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5A State Wrestling Preview
Can Meridian repeat as state champion? Or will a new contender emerge?
Published: 2/24/2022 8:19:07 AM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

For the past two years, our nation and the world has lived through challenging, yet concerning times due to the COVID pandemic. Despite the myriad of challenges the pandemic has brought upon our daily lives, the sport of wrestling has continued to press forward in the midst of this reality. At last year’s Idaho State Championships, the fan attendance was at an ultimate low, which was based solely on COVID protocol requirements (greatly changed the atmosphere in the Ford Arena). With facility capacity restrictions being lifted this year, I expect the atmosphere to be energetic and exciting, which will impact overall performance in the arena.

Based on the competition I have observed this year, I expect the 2022 Idaho State Championships being held this Friday and Saturday at the Holt Arena in Pocatello to be a barnburner event with several wrestlers defending or going for their third and fourth individual title. A large percentage of the traditional team powers in all four divisions return strong teams and are expected to be in the mix for the team title and a top five finish.

For the past few years, girls wrestling has been designated the fastest growing high school sport in the United States and based on my observation, the numbers in Idaho are beginning to increase on an upward trajectory. For the past several years, the girls division has conducted an open state tournament, but in 2022 the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) has officially sponsored the sport. Below is a summary of the top individuals and teams in the 5A division, as well as the pre-tournament seeds (top 8 boys/top 2 girls), listing their respective state placings and All-American honors. 

5A DIVISION

The 5A division returns 10 individual State Champions, 53 state placers, as weight groups 120 and 160 have the most depth with seven returning state placers each. The 98-pound weight division only returns one state placer in Christian Kelly (Coeur d’Alene, 12).  Seeded number one is incoming freshman Rider Seguine of Post Falls. Overall, this weight group consists of freshman and sophomores and is wide open. At 106s, returning state finalist Zach MacDonald (Lake City, 11) is the leader and is expected to repeat. Returning State Champion Talen Eck of Thunder Ridge is the top seed at 113s, but will receive great challenges from returning state placer Cole Currin (Kuna, 10), Cael Bullock (Rocky Mountain, 10), and Teigan Dickersen (Meridian, 12). Keep an eye on Zack Campbell (Post Falls, 11) and Joey Madden (Eagle, 11), each will challenge for a spot on the medal stand.

The 120 pound weight group is expected to be highly competitive with returning State Champion and 3x placer Joshua Mendoza (Timberline, 12) leading this deep weight. Junior Tanner Frothinger of Eagle, a 3x All-American returns this year to battle for his third state title at 126s. Based on the highly competitive final at the District III Championships, I expect sophomore Zalen White of Kuna to challenge Frothinger for the title. The leader at 132s is 3x state placer and All-American Tristian Bremer of Lewiston. Winning a title in 2020, Bremer is expected to receive challenges from Luke Jensen (Rocky Mountain, 12) and state placer Connor McCarroll (Post Falls, 11) and Titus Nichols (Rocky Mountain, 11). Also challenging for a medal is Coeur d’Alene’s Dax Larsen.

Last year, Meridian’s Jason Mara took the state by storm when he won the tough 126 weight group as a freshman. With a Folkstyle National title and Fargo All-American to his credit, he returns this year as the top seed at 138s. Challenging Mara include returning state placers Noah Ingram (Madison, 12), Kody Rich (Kuna, 11), and Jameson Hunt (Capital, 12). Keep an eye on number 3 seed Dylan Moffat of Coeur d’Alene. The favorite at 145s is 2x State Champion and All-American Cade White of Meridian. His top challengers are crosstown rival Tyler Jones (Rocky Mountain, 12), a 2x state placer, and Porter Craig (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), a transfer from the state of Washington. I expect the possible semi-final match-up on the bottom half of the bracket with Jones and Craig to be a good one.  The top two at 152s feature returning state placers Brody Sunada (Meridian, 12) and Demarco Piazza (Coeur d’ Alene, 12). The remainder of the weight is wide open with several wrestlers challenging for a spot on the medal stand.

Returning State Champion Cael Palmer of Kuna leads a deep weight group at 160 with seven returning state placers. His top challengers are Joe Watson (Centennial, 12), Caden Frix (Meridian, 12), and Gabe Reeves of Thunder Ridge. Entering the state tournament as the number one seed at 170s, Gunner Giulio of Coeur d’Alene is in position to win a possible fourth state title. His top challenger is returning state placer Isaiah Twait of Meridian, who earlier in the season had a top level performance at the tough Reno Tournament of Champions. The top seed in a wide open 182 pound weight group is Highland’s returning state placer Luke Sidwell.

