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Girls State Wrestling Preview
2022 marks the first year that girls wrestling will conduct an officially-sanctioned state meet
Published: 2/24/2022 9:58:12 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 2A/1A division, as well as the pre-tournament seeds (top 8 boys/top 2 girls), listing their respective state placings and All-American honors. 

GIRLS DIVISION

The 2021-’22 seasons marks the first season that girls wrestling is an officially sponsored sport in the state Idaho. For the last few years, the unofficial Girls State Championships (est. 2019) were an open tournament with no limits to the number of participants. Now that the IHSAA has officially sponsored girls wrestling, the process to qualify to the State Championships is now via the District qualifier. Unlike the previous open state tournaments, the number of weight groups is now 10 compared to 12 in the past and will be conducted utilizing the 8-Girl bracket format.

For the first time, the girl’s competition will be conducted on the same weekend and facility as the boys, which should not impact the tournament logistics a great deal (Note: The Rollie Lane Invitational ran an efficient two day tournament in early January with 15 weight groups in the boy’s division utilizing a 64-man bracket format and 10 girl’s weight groups using the standard 16-girl bracket format). Despite the great news that girls wrestling has become an officially sponsored sport, there has been a lot of debate about the fielding of 10 weights utilizing a smaller 8-girl bracket. In 2021, the girl’s open state tournament had 12 weight groups and utilized the 16-girl bracket format averaging 10 wrestlers per bracket (nearly half the weight groups fielded close to the 16 allotted spots in the bracket). Considering that girls wrestling is the fastest growing high school sport in the United States and the number of girls participating in Idaho is steadily climbing each year, the conversation to re-evaluate bracket sizes and the number of qualifiers should continue to be discussed.

This year’s field returns 7 State Champions and over 30 state placers from the State Open Championships dating back to 2019. The favorite at 106s is 3x State Champion and All-American Lita Cruz of Minico. She will be challenged by returning State Champion (100s) Alistar Dillow of American Falls. Others challenging for a high medal include freshman standout Joely Slyter (Lewiston), a Fargo All-American last summer, and state placer Piper Anderson of Grace. The top seed at 113s is Skyla Zimmerman of Moscow. Entering the state tournament with a 27-1 record, she will be challenged by returning State Champion (106s) Kadence Beck of Highland. Also challenging for the top spot is returning state finalist Taylor Call of Hillcrest. The top seed at 120s is 2x state placer and finalist Kayla Vail of Bonneville. Battling for a spot in the finals is Linda Kessinger (Orofino, 10) and returning state placers Taylor Hood (Buhl, 11) and Holland Wieber of Eagle.

Ranked among the top girls in the nation and the favorite at 126s is 2x State Champion and All-American Alyssa Randles of Coeur d’ Alene. Others to watch at this weight include returning state placers Jordan Barrett (Payette, 11) and Camilla Tew (West Side, 12), a finalist in 2021. The road to the top spot at 132s is going to be a tough task. The top seeds at this weight are 2x state placer Liv Wieber of Eagle and 3x state finalist Frankie Graham of Minico. If they each reach the final, I expect it to be a great match. Perhaps the top wrestler in the girl’s division is Marissa Jimenez of Caldwell. With two state titles to her credit, Jimenez is ranked third in the country and is a Fargo All-American and Cadet Pan Am Gold medalists. She will be challenged by returning State Champion and Fargo All-American Mia Furman of Rocky Mountain. Both Jimenez and Furman have competed in a few tournament finals this year with Jimenez winning each match. A rematch in the year’s state final could be a barnburner considering the scoring gap between the two continues to narrow in each match.

The top two seeds at 145s are Clair Waite of Boise and Ivy Flora of Twin Falls. Also challenging for a state medal are returning placers Allie Garvin (Rocky Mountain, 11) and Jordyn Kearn of American Falls. Keep an eye on Columbia’s Maria Sifuentes, a third place finisher at the District Championships. A great competitor, Sifuentes will challenge for a medal at state. The 160 pound weight group returns four state placers and is led by top seed Savannah Rickter of Bonners Ferry. Entering the state meet with a 27-1 record, Rickter will be challenged by returning State Champion Brooke Boyle (Thunder Ridge, 12) and placers Ornella Kero (Boise, 11), Hallie Campbell (Columbia, 11), and Annika Thompson of Lakeland.

