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Team Idaho Wins Back-to-Back National Folkstyle Team Titles
Idaho's male and female wrestlers explode on the national scene
Published: 4/7/2022 3:06:38 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer

This past weekend, the state of Idaho stormed the Uni-Dome on the campus of Northern Iowa University with 70 plus wrestlers and won the 2022 Folkstyle/Showcase Boys National Championships, making this year’s performance back-to-back team titles for the Gem State.

Competing in multiple age group divisions ranging from 8 and under to high school, Team Idaho produced 9 individual National Champions with 35 All-Americans overall. Considering that the current population in Idaho is around 1.9 million, an achievement of this level is noteworthy considering the per capita statistics in relation to other states with greater population numbers.

Leading the charge with Team Idaho’s success at the national level is Chris Owens, the Director of USA Idaho Wrestling. His leadership, coupled with the consolidated effort from coaches and volunteers throughout the state, has brought together Idaho’s elite to showcase their talent on a national stage.

Below is a summary of Team Idaho’s performance in each of the divisions ranging from elementary to high school grades, which also includes the results of the Girls Folkstyle Nationals in Colorado Springs held in March.

SHOWCASE DIVISION (High School)

The Showcase Division is new to the USAW Folkstyle Nationals. This division consists of wrestlers that either earned an individual state title(s), placed in their respective state championships, or won a national prep title.

The Gem State represented well in this division by producing 2 national champions and 9 All-Americans overall. At 106 pounds, 2x State Champion Mack Mauger of Blackfoot High School (Soph.) dominated his competition to win a career third national title, defeating fellow Idahoan Dedrick Navarro of Nampa in the final.

Competing in his first season at Borah High School in Boise, Aden Attao (Jr.) won the 5A State Championships in the 285-pound weight group. A Fargo All-American and 16U World Team Trials finalist (GR) in 2021, Attao put on full display his national level talents by winning the heavyweight division in championship form.

Also reaching the championship finals was 4x State Champion (2A) Kyle Rice of New Plymouth High School. Losing a hard fought match in the 132-pound final, Rice is a 3x All-American and will be attending Grand View University in Iowa.

Considered among the top underclassman in the country, Meridian’s Jason Mara earned his fourth All-American honor since last year and returns in 2023 in pursuit of a third 5A state title.

Other All-Americans include Hans Newby (Grace, Jr., 113s), Tanner Frothinger (Eagle, Jr., 126s), Ryker Fullmer (Teton, Soph., 152s), and Shilo Jones (Mountain View, Soph., 220s).

OPEN DIVISION (High School – All Grades)

The open division consists of wrestlers in high school grades 9 thru 12. Overall, Team Idaho represented well in this division by producing 2 national champions and 7 All-Americans overall.

Winning national titles for the Gem State were Kolter Burton (American Falls) and Hunter Hobbs (South Fremont). Only a sophomore, Burton is a 2x State Champion (3A), Fargo National Champion, and to date has earned 6 All-American honors. Earning his first national title and All-American honor at 170s, Hobbs is a 3x State champion (3A) and is in position to earn a rare fourth title in 2023.

Other All-Americans include Zach Mills (Malad, Jr., 126s), Grayson Williams (American Falls, Jr., 132s), Jacob Blanford (Middleton, Soph., 152s), and Kolby Clark (South Fremont, Jr., 170s).

16U DIVISION (High School Frosh/Soph)

The 16U division consists of wrestlers in grades 9 and 10. Despite not winning any individual titles in this division, the largest number of All-Americans were produced in the 16U with 11. The lone finalist was at 113s with 2A State Champion Jake Castagneto of Glenns Ferry achieving his first All-American honor.

Placing third in their respective weight groups include Bonneville’s Saxton Scott at 94s and 5A State finalist Carson Gooley of Meridian at 195s.

In addition to winning a national title in the Open Division, American Falls Kolter Burton also earned All-American by placing 4th at 106s. Joining Burton on the medal stand at 106s is 2x state placer Cael Bullock of Rocky Mountain High School in Meridian. As a result, Bullock fulfilled his longtime goal of placing at the nationals and becomes the first wrestler in the boys division at Rocky Mountain to earn All-American honors.

Achieving All-American honors at 113s is frosh standout Matthew Martino of Bishop Kelley High School in Boise. Rated among the nation’s top frosh wrestlers, Martino is a 4A State Champion, as well as a Folkstyle National Champion in 2021, Fargo All-American, and Gold medalist at the 15U World Team Trials in Greco-Roman.

Joining Martino in the All-American round is Bishop Kelly teammates Manual and Carlos Valdez. Each placers at the 4A State Championships, Manual (Soph.) placed 7th at 138s while Carlos (Frosh.) finished 4th at 145s.

Other All-Americans include Hunter Anderson (Rigby, Frosh., 88s), Boden Banta (South Fremont, Frosh., 100s), and Aiden McGinnis (Mountain View, Soph., 285s).

14U/12U/10U/8U DIVISIONS (Elementary/Middle School)

This division consists of wrestlers in the elementary to middle school grades. If the performance of Team Idaho in these divisions is any indication of our state’s future, it truly looks bright. With eight wrestlers earning All-American honors, five brought home individual national titles.

