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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2004


Showing true grit
at state wrestling

Wolverines cap strong season at ISU

Express Staff Writer

Your average 189-pound wrestler at the Idaho State High School Wrestling Championships is a tough customer—strong like an average 215-pounder but leaner, quicker and built like a ton of bricks.

Greg Lyons, Wood River junior who placed fourth at state wrestling at 189, was a little banged up after his full weekend in Pocatello, but proud of his effort. Express photo by David N. Seelig

They are usually every bit of 189 pounds, too, and that’s before dinner. Think big along the lines of Wood River’s Boe Rushton, or the late, great Tom Sluder, who was every bit of 189 pounds back in 1989, or go further back to state champion Don Davies of Hailey in 1983.

Now think smaller along the lines of Wood River High School junior Greg Lyons, who weighed in at 169 pounds when he went into battle last weekend in the 189-pound class at the 2004 State 3A wrestling tournament staged at Idaho State University in Pocatello.

"Greg was undersized every single time I sent him out this season," said Wood River coach Danny Turner. "At state I said a blessing and hoped he wouldn’t get broken. He has always been undermanned, but if he can stay in a match he builds confidence."

Competing in his second state meet, Lyons couldn’t believe the size of some of his six opponents at Pocatello. "They were huge to me," Lyons said. "But I think I wrestle smarter. They depend on muscle, and I worked outside their muscle."

Lyons (27-10 season, 64-43 three years), unseeded after placing second in the Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference meet, shrugged off his size deficit and worked well enough last weekend at 189 to win four of six matches and finish in fourth place. It was Wood River’s most pleasant surprise at state.

"Greg wrestled with a huge heart—like a lion, really," said Turner. "He was outstanding."

Indeed, Turner was proud of all 11 of his Wolverine wrestlers during the three-day state tournament. Wood River ended up in 12th place of 26 teams with 68 points and had a second-place wrestler in freshman Murdock Miller (34-5), who made the title match at 103.

Seniors Duey Miller (33-8) and Brandon Silvia (29-10) also earned medals by placing sixth at 145 and 160 for Wood River.

"It was such a good, successful year—I can’t believe it’s over," said Turner. "The kids were so fun to be around. They worked hard and always gave 100%. It’s fun to win, and we were winning this year."

The enthusiasm generated by this year’s Wolverine team is continuing. Turner said, "The kids are really excited about club wrestling. They’ll probably get 30 collegiate-style matches this summer and that will help down the line."

Of the 11 Wolverines at state, six were underclassmen, which bodes well for the future.

Lyons said, "We felt we could have placed in the top six as a team at state. We’ll lose a lot with our seniors, but we thought about it and put it in perspective and realized that we’ll have six returning state qualifiers next year."

Weiser, with no first-place finishers, nonetheless won the State 3A title, its first since 1980, with a 16-point edge over Bonners Ferry. North Fremont in 2A (its 10th title), Eagle in 5A (third title in four years) and Kuna in 4A (first-ever) were the other state team winners.

Repeat state champions in 3A were Snake River sophomore Shawn Jones (33-3) at 125 pounds and three-year state champion Ryan Price (35-2) of Sugar-Salem at 189. Senior Will Baggs of Buhl (41-1) was this area’s only state king, at 171.


At state

Murdock Miller, the third seed, survived one of the tournament’s most exciting semi-final matches with a 7-5 overtime win over #2-seeded Tyson Curry of American Falls.

"Curry had come back from 5-0 down with a reversal and three-point near fall with 30 seconds left," said Turner. "The first time Murdock and Curry had wrestled this year, Murdock had him 6-3 then got turned on his back and pinned.

"We talked about it before overtime, and I said, do what got you here—take one good shot at him and make it your best. Murdock threw a sweet outside single on the edge of the mat and took him down 10 seconds into overtime.

"It’s huge for a freshman like Murdock to be in the championship." But there, he was pinned by top-seeded T.J. Solomon of Marsh Valley (31-1), who, according to Turner, "is a man amongst the boys."

Lyons, meanwhile, started with a pin then fell into the consolation bracket with a loss to eventual state runner-up Josh Haynes of Kellogg. Then, Lyons recorded a pair of pins in matches that "could have gone either way," Lyons said.

The best was a 1:44 pin over Weiser senior Zack Pearson, the third seed. Lyons wrestled defensively and kept it scoreless after one round, then the Hailey junior threw Pearson and pinned him. "It was a battle all the way," said Turner.

