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Day 2 Recap | State Wrestling Tournament
South Fremont, New Plymouth join Meridian and Jerome in the winners' circle
Published: 2/26/2021 10:56:53 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster


Idaho’s second day of the High School Wrestling Championships focused the spotlight on the Gem State’s smaller schools. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the 3A and 2A competitions took place over the course of a single day. Two more teams emerged with state championships Saturday night, while a modern-day wrestling dynasty was finally toppled.

3A Championships

South Fremont successfully defended its team title from a year ago, winning their second consecutive championship by scoring 228 points. Buhl gave the Cougars all they could handle, but ultimately fell to second place with 214 points. Snake River took third with 172.

Only one individual won a championship for South Fremont, but it was their strength-in-numbers strategy that paid off. The Cougars brought 19 wrestlers to state, which only trailed Weiser’s total of 20.

The lone South Fremont wrestler to win an individual title was sophomore Hunter Hobbs, who capped off an undefeated season (51-0) at 152 pounds.

Other highlights from the 3A competition:

One day after Kuna’s Michael Mitchell became the 31st member of the 4-time state champions club, Buhl’s Kade Orr accomplished the same feat. Orr becomes only the 32nd Idaho prep wrestler to achieve 4-time state champ status. Additionally, Orr finished the season undefeated (47-0) after defeating Payette’s Tyler Feeley in the 120-pound final.

Two other 3A wrestlers finished off undefeated seasons. Gooding sophomore Kayd Craig (34-0) won the 138-pound title over Buhl’s Jayce Bower.

McCall-Donnelly senior MaHonri Rushton also went unbeaten this year (41-0) and won the 195-pound championship over Gooding’s Logan Anderson.

Gooding freshman Hudson Rogers had been generating a lot of buzz throughout the regular season. In the 132-pound final, he lived up to the hype, as he defeated Snake River’s Emilio Caldera. Rogers finished his freshman campaign with a record of 58-3 and a state title.

2A Championships

Ririe had won the last six 2A team championships. A seventh would have given the Bulldogs a new state record, but New Plymouth finally ended the Ririe dynasty. The Pilgrims piled up 236 points, while Ririe finished a distant second at 182. Declo took third with 177.5 points.

Four wrestlers from New Plymouth won individual titles, headlined by a pair of grapplers who finished the season with undefeated records.

Junior Joel Campbell finished 50-0 by defeating Malad’s Austin Nalder at 145 pounds.

Fellow junior Kyle Rice (37-0) defeated Grace’s Bray Skinner at 126 pounds. Rice has now won state titles in each of his first three seasons, and could join his older brother Joe Rice in the 4-time state champ club with another victory next season.

New Plymouth also received individual titles from Caleb Shaw (113) and Trent Myers (152).

Other highlights from the 2A competition:

Declo’s Derek Matthews finished the year 46-0 with a win over North Fremont’s Hayden Maupin at 170 pounds.

Wendell’s Remington Winmill also finished the season undefeated (33-0) by defeating Salmon’s Colter Bennett in the 195-pound final.

After winning the 98-pound title as a freshman last year, Grace’s Hans Newby moved up a class to 106 and won another championship this year as a sophomore. Newby also finished the year undefeated (38-0).

Overall, Grace enjoyed a nice performance at state. While the Grizzlies compete at the 1A level in other sports, in wrestling they have to take on much bigger schools in 2A competition. Despite bringing just 11 wrestlers to state, Grace finished fifth in the team standings with 137 points. Three individuals won titles for the Grizzlies: Newby at 106, Clayton Lunt at 132, and Rhet Jorgensen at 138.

Day 1 Recap

A jam-packed opening day at the Idaho High School Wrestling Championships saw historic performances, shocking surprises and two team titles that were earned in completely different ways.

For the first time, the entire 5A and 4A competitions were held over the course of a single day inside the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. The 3A and 2A competitions will follow the same schedule Saturday.

5A Championships

The Meridian Warriors brought 29 wrestlers to state, and that strength-in-numbers approach led to a dominating championship win, their first since 1987. Meridian piled up 324 points, while Kuna finished a distant second at 250. Defending state champ Post Falls took third with 201.5 points.

Perhaps most impressive in Meridian’s runaway victory was the fact that only two Warriors finished in first place in their weight class. Freshman Jason Mara won the title at 126, while sophomore Cade White added a win at 138.

Other highlights from the 5A competition:

Kuna senior Michael Mitchell became the 31st wrestler in Idaho history to win 4 state championships. After winning the 5A 106-pound title as a freshman, the 4A 113-pound title as a sophomore, and the 4A 120-pound title as a junior, Mitchell defeated Meridian’s Nathan Gregory in the 5A 132-pound final as a senior. Mitchell earned the 5-3 win with just four seconds remaining in overtime with a takedown.

Six wrestlers came into state with undefeated records. Four finished their season without a loss. Timberline senior Josh Mendoza (113), Coeur d’Alene’s Drew Roberts (152) and Rylan Rogers (195), and Eagle heavyweight Charley Hastriter all retained their undefeated status.

Idaho Falls senior Jovon Howe was the top seed in the 195-pound weight class with a record of 21-0, but was upset in the quarterfinals by Roc Dixon of Meridian. That allowed Coeur d’Alene junior Rylan Rogers to earn the 195-pound title and finish 15-0 in his first season wrestling for the Vikings. His first two years of high school were spent at Blair Academy in New Jersey, where he won a national prep school championship last year.

Kuna senior Dante Roggio entered the 170-pound final with a record of 42-0. He was upset in the championship match by Coeur d’Alene junior Gunner Giulio, though. Giulio has now won three state titles in his first three years of high school competition, and will try to become the newest member of the rare 4-time winners club next season.

4A Championships

Many experts had trouble picking a 4A favorite, listing six or seven teams that had the potential to win a team title. That uncertainty bore out, as Jerome rallied late to nip Nampa for the 4A championship. Nampa led Jerome 169 to 165 entering the championship round, but the Tigers rallied back, ultimately defeating the Bulldogs 195 to 193. Minico took third with 171.5 points.

Both Jerome (Gabriel Tacoa at 132, Joseph Stevenson at 195) and Nampa (Carson Exferd at 106, Simon Alberto Luna at 113) had two individuals win championships. Exferd, a freshman, finished his first season of competition at Nampa with an undefeated record of 36-0. Exferd was the only 4A wrestler that entered state with an undefeated mark.

Other highlights from the 4A competition:

Bishop Kelly junior Christopher Martino won his third consecutive state championship, as he defeated Caldwell’s Hunter Bidelman in the 126-pound finals. Martino will try and join the 4-time champion club next year.

Blackfoot freshman Mack Mauger upset Nampa’s Dedrick Navarro in the 98-pound final. Navarro was dealt his second loss of the season in the final, while Mauger joined Nampa’s Carson Exferd as the only freshmen to win individual championships.

Exferd’s win came over a fellow freshman: Shelley’s Carter Balmforth. The third place finisher, Moscow’s Xzavier Brown, is also a freshman.

Nampa sophomore Simon Alberto Luna won what may have been the most competitive weight class by snatching the 113-pound championship over Columbia sophomore Payton Hernandez. Not a single senior finished in the top six in this weight class, which could make this division even more exciting next year.

Complete wrestling results can be found at

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