Chase Tebbets of Mead.

“It’s a long time coming, I guess,” Haney said of his first Tri-State title. “I love Chase. We’ve been wrestling each other since we were little.”

Two Post Falls wrestlers took home titles, including three-time Idaho state champion Ridge Lovett, who signed to continue his wrestling career at Nebraska.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Lovett said. “It’s a great team with a great bunch of kids. There’s no other team I’d rather be a part of.”

Roberts, who transferred to U-Hi from an Oregon high school, was thrilled to be a part of such a big tournament.

“It’s a really amazing feeling you don’t get anywhere else,” Roberts said. “It’s great to come out here with so many good wrestlers and do what you train for in the room. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment.”

Roberts, whose father Kevin was an assistant coach at Oregon State, is part of a family with deep roots in the Spokane wrestling scene.

“My dad wrestled, all his brothers, and on my mom’s side, her brothers wrestled too. My cousins wrestle, so it’s great to be able to have them be able to come and watch me now.”

Small school, big dreams

One of the smallest schools to have multiple placers shouldn’t be a shock to wrestling fans – Colville has placed second in state 1A four consecutive seasons.

The Indians two finalists have been busy athletes the past few months. Seniors John Knight and Trevor Morrison led Colville’s football team to an upset of No. 1 ranked Royal en route to its first state football title, where it defeated league rival Newport convincingly.

Knight beat Mason Miethe of Mt. Spokane in the 182-pound final.

“This is one of the toughest tournaments,” Knight said. “I think it’s great that a small school like this is able to come and compete.”

Morrison won at 160, topping Tyler Morris of Post Falls with a first-round fall. Despite his success this weekend, Morrison said he’s still getting up to speed on the mat.

“It was a little bit tough going into the wrestling room, because football shape isn’t the same as wrestling shape,” he said.

“It’s a great marriage between wrestling and football,” Colville wrestling coach Randy Cloke said. “You watch these big guys go, that’s just a lineman drill, the line of scrimmage every day.

“I just think those two, in a small school if you can share the mentality that football helps wrestling, wrestling helps football – it benefits everybody.”

Cloke laments the “specialist” mentality surrounding prep sports.

“Unfortunately sometimes now the kids get the message that they need to specialize. In football, man, they say ‘Just get in the weight room. You can’t wrestle.’ Then kids hear ‘You gotta wrestle all year long.’ ”

“Be an athlete. Be a kid. And have fun doing it.”

Cloke said his squad has received a special boost from the football team winning at state.

“Not just our team, but our community, our fan base. That football win was great for our school,” he said. “Our kids now expect to be in the hunt for a state title. It’s changed us, had a dramatic impact on us.”

Knight agreed the experience was invaluable.

“Just being there and getting ready and being on the field, feeling what it’s like to win a state championship as a team, it’s huge,” he said. “I really want to do that with (the wrestlers) as well.”

Cloke said the football players entering the wrestling room bring a “championship mentality.”

“They said it was pretty special, that feeling as a whole team kind of thing,” he said. “The last four years we’ve been as close as you can get, but we haven’t gotten that trophy in our hands. They said ‘That’s what we’re going to do.’ ”

Area finalists

98: Roddy Romero (soph., Post Falls)

106: Kenndyl Mobley (fr., North Central)

120: Chase Randall (jr., Mead)

126: Drew Roberts (soph., University), Clayton Gilliam (sr., North Central)

132: Ridge Lovett (sr., Post Falls)

138: Blake Haney (sr., Mt. Spokane), Chase Tebbets (sr., Mead)

160: Trevor Morrison (sr., Colville), Tyler Morris (sr., Post Falls)

182: John Knight (sr., Colville), Mason Miethe (sr., Mt. Spokane)

220: Ben Voigtlaender (jr., Mead)

285: Braxton Mikesell (jr. Central Valley)

Bold denotes champion.