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Participation Skyrockets at Jaybird Memorial Tourney
Over 200 female wrestlers hit the mats at this year's event in Nampa
Published: 1/17/2022 10:04:52 AM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer

Minico's Lita Cruz competes at the Jaybird Memorial Tournament. (Photo Courtesy of Al Fontes)


The Fifth Annual Jaybird Memorial girls high school wrestling tournament held at Columbia High School in Nampa set a precedent in 2022 that is consistent with the current trend of girls wrestling in the United States. As of last year, girls wrestling is the fastest growing sport in all high school athletics. Launched in 2018, the Jaybird Memorial was the first high school level all-girls tournament sanctioned by the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) and today is growing exponentially in participation numbers.

The first tournament fielded 40 girls, followed by 43 (2019), 100 (2020), and 64 in 2021, averaging just over 60 for the first four years. Fielding 30 teams from throughout Idaho and one from Oregon (La Grande HS), this year’s event significantly increased to 220 participants (climbing towards a 300% increase in just one year). According to tournament director Todd Cady, “My goal is for the Jaybird tournament to become the single largest girl’s event in the Northwestern United States.” 

The tournament is named after the late Jay Lanningham (aka, Jaybird), who in 2017 died in a fatal vehicle accident while en route to a tournament in Pocatello with his granddaughter (Columbia wrestler Payton Lanningham – Class of 2020) and a couple other athletes (Payton was the only survivor). Jay was a big supporter and booster to the program at Columbia. 

This year’s event featured numerous returning state medalists, State Champions, and even four competitors with All-American honors to their credit. The individual champions include 106 pound champion Joely Slyter of Lewiston (Fargo All-American), Lita Cruz - Minico (113s – 3x State Champion/NHSCA All-American), Holland Weiber - Eagle (120s – State Placer), Liv Weiber – Eagle (126s – 2x state placer), Frankie Graham – Minico (132s – State Champion/2x finalist), Brooke Boyle – Thunder Ridge (160s – State Champion), and Reece Woods – Eagle (182s – State finalist). 

The match of the evening was at 138s, which featured returning state champions and All-Americans Marissa Jimenez (Caldwell – 2x State Champ/3x finalist/3x All-American/Cadet Pan Am Gold medalist) and Mia Furman of Rocky Mountain (State Champ/2x finalist/4x All-American). In what ended up being a lopsided match, Jimenez left no doubt that she is among the top high school wrestlers in the country (ranked #3 at 132s – National Girls High School Rankings by USA Wrestling, Flo Wrestling and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – January 2022) when she pinned Furman in the waning seconds of the second period after leading by a significant margin. 

The remaining champions include Anabelle Andrews (106B – Thunder Ridge), Kiana Dullanty (113B – Fruitland), Angela Carl (120B – Payette), Luca Willins (126B – La Grande, Oregon), Clare Waite (145 – Boise), and Olivia Woods (285 – Eagle).

In conclusion, this is the first opportunity I had to attend the Jaybird tournament and I am very impressed with the quality of competition, tournament awards (Unique Jaybird medal, team plaques, and jacket for individual champions), the efficiency of how it was run from start to finish, and the potential it has to become the best showcase of girls wrestling in the state of Idaho and the greater Northwestern United States. 

With the exponential growth in participation in the United States coupled by the increase in numbers at Jaybird (last four year average of just over 60 participants was far exceeded this year with 220 participants), it’s not difficult to surmise that the current structure and logistics of running this event will require change moving forward; additional mats, scheduling, greater floor space and an increased bracket size (currently a 16-girl bracket). Kudos to Todd Cady (also Director of the Rollie Lane Invitational) and his staff for running a quality event.  If you have not brought your team to this event, I highly recommend it in the years to come. 

1 – Eagle: 108.0
2 – Minico: 82.5
3 – Columbia: 72.0
4 – Grace: 67.0
5 – Boise: 64.0

1 – Joely Slyter (Lewiston) 
2 – Piper Anderson (Grace) 
3 – Toni Avelino (Caldwell)
4 – Alice Smith (Filer) 
5 – Dahlia Yerby (Emmett)
6 – Danielle Holt (Thunder Ridge) 

1st Place Match
Joely Slyter (Lewiston) 11-3, Fr. over Piper Anderson (Grace) 17-2, So. (Dec 4-2)
3rd Place Match
Toni Avelino (Caldwell) 22-5, So. over Alice Smith (Filer) 12-13, Jr. (OTHR1)
5th Place Match
Dahlia Yerby (Emmett) 15-6, Fr. over Danielle Holt (Thunder Ridge) 7-3, So. (Fall 0:34)

