POCATELLO — After a third-place finish at last season’s 2A state wrestling tournament, Declo currently trails only Ririe after one day at this year’s edition of the state tournament.
Ririe, the defending champion from last season, is sitting at 107 points, while the Hornets are 21 points behind at 86.
Declo has seven semifinalists, as 98-pound sophomore Dax Blackmon, 113-pound sophomore Layton Clark, 126-pound senior Caden Crider, 145-pound freshman Derek Matthews, 160-pound sophomore Gabe Matthews, 195-pound senior McKay Breshears and 220-pound junior Dawson Osterhout all have opportunities to help push the Hornets over the top on Saturday.
Osterhout will go up against Wendell senior Ben Orozco, whom he defeated in the district tournament last week. A few more Hornets could end up wrestling conference opponents in the finals if they make it, as several other Magic Valley representatives punched their tickets to the semis.
Raft River freshman Tegan Whitaker will go in the semis at 113 pounds, while his 138-pound teammate, sophomore Ryan Nelson, will do the same in his class. Wendell sophomore Teegan Dunn will look to advance to the 145-pound finals, and, along with Orozco, freshman Kevin Green will hope to be a finalist at 285 pounds.
Wendell is in 10th place in 2A, Raft River is in 18th and Oakley sits in 21st. Glenns Ferry, Valley and Dietrich take up 27th, 28th and 29th, respectively, while Murtaugh is tied for 30th.
Wendell freshman 98-pounder Wyatt Flick, Glenns Ferry junior 120-pounder Braden Chafin, 132-pound sophomore Wes Shaw of Dietrich, Oakley sophomore 152-pounder Isaac Mitton, Wendell senior 170-pounder Kyler Lukesh, Oakley junior 182-pounder Kade Toribau and Valley sophomore heavyweight Tito Garcia all won their opening match before falling in the quarterfinals.
Buhl has put forth the top performance from the four 3A squads out of District 4, as the Indians are in sixth place with 64.5 points.
Kimberly is in eighth with 61, Gooding is in 13th at 40 points and Filer is in 18th with 17.
The Indians have been led by their lightweight standouts, Teo Sanchez and Kade Orr. Sanchez, a freshman, made the semifinals at 98 pounds, while Orr, who won the state title at 106 last year, is in the semifinals at 113 this year.
Kimberly has five semifinalists, with 120-pound junior Jonah Bacon, 145-pound senior Riley Hallett, 152-pound senior Michael Coy, 170-pound junior Broddey Cunningham and 182-pound senior Hunter O’Berg one win away from a championship appearance.
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Gooding’s two-time 285-pound state champion Jake McGinnis is in the semifinals again, and is two wins away from becoming a three-time champion. Senators freshman Tayten Gillette is also in the semifinals at 138 pounds, and will look to make the finals in his first try at the high school level.
Two Buhl 106-pounders, junior Devin Rowland and sophomore Chance Bennett, each won their first matches before falling in the quarters. The Indians also had 120-pound freshman Wesley Pearson, 138-pound senior Adam Mings, 160-pound senior Anibal Barragan and 195-pound senior AJ Dominguez did the same. Gooding junior 145-pounder Teagan Baumann and 170-pound sophomore Logan Anderson, along with Filer senior 182-pounder Skyler Moore also reached the quarterfinals.
Jerome’s eight semifinalists are the most at the 4A level, but plenty of other teams have grapplers still vying for a spot in the title match on Saturday.
Behind the Tigers in fourth sits Minico in eighth, Twin Falls in 11th, Burley in 23rd, Canyon Ridge in 25th and Wood River in 28th.
Along with Jerome sophomore Gabriel Taboa, two other Great Basin Conference wrestlers make up three of the final four at 120 pounds. Twin Falls junior Kase Mauger and Minico senior Zak Allred will both look to make the finals, as Allred is tasked with facing Taboa.
Twin Falls senior Anthony Maldonado will battle Minico sophomore Dawson Osterhout for a spot in the 132-pound championship. Maldonado won the matchup last week at the district tournament.
The Bruins have another semifinalist in freshman Jake Humphrey, who upset Mountain Home’s Gavin Hazell for a spot in the final four at 152 pounds.
Minico sophomore Tazyn Twiss will look to defend his title at the same weight last year, as he has reached the 170-pound semis. Burley’s 195-pound junior Jayden Paul is the final Magic Valley grappler to earn a semifinal spot.
Jerome junior 98-pounder Lucas Shewmaker, 195-pound Minico senior Jesus Ramirez and 285-pound Minico senior Mason Harwood reached the semifinals, but were knocked out at that stage.
The action will return at Holt Arena in Pocatello, beginning with semifinal bouts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.