The Wood River wrestling team picked up some good experience and got to do a little scouting on who they might see at next month's state tournament at the Madison Invitational, Jan.14-15 in Rexburg.
Out of 15 teams, Wood River, with only five grapplers, placed 12th. Blackfoot won the meet, followed by Sandpoint, North Fremont and Rigby.
Coach Danny Turner remarked, "We saw a lot of teams that we don't normally see. It was a good tournament for us as far as exposure."
The Wolverines had two wrestlers, Greg Lyons and Murdock Miller, advance to the semifinals.
In the 171-pound class, Lyons (4-1) finished third. Lyons, the sole senior on the Hailey squad, came back from a loss by pin to Cole Spaulding of Mountain Home to knock off Matt Darrington of Shelley in the consolation match, 10-4.
"He came back and beat a good kid," Turner said. "It was by far Greg's best match of the week. He wrestled start to finish."
Miller, a 130-pound sophomore, was defeated 7-2 in the semis by defending state champion Jake Thompson (119 pounds) of Rigby.
"It was a real good match. He did not make a lot of mistakes," Turner remarked. Miller finished fourth with a 3-2 mark.
Soph Jordan Vert (0-2) drew both the #2 and #3 seeds at 145.
Turner recounted, "Jordan wrestled really well. He almost pinned the third-seeded kid from Skyline in the first period. It was a learning situation: never give a good wrestler a second chance."
Vert lost by decision, 13-12 and suffered another close loss in his second match, 5-4.
"He lost another heartbreaker to a kid from Madison on a last-second reversal."
Freshmen Collin Hand, a rarity in the 189-pound class, since you usually don't find many underclassmen in the heavyweight ranks, held his own according to Turner.
Hand finished in sixth place with a 2-3 record. Josh Orchard went 0-2 at 135 and Levi Stinnet was 0-2 at 160.
In the junior varsity tournament, Jonathan Diem posted his first win of the season and finished 1-2. Ricky Maxwell was 2-2 at 130. Donald Sluder and Christian Aguirre were both 0-2.
In tri-meet action last week, Wendell was the big winner at Filer Thursday. The Trojans knocked off Wood River 45-36 and Filer 48-30. The Wildcats nipped the Wolverines (2-7) by three points, 42-39, to claim the rubber match.
Results might have been a little different has the Wolverines not been forced to forfeit two weight classes, 119 and 125, in both matches.
Despite coming out on the short end of the stick, the Wolverines turned in some great individual results.
"They wrestled well," Turner said. "All our wins, except by Greg Lyons were by pin. The two forfeits put us in a hole in both matches."
Isaac Sherbine (103), Josh Orchard (140), Jordan Vert (145) and Levi Stinnett (160) were all two-time winner and all by pin. Greg Lyons collected a pair of victories by decision and forfeit. Christian Aguirre, Collin Hand (pin) and Murdock Miller (pin) won one match apiece.
In junior varsity action, Donald Sluder claimed two wins in the 171-pound class.
The Wood River varsity squad will be back in action at the Sugar-Salem Invitational, Jan.21-22.