1 – Anabelle Andrews (Thunder Ridge)
2 – Lizabeth Alamillo (Minico)
3 – Dora Galindo (La Grande, Oregon)
4 – Jayla Goslin (Emmett)

1st Place Match
Anabelle Andrews (Thunder Ridge) 3-4, Fr. over Lizabeth Alamillo (Minico) 3-5, Jr. (Fall 4:54)
3rd Place Match
Dora Galindo (LaGrande) 3-3, So. over Jayla Goslin (Emmett) 4-12, So. (Fall 1:12)

1 – Lita Cruz (Minico) 
2 – Kadence Beck (Grangeville)
3 – Taylor Hood (Buhl)
4 – Nia Avelino (Caldwell)
5 – Fortina Ketia (Boise)
6 – Chloe Scott (Payette)

1st Place Match
Lita Cruz (Minico) 16-3, Sr. over Kadence Beck (Grangeville) 12-4, Jr. (Dec 4-0)
3rd Place Match
Taylor Hood (Buhl) 21-3, Jr. over Nia Avelino (Caldwell) 21-5, So. (Fall 1:18)
5th Place Match
Fortina Ketia (Boise) 17-5, Jr. over Chloe Scott (Payette) 7-5, So. (Dec 9-4)

1 – Kiana Dullanty (Fruitland)
2 – Shanti Ward (La Grande, Oregon)
3 – Nevaeh Hall (La Grande, Oregon)
4 – Rachael Engelbart (Borah)

1st Place Match
Kiana Dullanty (Fruitland) 4-0, . over Shanti Ward (LaGrande) 3-3, Fr. (Fall 5:08)
3rd Place Match
Nevaeh Hall (LaGrande) 4-5, So. over Rachael Engelbart ( Borah) 7-7, So. (Fall 2:44)

1 – Holland Wieber (Eagle) 
2 – Kayla Vail (Bonneville) 
3 – Addison Ball (Grace) 
4 – Willow Hurley (Thunder Ridge)
5 – Delia Gulzow (La Grande, Oregon) 
6 – Miah Garcia (Payette)

1st Place Match
Holland Wieber (Eagle) 20-3, So. over Kayla Vail (Bonneville) 16-2, Jr. (Fall 3:04)
3rd Place Match
Addison Ball (Grace) 14-3, Jr. over Willow Hurley (Thunder Ridge) 9-8, Sr. (DQ)
5th Place Match
Delia Gulzow (LaGrande) 9-3, Jr. over Miah Garcia (Payette) 9-6, Sr. (Fall 0:22)

120 (B)
1 – Angela Carl (Payette)
2 – Nakita Gonzales (La Grande, Oregon)
3 – Sara Lewis (Rigby)
4 – Denisse Romero (Columbia)
5 – Kirsten Rayo-Tona (Columbia)
6 – Lylah Lynch (Canyon Ridge)

1st Place Match
Angela Carl (Payette) 6-3, So. over Nakita Gonzales (La Grande) 3-5, So. (Fall 0:29)
3rd Place Match
Sara Lewis (Rigby) 3-3, So. over Denisse Romero (Columbia) 3-7, Jr. (Fall 1:23)
5th Place Match
Kirsten Rayo-Tona (Columbia) 5-8, So. over Lylah Lynch (Canyon Ridge) 3-5, Jr. (Fall 4:47)

1 – Liv Wieber (Eagle) 
2 – Jordan Barrett (Payette)
3 – Audrey Deleon (Weiser)
4 – Camilla Tew (Westside) 
5 – Lauren Henderhan (Filer)
6 – Shekina Happuc (Boise)

1st Place Match
Liv Wieber (Eagle) 18-4, Sr. over Jordan Barrett (Payette) 11-2, Jr. (Fall 1:14)
3rd Place Match
Audrey Deleon (Weiser) 15-1, So. over Camilla Tew (Westside) 13-3, Sr. (Fall 2:29)
5th Place Match
Lauren Henderhan (Filer) 17-11, Jr. over Shekina Happuc (Boise) 16-7, Jr. (Fall 3:17)

126 (B)
1 – Luca Willins (La Grande, Oregon)
2 – Jenna Williams (Bonneville)
3 – Madyson Gilbert (La Grande, Oregon)
4 – Cheyanna Starboard (Union)

1st Place Match
Luca Willins (LaGrande) 2-4, Jr. over Jenna Williams (Bonneville) 2-5, Fr. (Fall 0:48)
3rd Place Match
Madyson Gilbert (LaGrande) 3-5, Sr. over Cheyanna Starboard (Union) 1-7, So. (Fall 0:18)

