3A State Recap
Future CFB Teammates, Gooding’s Finley and Koyle Finish on Top
POCATELLO • You would think winning a state championship, let alone his second straight, would be the highlight of Josh Finley’s day.
Saturday at the Idaho High School State Wrestling Championships at Holt Arena In Pocatello, Finley dominated his final match on his way to the 3A 220-pound state title for the second consecutive year, punctuating his high school wrestling career with a pin.
That was nice and all, but the best part had already happened
Minutes earlier, on the very same mat, Finley’s longtime friend, practice partner and once-and-future teammate Landunn Koyle won a state championship of his own at 195 pounds. Finley watched as he warmed up alongside the mat.
“Battling with him all year, it’s crazy,” Finley said. “We have the craziest drills. Just to see him win title is better than winning one myself. He’s worked so hard for it.”
Against lanky second-seed ColeBee Ranson from Payette, Koyle was able to power his way out of virtually any attempt at a shot and build a lead. By the third period, Ransom was visibly exhausted and could manage only desperation shots. One of them had Koyle on the ground, but he never surrendered a takedown and held on for a 7-4 win.
“I can’t even explain it,” Koyle said. “I’ve been working my whole life for this ever since I started wrestling when I was five, four. It was leading up to this.”
Then it was Finley’s turn.
Utilizing the burst that made him a star running back for the Senators and the level-headedness of being here before, Finley took tshot after shot at Snake River’s Tyrel Jensen to build a quick lead. The pin came midway through the second period.
“I saw some double legs,” Finley said. “I saw my throw at the beginning. I just decided ‘screw it,’ and threw, and it worked out for the best.”
The pair’s championships set the tone in a strong weekend for the Senators. A third teammate, junior Spencer Ferguson, made the finals at 145 pounds before losing by pin. The team as a whole finished ninth in 3A with 102 points, far and away the top mark among Magic Valley teams.
Koyle and Finley will continue their football careers together at College of Idaho. The last time they took the gridiron, it was also at Holt Arena in a 20-15 upset loss to Shelley in the state quarterfinals.
This trip went a little better.
“The only way it would have been any better would be if I was wrestling Shelley for the championship,” Koyle said. “That wasn’t possible.”
It wasn’t possible because it had already happened. Koyle pinned Jason Burton of Shelley in 20 seconds in the first round Friday.
When Finley claimed the 220 title last season, Koyle was third at 195. Both were the top returners in their respective weight classes this season and the top seeds entering the weekend. The stage was set from the start, and Saturday evening, it all came to fruition.
Catching his breath after his match, Koyle watched Finley begin his dismantling of Jensen. The teammates were moments from being able to celebrate together as state champions.
“When he pulls this one off,” Koyle said, “it’s gonna be one big party.”
3A Area Placers
126: Clements, Gooding, 5th; Rimer, Buhl, 6th.
132: Hallett, Kimberly, 6th.
145: Ferguson, Gooding, 2nd.
195: Koyle, Gooding, 1st.
220: Finley, Gooding, 1st.
1. Snake River 246
2. Fruitland 192
3. Sugar-Salem 181
4. Weiser 167
5. American Falls 152
6. Shelley 120.5
7. Teton 115.5
8. Kellogg 107
9. Gooding 102
10. Timberlake 90.5
11. South Fremont 73
12. Payette 70
13. Marsh Valley 69
14. Parma 53.5
15. Priest River 48
16. Homedale 45
17. Emmett 42
18. Buhl 28.5
19. Kimberly 23.5
20. Bonners Ferry 21
21. Filer 8
4A State Recap
Twin Falls Best Among Great Basin Conference Thanks to Luker
POCATELLO • If this season marked the dawning of a new era for Twin Falls wrestling, then Saturday might go down as a holiday of sorts.
The Bruins finished the state tournament leading all 4A Magic Valley teams with 89 points, good enough for ninth place, and capped the day with an individual title for senior heavyweight Keegan Luker.
Tied 1-1 with Caldwell’s Drew Sowards after regulation, Luker caught Sowards off balance on a throw attempt, tripped him and sent the two tumbling to the mat. Luker came out on top, locked up for the pin and breathed a sigh of jubilant relief.
