Without question the Wood River wrestling community came together and put together a terrific Great Basin Conference state-qualifying tournament Wednesday at Wood River High School gym, Hailey.
Hosted by the Wolverine wrestling team and staffed by many volunteers, the seven-team meet moved along crisply over eight hours as 119 wrestlers in 14 weight divisions clashed in a total 203 matches.
In the end the Great Basin team winner was the same as last year, 2006 State 4A champion Minico of Rupert. Minico piled up 350 points including five first-place finishes to outdistance second-place Pocatello (285, five 1sts). The gap between Minico and Pocatello last year was a miniscule half a point.
Only one defending state champion from 2007 competed in Hailey and that was Minico's outstanding senior Nate Crane. A state champ at 112 last February, he captured Wednesday's 119-pound weight class.
The top five wrestlers in each weight classes qualified for the 51st annual Idaho State High School Wrestling Championships Feb. 21-23 at The Idaho Center, Nampa. Minico qualified the most, 20 matmen.
Coach Tyson Young's Wood River Wolverines entered 10 wrestlers in six weight classes. Wood River qualified three for state—#3-seeded senior Collin Hand at 189 pounds, #4-seeded sophomore Tanner Orchard at 145 and #5-seeded freshman Andrew Orr at 152.
Hand placed third by winning four matches at 189. Orchard finished in fifth place with three match wins at 145. They will be making repeat trips to state. Orr won three matches for fifth place at 152.
Three Wolverines narrowly missed state trips by placing sixth. They were freshman Tyler Bartlett (1-3) at 103 pounds, junior Alex Jones (2-3) at 160 and freshman Willie Dugger (1-3) at 171 pounds.
In all, Wood River won 14 of its 36 matches Wednesday. Other wrestlers were senior Rickey Maxwell at 145, sophomore Tyler Jaramillo at 152, freshman Kasey Barker at 160 and sophomore Juve Ruiz 171.
Before the meet Wolverine coach Young thought his Wolverines were a lock for three state berths and possibly as many as five. He was very enthusiastic about the way things went at the big meet.
Young said, "The boys wrestled their tails off. When you look at the experience we brought to the mat, I'm really excited about how we did. We're climbing!"
Great Basin results:
Team standings: 1—Minico 350 points (5 1sts, 3 2nds, 2 3rds, 4 4ths, 6 5ths, 2 6ths). 2—Pocatello 285 (5 1sts, 4 2nds, 2 3rds, 1 4th, 2 5ths). 3—Jerome 249 points (3 1sts, 4 3rds, 3 4ths, 4 5ths, 5 6ths).
4—Preston 156 points (3 2nds, 3 3rds, 3 4ths). 5—Burley 130.5 (1 1st, 3 2nds, 1 3rd, 1 4th, 2 6ths). 6—Century of Pocatello 73 (1 2nd, 1 3rd, 2 4ths, 2 6ths). 7—Wood River 61 points (1 3rd, 2 5ths, 3 6ths).
Previous Great Basin Conference team champions: 2003 and 2004—Jerome. 2005 and 2006—Preston. 2007—Minico of Rupert.
State qualifiers: Minico 20, Pocatello 14, Jerome 14, Preston 9, Burley 6, Century 4, Wood River 3.
Here are the conference placers, the top five advancing to state with the top three earning medals and ribbons for fourth-and fifth-places:
103 pounds: 1—Cody Cummins (Jer). 2—Tyler Praska (Poc). 3—Nick Porter (Preston). 4—Kaden Luper (Jer). 5—Kory Kunzler (Min). 6—Tyler Bartlett (WR).
112 pounds: 1—Keenan Allen (Jer). 2—Eddie Millward (Poc). 3—Mike Jones (Jer). 4—Garth Crane (Min). 5—Vince Kippes (Min). 6—Tyler Nelson (Bur).
119 pounds: 1—Nate Crane (Min). 2—Micheal Porter (Preston). 3—Colton Neilsen (Poc). 4—Cully Hendricks (Century). 5—Justin Rallison (Jer). 6—Justin Cameron (Min).
125 pounds: 1—Nate Armstrong (Poc). 2—Kegan Schell (Min). 3—Tyson Alder (Preston). 4—Christian Garcia (Bur). 5—Dan Horton (Jer). 6—Clark Thompson (Century).
130 pounds: 1—David Burgara (Min). 2—Josh Womack (Preston). 3—Jacob Lake (Bur). 4—Devon Molitor (Jer). 5—Jonathan Albers (Jer). 6—Miguel Chavez (Min).
135 pounds: 1—Bryan Otto (Poc). 2—Nathan Broadhead (Bur). 3—Justin Hickman (Jer). 4—Teegan Bingham (Min). 5—Chris Killoy (Min). 6—Dominic Pratt (Jer).
140 pounds: 1—Jake Hruza (Min). 2—Billy Potter (Poc). 3—Tyler Powell (Jer). 4—Justin Hatch (Preston). 5—Tyler Hanssen (Min). 6—Cesar Mendoza (Bur).
145 pounds: 1—Abner Cook (Poc). 2—Tyler Waters (Preston). 3—Landon Barnes (Min). 4—Carson Glover (Century). 5—Tanner Orchard (WR). 6—Heyden Thacker (Jer).
152 pounds: 1—Jerod Hammond (Bur). 2—Brian Cosgrove (Poc). 3—Dylan Brigham (Poc). 4—Colby May (Min). 5—Andrew Orr (WR). 6—Cody McCoy (Jer).
160 pounds: 1—Dallas Warren (Poc). 2—Miles Bishop (Bur). 3—Aaron Kirkham (Century). 4—Riley Argyle (Jer). 5—Aaron Kloepfer (Min). 6—Alex Jones (WR).
171 pounds: 1—Wade Bennett (Jer). 2—Miguel Simental (Min). 3—Montana Thompson (Preston). 4—Jace Wilson (Poc). 5—Josh Draper (Min). 6—Willie Dugger (WR).
189 pounds: 1—Brady Cooper (Min). 2—Corbin Bowers (Bur). 3—Collin Hand (WR). 4—Nick Bowles (Preston). 5—Ben Dahl (Poc). 6—Kyle Novis (Jer).
215 pounds: 1—Trevor Rupp (Poc). 2—Nathan Barclay (Min). 3—Terrence Taylor (Min). 4—Josh Ebanez (Preston). 5—Cody Hoskins (Jer). 6—Zack Smith (Century).
275 pounds: 1—Josh Ramirez (Min). 2—Josh Wardlow (Century). 3—Pat Lough (Jer). 4—Ramiro Rojas (Min). 5—Wes Howard (Poc). 6—Andy McDowell (Jer).