1 – Frankie Graham (Minico) 
2 – Lizzy Hodges (Capital)
3 – Josie Newby (Grace)
4 – Savannah Korell (Emmett)
5 – Paige Allen (La Grande, Oregon)
6 – Zoe Ortiz (Bonneville)

1st Place Match
Frankie Graham (Minico) 16-3, Sr. over Lizzy Hodges (Capital) 11-6, Fr. (TF-1.5 5:54 (16-1))
3rd Place Match
Josie Newby (Grace) 12-2, Fr. over Savannah Korell (Emmett) 14-5, So. (Fall 4:15)
5th Place Match
Paige Allen (LaGrande) 11-4, Fr. over Zoe Ortiz (Bonneville) 8-4, So. (Fall 0:48)

1 – Marissa Jimenez (Caldwell) 
2 – Mia Furman (Rocky Mountain) 
3 – Chloe Becker (Kuna)
4 – Allie Garvin (Rocky Mountain) 
5 – Double Forfeit
6T – Angie Rios (Columbia) 
6T – Izzabella Davis (Columbia)

1st Place Match
Marissa Jimenez (Caldwell) 22-0, Sr. over Mia Furman (Rocky Mountain) 17-2, Jr. (Fall 3:16)
3rd Place Match
Chloe Becker (Kuna) 4-1, Sr. over Alexandra Garvin (Rocky Mountain) 20-8, Jr. (Fall 0:51)
5th Place Match
Izzabella Davis (Columbia) 11-7, Fr. over Angie Rios (Columbia) 14-4, Sr. (DFF)

1 – Clare Waite (Boise)
2 – Anjolina Espinoza (Mountain Home)
3 – Beth Johnson (Emmett)
4 – Naveah Villalobos (Minico) 
5 – Maria Sifuentes (Columbia)
6 – Lillee Olague (Bonneville) 

1st Place Match
Clare Waite (Boise) 9-2, So. over Anjolina Espinoza (MT. Home) 16-5, Jr. (Dec 9-2)
3rd Place Match
Beth Johnson (Emmett) 14-7, Sr. over Naveah Villalobos (Minico) 3-2, Sr. (Fall 2:15)
5th Place Match
Maria Sifuentes (Columbia) 9-5, Jr. over Lillee Olague (Bonneville) 6-6, Jr. (MD 12-3)

1 – Brooke Boyle (Thunder Ridge) 
2 – Hallie Campbell (Columbia) 
3 – Ornella Kero (Boise)
4 – Ivy Flora (Twin Falls)
5 – Gracie Castillo (Garden Valley)
6 – Alyssa Mabey (Kuna)

1st Place Match
Brooke Boyle (Thunder Ridge) 14-0, Sr. over Hallie Campbell (Columbia) 16-4, Jr. (Dec 11-5)
3rd Place Match
Ornella Kero (Boise) 24-4, Jr. over Ivy Flora (Twin Falls) 16-2, Sr. (Dec 10-4)
5th Place Match
Gracie Castillo (Garden Valley) 11-8, Jr. over Alyssa Mabey (Kuna) 3-2, Sr. (Dec 6-5)

1 – Reece Woods (Eagle) 
2 – Jordan LeBeau (Eagle)
3 – Shayna Henninger (Rigby)
4 – Riley Bodily (Preston)
5 – Whitney Turner (Weiser)
6 – Riana Walter (Canyon Ridge)

1st Place Match
Reece Woods (Eagle) 9-1, Jr. over Jordan LeBeau (Eagle) 6-4, So. (Fall 1:31)
3rd Place Match
Shayna Henninger (Rigby) 3-4, Fr. over Riley Bodily (Preston) 5-4, So. (Fall 3:10)
5th Place Match
Whitney Turner (Weiser) 9-1, Jr. over Riana Walter (Canyon Ridge) 4-5, Fr. (Fall 3:55)

1 – Olivia Woods (Eagle)
2 – Amie Hartman (Mountain Home)
3 – Olivia Burciaga (Kuna)
4 – Cosette Desrosiers (Columbia)
5 – Quinsea Robinson (Minico)
6 – Laurelin Buckland (Emmett)

1st Place Match
Olivia Woods (Eagle) 10-1, Jr. over Amie Hartman (MT. Home) 9-4, Fr. (Fall 0:56)
3rd Place Match
Olivia Burciaga (Kuna) 3-1, So. over Cosette Desrosiers (Columbia) 6-4, So. (Fall 0:53)
5th Place Match
Quinsea Robinson (Minico) 6-8, So. over Laurelin Buckland (Emmett) 3-8, Sr. (Fall 1:22)



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