“It feels unreal,” Luker said. “I thought I gonna go over for just a second, and once I caught his leg, I felt him going over and I’m like ‘OK, it’s over.’”
Luker knew what was coming. It was his third match and third win against Sowards this season.
“He was going for that throw,” Luker said. “He’s tried to do that before.
The first six minutes played out much as one would expect of a match between two opponents well-versed in each other’s way. Each managed only an escape. Offense was hard to come by.
Luker survived a match against another familiar foe Saturday morning, outlasting longtime rival Lucio Carrillo of Jerome in overtime in the semifinals
Seeing Sowards in the final came as a surprise. Seeded second, Luker anticipated a date with top-seeded Tayson Reid of Preston in the finals. Instead, Sowards beat Reid 6-4 Saturday morning.
“It was unexpected,” Luker said. “In my mind I was like ‘I’ve beaten him before. I’m good with this. I can do this.’”
While Luker’s time as a Bruin wrestler is through, he played a key role in creating new momentum for the program. This was head coach Dusty Skidmore’s first season at the helm at Twin Falls, and the former Shelley led a reasonably young but deep squad to its first ever district championship last week.
On Saturday, junior Dallin Hatch also made the finals at 182 pounds, falling to three-time state champion Levi Perry of Kuna by pin. Three other Bruins placed.
Hatch and Grant Bjornn, a sixth-place finisher at 145 as a sophomore Saturday, return from that group, as will seven more state qualifiers. Hatch’s twin brother Landon, initially the team’s starter at 195 before suffering an injury, will be back as well.
The Bruins had had success under former coach Saiid Dabestani, but Saturday showed that perhaps a fresh start was just what the Bruins needed.
“It was a lot different,” Luker said. “It changed, but it was a good change.”
106: Braden Dickinson, Canyon Ridge, 4th; Dallas Andrade, Minico, 5th.
113: Francisco Lara, Canyon Ridge, 6th.
120: Ryan Anderson, Wood River, 4th.
132: Brian Borden, Minico, 6th.
138: Koy Meredith, Minico, 3rd.
145: Grant Bjornn, Twin Falls, 6th.
152: James Anderson, Minico, 3rd.
160: Boe Boston, Minico, 5th; Ryan Altom, Twin Falls, 6th.
170: Chase Mayo, Canyon Ridge, 5th.
182: Dallin Hatch, Twin Falls, 2nd; Ryker Fenstermaker, Burley, 5th.
195: Brendon Belnap, Twin Falls, 5th.
220: Austin Hobbs, Burley, 5th.
285: Keegan Luker, Twin Falls, 1st; Lucio Carrillo, Jerome, 4th; Chandler Collins, Canyon Ridge, 6th.
1. Caldwell 298.5
2. Kuna 217.5
3. Mountain Home 208
4. Lakeland 190
5. Pocatello 150
6. Sandpoint 124
7. Blackfoot 120
8. Preston 96
9. Twin Falls 89
10. Canyon Ridge 87
11. Minico 76
12. Rigby 50
13. Middleton 47
14. Burley 42.5
15. Skyview 31
16. Wood River 22
17. Bishop Kelly 19
18. Jerome 15
19. Moscow 5
20. Century 0
2A State Recap
Glorious Day for Riggs, Nunnelee, Horn and Mitton
POCATELLO • The Magic Valley was guaranteed at least one champion Saturday evening.
The 2A heavyweight final pitted a pair of area wrestlers who were quite familiar with each other. Saturday’s tilt between Glenns Ferry senior Jack Riggs and Declo sophomore Bryson Robinson was the fifth between the in the past two years, and Riggs put his experience to good use, staying aggressive and racking up a 12-3 major decision for the title.
“I can’t even explain it,” Riggs said. “It’s the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I’ve worked a lot for this right here.”
Riggs anticipated Tristin Wright of West Jefferson in the finals, but seconds after Riggs qualified, he turned around to see Robinson pin Wright. He said he’s seen Robinson vastly expand his arsenal of moves in the past two seasons.