The favorite at 182s is returning state finalist Reece Woods of Eagle. She will be challenged by teammate Jordynn LeBeau. The final weight group (285s) is led by 2x State Champion Olivia Woods of Eagle.  Challenging for a spot in the finals is returning state finalist Cassi Becker of Nampa and freshman Amie Hartman of Mountain Home, the number 2 seed.

In 2021, Eagle High School won the open state tournaments and enter this year’s state meet the favorites to repeat. With five returning state placers they will be tough to beat.


GIRLS DIVISION (TOP 2 SEED)

106

  1. Lita Cruz (Minico, 12), 3x State Champion, All-American
  2. Allistar Dillow (American Falls, 10), State Champion ’21 (100)

 Others to watch:
Joely Slyter (Lewiston, 9), All-American
Piper Anderson (Grace, 10), 3rd State (106) ‘21

113

  1. Skyla Zimmerman (Moscow, 11) 27-1
  2. Kadence Beck (Highland, 11), State Champion (106) ’21, 2nd State ‘20

Others to watch:
Taylor Call (Hillcrest, 11), 2nd State (100) ’21, 6th Stat ‘20

120

  1. Kayla Vail (Bonneville, 11), 2nd State (112) ’21, 3rd State ‘20
  2. Lindi Kessinger (Orofino, 10) 27-8

 Others to watch:
Taylor Hood (Buhl, 11), 4th State (120) ‘21
Holland Wieber (Eagle, 10), 6th State (125) ‘21

126

  1. Alyssa Randles (Coeur d’ Alene, 11), 2x State Champion, All-American
  2. Jordan Barrett (Payette, 11), 5th state (120) ’21

Others to watch:
Camilla Tew (West Side, 12), 2nd State (125) ‘21

132

  1. Liv Wieber (Eagle, 12), 3rd State (112) ’21, 4th State ‘20
  2. Frankie Graham (Minico, 12), 2nd, State Champion, 2nd State (120) ’21

138

  1. Marissa Jimenez (Caldwell, 12), 2nd, 2x State Champion, All-American, Pan Am Gold
  2. Mia Furman (Rocky Mountain, 11), 2nd State, State Champion ’21, All-American

 Others to watch:
Angie Rios (Columbia, 12), 5th State (125) ’21, 3rd State ‘20
Anjolina Espinoza (Mountain Home, 11), 5th State (138) ‘21

145

  1. Clare Waite (Boise, 10) 23-2
  2. Ivy Flora (Twin Falls, 12) 32-4

Others to watch:
Allie Garvin (Rocky Mountain, 11) 3rd, 5th State
Maria Sifuentes (Columbia, 11), 3rd District ‘21
Jordyn Kearn (American Falls, 10), 2nd State (145) ‘21

 160

  1. Savannah Rickter (Bonners Ferry, 10) 27-1
  2. Brooke Boyle (Thunder Ridge, 12) 18-2, State Champion (159) ‘21

 Others to watch:
Ornella Kero (Boise, 11), 2nd State (148) ‘20
Hallie Campbell (Columbia, 11), 3rd State (148) ‘21
Annika Thompson (Lakeland, 10), 4th State (148) ‘21

 182

  1. Reece Woods (Eagle, 11), 2nd State (191) ‘21
  2. Jordynn LeBeau (Eagle, 10) 16-8

 Others to watch:
Riley Bodily (Eagle, 10), 2nd State (170) ‘21

285

  1. Olivia Woods (Eagle, 11), 2x State Champion
  2. Amie Hartman (Mountain Home, 9) 21-11

Others to watch:
Cassi Becker (Nampa, 11), 2nd State ‘21

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