Five Wood River High School wrestlers are taking aim on the 48th annual Idaho State Prep Wrestling Championships that begin Thursday, Feb. 24 at The Idaho Center in Nampa.
Senior Greg Lyons will be joined by junior Dustin Selner, sophomores Murdock Miller and Levi Stinnett, and freshman Collin Hand. All qualified during the Great Basin Conference tournament last week.
It will be the first time Wood River wrestlers have competed at the tougher 4A level.
Wood River's only district champion competing this weekend will be 130-pound sophomore Murdock Miller (32-12, 66-17 career). Miller is now a two-time district champion, having won at 103 pounds last February at the 3A level.
Miller, ranked sixth among 4A 130-pounders, starts the 2005 state tournament Thursday against Kuna's Jeremy Pierce. If he wins that, "Doc" could next face top-ranked Jake Thompson (39-2), the Rigby sophomore and State 4A 119-pound runner-up in 2004.
Lyons (35-9, 99-52 career) will open his 160-pound quest Thursday with a match against Vallivue's Brandon Badiola. If Lyons wins that one, he could face top-seeded Dustin Olsen of Preston (40-3), who defeated Lyons for the conference title Wednesday. Olsen won the State 3A 152-pound title in 2004.
Another Wolverine entry at 160 pounds is sophomore Levi Stinnett (21-12), fourth at Wednesday's conference meet in Pocatello. Stinnett is on the other side of the bracket from Lyons, and his first opponent is Nampa #3-ranked 160-pound senior Rickie Irwin (46-1)
Selner (14-5), fifth at 275 pounds in the conference meet, starts off against Bonneville junior Jordan Richardson, the winner of 36 matches this winter who placed sixth in the 4A 215-pound class in 2004. Richardson is ranked third and Selner sixth in Idaho polls.
Hand (24-22) had to wrestle a fifth-place conference playoff match Thursday in Twin Falls to make state—and he made it, beating Jerome's James Swenson 8-4. Hand goes against Sandpoint senior Joe Heil (26-6) in the Nampa debut Thursday.
Wood River coaches Danny Turner and Kim Orchard have high hopes for the five at state. Kuna is the reigning 4A team champion, having beaten Blackfoot 206 to 196.5 last year.