Rated among the top Blue Chip prep wrestlers in the country is returning State Champion and All-American Rylan Rogers of Coeur d’ Alene. A National Prep Champion in 2020 for Blair Academy, I expect Rogers to dominate his competition. The 220 pound weight group returns four state placers with All-American Shilo Jones of Mountain View leading this group. State placers Trevor Miller (Post Falls, 11), Beau Spillman (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), and Mason Jacobsen (Rocky Mountain, 12) will challenge. The heavyweight division is led by number one seed Ian Allen of Highland. A 2x state placer, Allen will be challenged by Borah’s Aden Attao. Primarily competing on the Greco-Roman circuit for Suples, Attao is an exceptionally talented wrestler with several state and national level accolades to his credit. This past summer, he placed at the World Trials and earned All-American honors at the Fargo Nationals. Attao is among the most competitive and athletic heavyweights I have seen in a long time.

In the team competition, returning State Champion Meridian is expected to repeat. With 18 wrestlers seeded in the top 8 and 9 returning placers overall, they will be tough to beat. Challenging Meridian for the top spot are Kuna, Post Falls, Coeur d’ Alene, and Highland. Other teams that are capable of cracking the top five include Rocky Mountain, Thunder Ridge, and Mountain View.

TOP 5A TEAMS

Meridian (18 seeds/Returns 9 state placers)
Kuna (9 seeds/Returns 6 state placers)
Post Falls (14 seeds/Returns 4 state placers)
Coeur d’ Alene (13 seeds/Returns 7 state placers)
Highland (7 seeds/Returns 3 state placers)

Other teams to watch:

Rocky Mountain (8 seeds/Returns 4 state placers)
Thunder Ridge (9 seeds/Returns 3 state placers)
Mountain View (7 seeds/Returns 2 state placers)

5A DIVISION SEEDS (TOP 8)

98

  1. Rider Seguine (Post Falls, 9),
  2. Christian Kelly (Coeur d’ Alene, 12) 3rd State
  3. Gabriel Arnold (Meridian, 9),
  4. Bode Alexander (Coeur d’ Alene, 10)
  5. Mason Motley (Meridian, 9)
  6. Ashton Fullmer (Thunder Ridge, 9)
  7. Chase Jensen (Rocky Mountain, 10)
  8. Gabriel Smith (Rocky Mountain, 9)

 106

  1. Zach Macdonald (Lake City, 11), 5th, 2nd State (98)
  2. Jerimiah Gonzalez (Meridian, 9)
  3. Konner Heath (Meridian, 9)
  4. Isaac Scott (Thunder Ridge, 11)
  5. Junior Flores (Centennial, 11)
  6. Ethan Wilson (Post Falls, 9)
  7. Noyd Monroe (Kuna, 9)
  8. Logan Bradley (Coeur d’ Alene, 9)

 113

  1. Talen Eck (Thunder Ridge, 10), State Champion (98)
  2. Cole Currin (Kuna, 10), 2nd State (106)
  3. Cael Bullock (Rocky Mountain, 10), 3rd State (106)
  4. Zack Campbell (Post Falls, 11)
  5. Joey Madden (Eagle, 11)
  6. Teigan Dickersen (Meridian, 12), 4th State (106)
  7. Cantril Nielsen (Boise, 11)
  8. Cole Clint (Timberline, 9)

 120

  1. Joshua Mendoza (Timberline, 12), 4th, 4th, State Champion
  2. Marshall Parker (Rigby, 12), 6th State (113)
  3. Hoyt Hvass (Lewiston, 10)
  4. Matthew Papa (Meridian, 10)
  5. Tyson Barnhart (Post Falls, 10), State Champion (98)
  6. Hunter Lowe (Kuna, 10), 5th State (98)
  7. Wylie Stone (Eagle, 10), 6th State (98)
  8. Kellen Kolka (Meridian, 11), 4th State (98)

 Others to watch:
Parker Reeves (Thunder Ridge, 10), 5th ID (106)

126

  1. Tanner Frothinger (Eagle, 11), 2x State Champion, 3x All-American
  2. Zalen White (Kuna, 10), 3rd State (120)
  3. Payson Solomon (Highland, 11)
  4. Trey Smith (Post Falls, 9)
  5. Zac Kimes (Meridian, 12), 5th, 5th State
  6. Kobe Bui (Centennial, 12)
  7. Adrien Wess (Mountain View, 11), 6th State
  8. Blaine Leonard (Lake City, 11), 5thState’20 (120)

 132

  1. Tristan Bremer (Lewiston, 12), 3rd, State Champion, 2nd State, All-American
  2. Luke Jensen (Rocky Mountain, 12)
  3. Connor McCarroll (Post Falls, 11), 3rd State (113)
  4. Titus Nichols (Rocky Mountain, 11), 5th State (126)
  5. Josiah Wickard (Centennial, 12)
  6. Dax Larsen (Coeur D’Alene, 11)
  7. Dawsen Derie (Highland, 11)
  8. Spencer Wilcox (Madison, 10)