Guaranteed a medal, Lyons moved into the third-place match by winning a brutal 12-8 duel over Snake River junior Jerom Phillips. Turner said, "The Snake River kid kept throwing headlocks and Greg would roll through and finally he put him on his back.

"Greg got beat up pretty good in that match." Lyons was then pinned by Shelley senior Dave Johnson in the third-place final match.

Fourth-place Lyons said, "I was exhausted by the end of the tournament. My goal at the beginning of the season was to finish in the top six at state. At first, I thought I’d wrestle 171. Then I started winning at 189 so I decided to stay there."

Team captain Duey Miller, accepted at the Air Force Acacemy, finished a stellar career with sixth place at 145. He won two of five matches and every one was close—Miller giving up only 12 points. He lost to Snake River senior Cody Plant 3-2 in the semi-final.

"We could never turn Plant. He defended for the last minute-and-a-half," said Turner. "Duey had a great career, winning 130 or something matches. It’s the first time he has placed in a state tournament."

Silvia, also a senior, lost his opening match and earned his sixth-place medal the hard way, with three wins in the consolation round. "Brandon matured a lot this season," said Turner.

For a complete wrap-up of the 47th annual Idaho State High School 3A wrestling tournament, check this week’s Express Web site.



2004 State 3A
wrestling tournament

47th annual Idaho meet
Feb. 26-28, 2004 at ISU, Pocatello

Final team totals (26 teams)

1—Weiser 150.5 points (0 1sts, 1 2nd, 3 3rds, 1 4th)
2—Bonners Ferry 134.5 points (1 1sts, 2 2nds, 1 3rd, 0 4ths)
3—Shelley 128.5 points (2 1sts, 0 2nd, 2 3rds, 0 4ths)
4—Preston 128 points (2 1sts, 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 1 4th)
5—Snake River 127 points (1 1st, 1 2nd, 0 3rds, 3 4ths)
6—Kellogg 95.5 points (1 1st, 1 2nd, 0 3rds, 1 4th)
12—Wood River 68 points (0 1sts, 1 2nd, 0 3rds, 1 4th)
13—Declo 54 points (0 1sts, 0 2nds, 1 3rd, 2 4ths)
15—Kimberly 47 points (0 1sts, 1 2nd, 0 3rds, 0 4ths)

Summary—It was Weiser’s first State 3A title since 1980, and Weiser’s 1980 and 2004 titles are the only two times a southwestern Idaho team has won the State 3A meet. In 22 of 26 years, eastern Idaho has won state.

State qualifiers—Wood River 11, Kimberly 10, Gooding 8, Buhl 5, Declo 5, Filer 3.

Note—The Wolverines (11 wrestlers) had a 17-23 match record.

103 pounds

Championship—T.J. Solomon (Marsh Valley sophomore, 31-1) fall 1:59 over Murdock Miller (WR)

2nd place—Murdock Miller (31-4, #3 seed, WR freshman, 3-1 at state, 34-5 overall)
Pin 4:44 over Sugar-Salem sophomore Cody Yardley
Pin 1:43 Middleton freshman Tyler Pollock
Won 7-5 OT over American Falls sophomore #2 seed Tyson Curry (semi-final)
Was pinned 1:59 by Marsh Valley sophomore #1 seed T.J. Solomon (31-1)( championship)

112 pounds

Championship—Brandon Palaniuk (Lakeland sophomore. 33-5) 3-2 decision over Josh Strait (Marsh Valley sophomore)

Sid Watson (14-9, WR sophomore, 1-2 at state, 15-11 overall)
Pin 1:08 over Preston junior Kennon Jeppsen
Lost 17-0 to Fruitland senior J.R. Martinez
Lost 9-5 to Teton freshman Braden Buxton

119 pounds

Championship—Louis Bean (Sugar-Salem senior, 37-0) 13-5 major decision over Sonny Silva (Kimberly junior)

Jordan Vert (16-8, WR freshman, 0-2 at state, 16-10 overall)
Was pinned 4:32 by Preston freshman Tyler Dietrich
Lost 6-2 to Fruitland junior Josh Gifford

125 pounds

Championship—Shawn Jones (Snake River sophomore. 33-3) fall 1:04 over Abram Salcedo (Payette sophomore). Jones (69-6 two years) won the 112-pound state championship in 2003.

