Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hand climbs a spot at state wrestling

Season-ending meet in Nampa

Wood River High School senior Collin Hand moved up a place and finished fifth in the 189-pound class Saturday during the 51st annual Idaho State High School Wrestling Championships debut in Nampa.

Hand (27-7 this winter, 56-18 two seasons including 6th state at 189 last year) beat Skyview senior Derek Babcock 12-1 in Saturday's State 4A fifth-place match. It was Hand's fourth win of the three-day meet.

"A big congratulations to Collin for ending his career as a two time state placer," said his coach, Tyson Young.

The Hailey senior opened Thursday with a 3-1 overtime win over Columbia junior Colton Vaughn (30-13). Hand was pinned just before the second-round buzzer by Bonneville senior Jon Williams (34-10), the eventual third-place finisher in the weight class.

Hand fought back with two consolation wins—an 11-8 decision over Mountain Home senior Luke Loomis (33-6) and 17-2 technical fall over Nampa senior Josh Pearson (24-18). Hand lost his second match by a third-round pin to Burley's fourth-place senior Corbin Bowers (33-8) before beating Babcock for fifth place.

The winner at 189 pounds was top-seeded Blackfoot senior J.C. Percy (38-3), last year's runner-up at 171 pounds.

Two other Wood River wrestlers saw state action at Nampa. They were sophomore Tanner Orchard who was 1-2 at 145 pounds and freshman Andrew Orr, also 1-2 at 152.

Orchard (7-9) had a tough assignment. He drew top-seeded eventual state champion Abner Cook of Pocatello (46-0) in his first match and was pinned at 37 seconds. Orchard then defeated sophomore Cody Staebler of Mountain Home by 1:39 pin in the consolation round and lost 18-4 to sixth-place Todd Wirkus of Hillcrest in his next match.

Orr (11-21) pinned at 3:37 Tim Hazelbaker of Mountain Home in his first match and dropped a 12-2 decision to eventual state champ Jerod Hammond of Burley (30-7), a #2-seeded senior. Orr ended his first state trip losing a 15-0 technical fall to Pocatello senior Brian Cosgrove.

Young said, "What are great experience for these guys! As coaches we saw a lot of confidence and maturity at the state tournament and it showed in how well they performed. I'm very proud of how far we have come and extremely proud of where we're headed."

State champs from this area were Minico senior Nate Crane (34-3, 71-4 two years) at 119, his second straight title; Jerome junior Cory Cummins (38-0) at 103; and Minico senior David Burgara (40-0) at 130.

Great Basin Conference team winner and 2006 State 4A champion Minico of Rupert had qualified 20 wrestlers for state but finished lower, in sixth place with 141 points, than Great Basin runner-up Pocatello with its 14 state wrestlers. Pocatello placed third overall with 174 points.

Blackfoot (211 points), a 12.5-point winner over Sandpoint last year, won its second straight State 4A team championship and fourth overall by a 13.5-point margin over Columbia of Nampa (197.5). Blackfoot had a solid block of winners in the 160, 171, 189 and 215 classes, three seniors and one junior.

Challis (193.5 points) captured its fourth State 2A/1A team title in seven years by 39 points over two-time defending champ North Fremont of Ashton (154.5). American Falls (202 points) had four individual winners to beat last year's 3A king Shelley (178.5) by 23.5 points in the final totals. It was the second title in three years for the Beavers.

Mountain View of Meridian (221.5 points) won three titles in the upper weights and earned its first-ever State 5A championship by 49 points over Idaho Falls (172.5).

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