Friday, February 18, 2011

Two Wood River wrestlers capture district titles

Seven from Hailey make the state grade

Two conference champions and seven wrestlers headed to state were achievements of the Wood River High School wrestling team during Wednesday's six-school Great Basin Conference tourna-ment at Jerome.

Senior 189-pounder Kasey Barker will be returning to the State 4A tournament for the second straight year after his 7-0 championship match victory over Minico's Salvador Gutierrez in the 189 final Wednesday.

Joining Barker as a new district champion from Wood River was freshman 112-pounder Cooper Bailey, who defeated his senior teammate Tyler Bartlett 9-2 in Wednesday's championship match.

Wood River didn't have an individual GBC champion last February, so second-year coach Shawn Huntington was pleased with the progress his team made in the conference meet.

Besides Bartlett, Wood River produced second-place finishers and state qualifiers in 140-pound sophomore Tommy Bailey and 285-pound senior Alex Thomas. Thomas dropped his championship match 3-1 to Jerome's Layne Lasike.

Third-place wrestle-offs were important because the conference was awarded only three berths to the State 4A meet instead of the four berths the Great Basin got in 2010.

And Wood River nailed down a pair of third-place wins when sophomore Jared Anderson deci-sioned his sophomore teammate Tim Boyle 6-0 at 119 pounds and Auden Ruhter worked a pin at 215 pounds for another state berth. Along with fourth-place Boyle, 189-pound senior Willy Dugger nar-rowly missed a state berth in fourth.

Wednesday's team standings were flip-flops from last year. Minico of Rupert (270 points) moved up from second place and dethroned two-time conference king Jerome (249.5).

Wood River (162) advanced as well from fourth to third place, switching places with Twin Falls (153). Canyon Ridge of Twin Falls (145) jumped from sixth to fifth place, pushing Burley (98) down a position.

Columbia of Nampa is the two-time defending State 4A champion for the 54th annual Idaho High School Wrestling Championships sponsored by the Idaho High School Activities Association Feb. 24-26 at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

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