 138

  1. Jason Mara (Meridian, 10) 41-2, State Champion (126), Folkstyle National Champion/2x All-American
  2. Noah Ingram (Madison, 12), 6th, 4th State (132)
  3. Dylan Moffat (Coeur d’ Alene, 12)
  4. Kody Rich (Kuna, 11), 4th State
  5. Jameson Hunt (Capital, 12), 6th State
  6. Seth Martin (Post Falls, 9)
  7. Guiseppe Guerra (Mountain View, 11)
  8. Judah Howe (Meridian, 12)

 145

  1. Cade White (Meridian, 11), 2x State Champion, All-American
  2. Porter Craig (Coeur d’ Alene, 12)
  3. Tyler Jones (Rocky Mountain, 12), 5th, 2nd State
  4. Gabe Terrill (Thunder Ridge, 12)
  5. Walker Rouse (Post Falls, 11)
  6. Zach James (Kuna, 12)
  7. Jace Bundy (Thunder Ridge, 10)
  8. Andy Garcia (Mountain View, 12)

 Others to watch:
Mason Keough (Coeur d’ Alene, 12) 5th State ‘20
Tim Hebdon (Skyview, 11), 6th State (152)

 152

  1. Brody Sunada (Meridian, 12), 4th State (145)
  2. Demarco Piazza (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), 6th State (145)
  3. Zac Henderson (Rocky Mountain, 11)
  4. Parker Mack (Meridian, 12)
  5. John Rudebaugh (Post Falls, 11)
  6. Kevin Sparks (Capital, 12)
  7. Cole Lockett (Lewiston, 10)
  8. Jeffrey Williams (Madison, 12)

 160

  1. Cael Palmer (Kuna, 12), 5th, State Champion
  2. Joe Watson (Centennial, 12), 4th State ’20
  3. Caden Frix (Meridian, 12), 3rd State
  4. Gabe Reeves (Thunder Ridge, 12), 6th State ’20 (138)
  5. Sebastian Prangley (Coeur d’ Alene, 12)
  6. Rustan Cordingley (Highland, 11), 3rd, 3rd State (145)
  7. Logan Taylor (Centennial, 12), 5th, 4th State
  8. Carsen Speelman (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), 6th State

 170

  1. Gunner Giulio (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), 3x State Champion
  2. Isaiah Twait (Meridian, 11), 3rd State (2x)
  3. Payton Brooks (Rigby, 12), 5th, 3rd State (152)
  4. Jose Laguna (Post Falls, 11), 5th State
  5. Max Leavitt (Thunder Ridge, 12)
  6. Mason Rasmussen (Owyhee, 11)
  7. Lucas Sears (Meridian, 12)
  8. Zeffery McMahan (Timberline, 12)

 182

  1. Luke Sidwell (Highland, 12), 4th, 4th State
  2. Carter Torres (Kuna, 12), 3rd State
  3. Gentry Smith (Post Falls, 11)
  4. Jay Sallee (Meridian, 12), 6th, 6th State
  5. Kody Biggs (Kuna, 10)
  6. Ashton Peterson (Madison, 11)
  7. Collin Ferguson (Capital, 12)
  8. Keanyn DeGroat (Post Falls, 11)

 195

  1. Rylan Rogers (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), State Champion, All-American, National Prep Champ (Blair Academy)
  2. Carson Gooley (Meridian, 10)
  3. Ethan Burbidge (Madison, 12)
  4. Seth Brock (Eagle, 10)
  5. Malcolm Duthie (Post Falls, 11)
  6. Davin Van Den Akker (Mountain View, 12)
  7. Lee Wangsgard (Capital, 12)
  8. Corbin Allen (Highland, 10)

 220

  1. Shilo Jones (Mountain View, 10). 6th State, All-American
  2. Trevor Miller (Post Falls, 11), 5th State (182)
  3. Garrett Roedel (Thunder Ridge, 12)
  4. Eli Anderton (Highland, 11)
  5. Jack Young (Owyhee, 10)
  6. Beau Spillman (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), 5th State (285)
  7. Mason Jacobsen (Rocky Mountain, 12) 3rd State
  8. Philly Vasi (Skyview, 12)

 285

  1. Ian Allen (Highland, 12), 4th, 2nd State
  2. Aden Attao (Borah, 11), 3x All-American
  3. Robert Storm (Lewiston, 11)
  4. Jaxson Washington (Coeur d’ Alene, 12)
  5. Braden Moore (Mountain View, 11)
  6. Aiden McGinnis (Mountain View, 10)
  7. Landon Gneiting (Idaho Falls, 12), 6th State
  8. Brandon Rasmussen (Idaho Falls, 11)
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