No WR wrestlers

130 pounds

Championship—Lance Mecham (Bear Lake junior, 37-5) 4-2 decision over Logan Lusk (American Falls senior)

Josh Orchard (18-8, WR sophomore, 0-2 at state, 18-10 overall)
Was pinned 1:06 by Weiser senior Matt Noble
Lost 6-3 to Snake River junior Jordan Clark

135 pounds

Championship—Adam Beardall (Preston senior, 39-10) fall 5:10 over Tim Johnson (Bonners Ferry senior)

No WR wrestlers

140 pounds

Championship—Adam Hall (Bonners Ferry sophomore, 37-0) major decision 17-6 over Jerry Cobb (Weiser junior)

No WR wrestlers

145 pounds

Championship—Brandon Seymour (Kellogg senior, 33-9) 8-7 decision over Cody Plant (Snake River senior). Plant was the #1 seed and reigning 135-pound state champion.

6th place—Duey Miller (31-5, #3 seed WR senior, 2-3 at state, 33-8 overall)
Won 6-1 over Preston senior Giovanni Crosland
Won 9-2 over Bonners Ferry junior Ken Koehler
Lost 3-2 to Snake River senior Cody Plant (semi-final)
Lost 2-1 to Middleton senior Eric Bowen
Lost 4-2 to Bonners Ferry senior Dan Swift (fifth-place match)

152 pounds

Championship—Dustin Olsen (Preston sophomore, 42-5) 9-3 decision over Jon Pluid (Bonners Ferry senior). Pluid was the #1 seed and reigning state 140-pound champion.

Robert Wiesen (23-10, WR senior, 1-2 at state, 24-12 overall)
Was pinned 2:40 by Fruitland junior Moe Bivens
Won 7-5 over St. Maries freshman Kyle Joiner
Lost 6-0 to Weiser senior Luke Stout

160 pounds

Championship—Adam Balmforth (Shelley senior, 34-2) 7-4 decision over Michael Eldred (Fruitland senior)

6th place—Brandon Silvia (26-7, WR senior, 3-3 at state, 29-10 overall)
Lost 8-3 to American Falls senior Josh Spanton
Won 13-4 over Sugar-Salem junior Ryan Jeppson
Won by injury default over Weiser junior Kameron Pratt
Won 7-1 over Lakeland senior Sean McCrite
Lost 5-4 to American Falls senior #3 seed Josh Spanton
Lost 5-0 to Marsh Valley junior Alex Shiperd (fifth-place match)

Russell Adams (23-10, WR senior, 0-2 at state, 23-12 overall)
Lost 10-4 to Marsh Valley junior Alex Sipherd
Lost 13-5 to St. Maries junior Ben Felix

171 pounds

Championship—Will Baggs (Buhl senior, 41-1) 7-4 decision over Scott Hansen (Priest River senior)

No WR wrestlers

189 pounds

Championship—Ryan Price (Sugar-Salem senior, 35-2) fall 0:27 over Josh Haynes (Kellogg senior). It was Price’s third state title—160 pounds in 2002 and 189 pounds in 2003.

4th place—Greg Lyons (23-8, WR junior, 4-2 at state)
Pin 1:27 over Salmon freshman Tyson Porter
Was pinned 3:07 by Kellogg senior Josh Haynes
Pin 2:08 over Bonners Ferry sophomore Donnie Dinning
Pin 1:44 over Weiser senior Zack Pearson
Won 12-8 over Snake River junior Jerom Phillips
Was pinned 3:36 by Shelley senior Dave Johnson (third-place match)

215 pounds

Championship—Jayson Baird (Shelley senior, 27-2) fall 3:26 over Blake Cord (Timberlake junior)

Brad Dussell (14-14, WR senior, 1-2 at state)
Was pinned 2:20 by Weiser sophomore Kory Pratt
Won by forfeit
Was pinned 3:36 by Weiser freshman Kyle Burch

275 pounds

Championship—David Howard (Timberlake junior, 28-2) fall 5:07 over Landon Harris (Sugar-Salem sophomore)

Dustin Selner (21-8, WR sophomore, 2-2 at state)
Was pinned 2:19 by St. Maries junior Dustin Brede
Pin 0:35 Marsh Valley sophomore Brayden Gambles
Won 9-6 over Weiser senior Michael Routson
Was pinned 2:21 by Lakeland senior Ken Edmondson



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