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For the week of Mar. 1 through Mar. 7, 2000

Wolverines make most of district wrestling

Goicoechea, Squires are SCIC champs

Wood River High School junior Cory Goicoechea came as close as you can come to a perfect season Saturday during the 43rd annual Idaho State Wrestling Championships at Holt Arena in Pocatello.

Top-seeded Goicoechea, unbeaten for the entire 1999-2000 season and winner of 56 consecutive matches dating back to last winter, wrestled all the way to the 171-pound championship match before falling 2-1 to Bonners Ferry junior John Plato.

It was a heartbreaking loss for a wrestler as competitive as Goicoechea (33-1 season, 96-16 career). He had won the State A-2 152-pound championship last February and finally encountered a wrestler with just a little more strength in Plato.

But there was a silver lining for Goicoechea.

Third-seeded Plato, fifth at state at 171 pounds in 1999, captured his first state title while Goicoechea, who made the difficult jump from 152 to 171 pounds this winter, settled for the silver medal in his third state meet.

Fifteenth-year Wood River wrestling coach Tom Goicoechea, Cory’s father, said, "It was one of those life lessons. I was proud of Cory. He handled it real well and had a great year.

Coach Goicoechea said Plato was a defensive wrestler, real strong but a staller. Cory threw him right away, in the first 15 seconds, but Plato had a way of working himself out of the circle and saving points. Plato did it in the first round, and then again when Cory got a single leg with 20 seconds left in the second period.

The only point in the first two periods came when Goicoechea escaped from the down position and inched ahead 1-0. "Plato never did shoot," coach Goicoechea said.

Plato, choosing down in the third, scored a two-point reversal and locked up Goicoechea for the remaining time. "Cory almost got out a couple of times but just couldn’t do it," the coach said.

Trying to become Wood River’s first unbeaten wrestler since senior John Pascoe went 27-0 and won the state 130-pound championship in 1990, Goicoechea made the final match with a thrilling 3-1 semi-final triumph over Jordan Peterson of Sugar-Salem on Friday.

Goicoechea’s two-point takedown with 10 seconds left was the winning margin against Peterson. Earlier in the three-day tournament, Goicoechea pinned Darrin Kellogg of Grangeville at 3:26 and won a 15-3 major decision over Kealii Hayes of Bear Lake.

Another Wolverine wrestler, freshman Matt Conover, also had an excellent tournament. Conover (20-17) came from behind several times in winning three matches at 112 pounds, good for sixth place.

Conover won 9-6 over Mike Vaughn of Marsh Valley, 9-8 over Phil Durrant of Kuna and 9-2 over Monte Johnson of Payette. He lost 16-5 to eventual third-place Brady Spurway of Lakeland, 11-0 to Fourth District king J.D. Gould of Buhl and 10-2 to Josh Bowcutt of Preston.

"Matt did a great job," coach Goicoechea said.

Winning one state match apiece were Wolverine senior Todd Christiansen (19-14 season, 63-57 career) at 215 and sophomore 145-pound district king Brian Squires (29-13).

Junior Zac Broadie (10-16 season, 33-41 career) had another tough draw in his second state meet and lost a couple of matches.

Outstanding A-2 wrestlers were Snake River senior Clint Wolfley and Kimberly senior Casey Gambrel.

Wolfley, the 119-pound king, became only the fifth A-2 wrestler to become a four-time state champion. Gambrel (37-0) had three pins and a 4-2 decision to win the 140-pound state championship—his second straight title after a 135-pound win.

Sending only five wrestlers to state, Wood River (33 points) nevertheless finished 19th of 31 schools in the team standings—ahead of SCIC rivals Buhl, Wendell and Filer. SCIC team champion Gooding ended up eighth with 83 points at state.

Tough in the lower and upper weights, Sugar-Salem of Sugar City entered 17 wrestlers (two 1sts, one 2nd, four 3rds) and won its third A-2 team championship in five years by a 173-122 margin over Lakeland (11 entries and three first-place winners).

Blackfoot earned its second straight State A-1 team title and North Fremont of Ashton captured its second consecutive A-3 championship and fourth in five years. So the best teams in the state came from the tough eastern Idaho mats, again.


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