No one can question the quality of completion Riggs dealt with through out the year. He had previous wins this season over his final three opponents in the state tournament, including Robinson and Valley junior Lorenzo Ramirez.
The three Magic Valley grapplers swept the top three spots on the 2A heavyweight podium. Robinson and Ramirez will return next season.
“This whole weight class is gonna come up,” Riggs said. “They’re all young. It’s going to be an outstanding weight class to come back and watch next year.”
Riggs win made him just the second ever state champion in the history of Glenns Ferry wrestling. He nearly achieved that distinction last year, but lost by a single point in the finals.
“Coming into this year, compared to last year, I was 100 percent calm and ready for it and telling my self it was just another day in the office and I just have to wrestle,” Riggs said.
John Nunnelee can relate. The Declo senior also fell in the finals last season and came into this season and this tournament deadest one not repeating that experience.
“After my loss last year, there hasn’t been a day that I didn’t think about that loss,” Nunnelee said. “It scarred me for life. I knew I was never going to have to deal with that again. I was gonna to work harder than anyone in the state.”
Nunnelee controlled his final match against Cole Wallen of Potlach throughout en route to an 11-1 major decision.
Nunnelee also played a role in Oakley senior Levi Mitton’s championship win at 152 pounds two matches later. Mitton had lost to his opponent, Zach Wilkins of Kamiah, two years earlier. Nunnelee told Mitton that he would be able to take on Wilkins this time, giving the fifth seed some added confidence in the finals.
He also had someone special watching.
“My main motivation was my grandpa,” Mitton said. “He’s having heart problems and he’s here in Pocatello.”
Also victorious for the Magic Valley was Colton Horn of Shoshone at 220 pounds. After finishing third at 195 last year, Horn bumped up to 220 and dethroned defending 2A 220 champion Noah Grossman of Marsing 9-2 after surviving a chaotic semifinal match.
He was reluctant to make the move at first. Some in the wrestling community told him to cut back to 195, but he chose to lift weights instead to prepare for the higher weight. It paid off Saturday.
“My mom and my dad and other adult role models told me ‘take him on. You can beat Noah Grossman,’” Horn said. “‘If you work hard enough, you can beat Noah Grossman.’”
He becomes the first ever state champion from Shoshone. One might not need to look far to find the second. His brother Cade, a sophomore, took second Saturday at 113 pounds.
98: Sam Mitton, Oakley, 3rd.
106: Dale Schoth, Wendell, 4th; Britton Bedke, Oakley, 6th.
113: Cade Horn, Shoshone, 2nd; Grant Anderson, Raft River, 4th; William Wells, Oakley, 5th.
138: John Nunnelee, Declo, 1st.
145: Blaine Phillips, Declo, 3rd.
152: Levi Mitton, Oakley, 1st; Brandin Drown, Wendell, 6th.
160: Armando Jimenez, Wendell, 5th.
170: Tyler Matthews, Declo, 3rd.
182: Kyle Mitton, Oakley, 4th.
195: Rogelio Gomez, Raft River, 3rd.
220: Colton Horn, Shoshone, 1st.
285: Jack Riggs, Glenns Ferry, 1st; Bryson Robinson, Declo, 2nd; Lorenzo Ramirez, Valley, 3rd.
1. Ririe 149
2. New Plymouth 148.5
4. West Jefferson 121
5. St. Maries 120.5
6. Declo 108.5
7. Malad 108
7. Salmon 108
9. Oakley 95.5
10. North Fremont 76
11. Potlach 63
12. McCall-Donnelly 61
13. Shoshone 51.5
14. North Gem 45
14. Wenedll 45
16. Clearwater Valley 44
17. Grace 43.5
18. Aberdeen 41.5
19. Firth 41
20. Melba 38.5
21. Raft River 38
22. Valley 37
23. Glenns Ferry 30
24. Marsing 29
25. West Side 28
26. Grangeville 27
26. Kamiah 27
28. Cascade 26
29. Bear Lake 20
29. Prairie 20
31. Orofino 11
32. Soda Spring 10
33. Mullan 4
33. Wallace 4
35. Garden Valley 3