Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bailey wrestles into title match at state

Hailey senior second at 132 pounds

Wood River High senior Cooper Bailey (right) joins parents Tom and Jill Bailey of Hailey at “Senior Night” festivities Feb. 5 at the high school gym. Photo by Roland Lane

     Competing in his fourth and final State 4A wrestling tournament, Wood River High School senior Cooper Bailey pulled off his best-ever result with a second-place finish Saturday in the 132-pound championship match at Nampa’s Ford Idaho Center.

     No. 2-seeded Bailey (40-5 season, 120-38 career) won his first two matches by 7-1 and 15-13 decisions, then posted a 7-5 sudden victory over No. 3-seeded Columbia junior Flavio Rosales (32-11) in the semi-final of the 16-wrestler class.

     The dramatic victory meant that Bailey gave Wood River High School its first state championship match finalist since Wolverine junior Matt Conover captured the school’s last state wrestling championship, at 135 pounds in 2002.

     In Saturday’s championship match, unbeaten and top-seeded Michael Cook of Kuna (43-0 season, 84-1 over two years) pinned Bailey in 1:19 helping the Kavemen to their second State 4A team title in three years with a divisional record of 318 total points—including six state champs.

     Cook was last year’s 126-pound State 4A king. In his eight state matches over two seasons, he had five pins in the first round, a technical fall, a 16-3 major decision and an 8-1 win in last year’s title bout.

     Wood River’s fifth-year coach Shawn Huntington said about his three-time district champion, “Cooper went 3-1 at the state tournament including an overtime victory in the semifinals to clinch a spot in the championship.

     “He took second at state and had a great tournament. I was really proud of him. He lost in the finals to Michael Cook of Kuna who became a four-time state champion so Cooper lost to a tough kid.”

     Wolverine sophomore Ryan Anderson (27-12), in his second state meet, bowed out early in the 120-pound competition. He was pinned at the very end of the second period in his opening match, and exited with a 6-4 decision setback.

     Huntington said, “Ryan was in a tough bracket and lost a couple of close matches. He went 0-2 but he wrestled hard and had great season.”

     Bailey, bound for Nebraska’s Concordia University, was bidding to give Wood River its 11th state wrestling title dating back to 1971. In all, eight Wolverine wrestlers have captured 10 state titles, the last double winner Cory Goicoechea in 2001 at 171 pounds, his second state championship in three years.

     Since 2002, the highest a Hailey wrestler has finished at state before Bailey’s runner-up effort was fourth place—by Greg Lyons at 189 in 2004, Alex Thomas at 285 in 2011 and Tommy Bailey at 145 in 2012.

     In other brackets during the 57th annual Idaho High School Activities Association state wrestling meet at Nampa:

     Centennial of Boise won its second consecutive State 5A championship and fourth overall with an Idaho record 320.5 points, two points better than last year; Fruitland captured its first-ever State 3A title 264-170.5 over Snake River of Moreland; and Malad slipped past Firth 149-147 for its first State 2A title since 2009 and second overall.

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