Attaining national titles for the Gem State were Raidyn Pugsley (Buhl, 14U, 87s), Drake Morrison (Malad, 14U, 125s), Duane Leslie (Post Falls, 12U, 117s), and the Armstrong brothers of Idaho Falls, Austin (10U, 63s) and Eli (8U, 62s), who earned the “Outstanding Wrestler Award” in his age group division.

Other All-Americans include Sean Hall (Twin Falls, 14U, 97s), Hunter Burrell (Pocatello, 14U, 119s), and Brogan Bingham (Gooding, 12U, 108s).

ALL-AMERICANS (SHOWCASE DIVISION)

106 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 10), NATIONAL CHAMPION
106 – Dedrick Navarro (Nampa, 11), 2ND Place
113 – Hans Newby (Grace, 11), 7TH Place
126 – Tanner Frothinger (Eagle, 11), 7TH Place
132 – Kyle Rice (New Plymouth, 12), 2ND Place
138 – Jason Mara (Meridian, 10), 4TH Place
152 – Ryker Fullmer (Teton, 10), 7TH Place
220 – Shilo Jones (Mountain View, 10), 5TH Place
285 – Aden Attao (Borah, 11), NATIONAL CHAMPION

ALL-AMERICANS (OPEN DIVISION)

106 – Kolter Burton (American Falls, 10), NATIONAL CHAMPION
126 – Zach Mills (Malad, 11), 8TH Place
132 – Grayson Williams (American Falls, 11), 2ND Place
152 – Austin Nalder (Malad, 12), 7TH Place
152 – Jacob Blanford (Middleton, 10), 8TH Place
170 – Hunter Hobbs (South Fremont, 11), NATIONAL CHAMPION
170 – Kolby Clark (South Fremont, 11), 8TH Place

ALL-AMERICANS (16U DIVISION)

88 – Hunter Anderson (Rigby, 9), 5TH Place
94 – Saxton Scott (Bonneville, 9), 3RD Place
100 – Boden Banta (South Fremont, 9), 4TH Place
106 – Kolter Burton (American Falls, 10), 4TH Place
106 – Cael Bullock (Rocky Mountain, 10), 6TH Place
113 – Jake Castagneto (Glenns Ferry, 10), 2ND Place
113 – Mathew Martino (Bishop Kelly, 9), 7TH Place
138 – Manual Valdez (Bishop Kelly, 10), 7TH Place
145 – Carlos Valdez (Bishop Kelly, 9), 4TH Place
195 – Carson Gooley (Meridian, 10), 3RD Place
285 – Aiden McGinnis (Mountain View, 10), 7TH Place

ALL-AMERICANS (14U/12U/10U/8U DIVISIONS)

87 – Raidyn Pugsley (Buhl), NATIONAL CHAMPION (14U)
97 – Sean Hall (Twin Falls), 5TH Place (14U)
119 – Hunter Burrell (Pocatello), 6TH Place (14U)
125 – Drake Morrison (Malad), NATIONAL CHAMPION (14U)
108 – Brogan Bingham (Gooding), 5TH Place (12U)
117 – Duane Leslie (Post Falls), NATIONAL CHAMPION (12U)
63 – Austin Armstrong (Idaho Falls), NATIONAL CHAMPION (10U)
62 – Eli Armstrong (Idaho Falls), NATIONAL CHAMPION (8U) *OW

A CLOSER LOOK AT IDAHO’S 2022 FOLKSTYLE HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS

SENIORS (CLASS OF 2022)

132 – KYLE RICE (New Plymouth H.S., 12)
4x State Champion 2019 – ’22 (2A) USAW Folkstyle All-American (finalist) ‘22 Fargo Junior All-American (GR) ’21 Fargo 16U All-American (GR) ‘19

152 – AUSTIN NALDER (Malad H.S., 12)
State Champion ’22 (2A) 3x State Finalist 2020 – ’22 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

JUNIORS (CLASS OF 2023)

106 – DEDRICK NAVARRO (Nampa H.S., 11)
State Champion ’20 (4A) 3x State Finalist 2020 – ‘22 USAW Folkstyle All-American (Finalist) ’22 Fargo 16U All-American (FS) ‘21 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘21

113 – HANS NEWBY (Grace H.S., 11)
3x State Champion 2020 – ’22 (2A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ’22

126 – TANNER FROTHINGER (Eagle H.S., 11)
3x State Champion 2020 – ’22 (5A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ’22 Fargo 16U All-American – GR (Finalist) ‘21 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘21 UWW Cadet World Team Trials – 8th (GR) ‘21

126 – ZACH MILLS (Malad H.S., 11)
3x 2A State Placer (5th, 4th, 3rd) 2020 – ’22 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

132 – GRAYSON WILLIAMS (American Falls H.S., 11)
2x State Champion 2021 – ’22 (3A) 3x State Placer (4th, 1st, 1st) 2020 – ‘22 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

170 – HUNTER HOBBS (South Fremont H.S., 11)
3x State Champion 2020 – ’22 (3A) USAW Folkstyle National Champion ‘22

170 – KOLBY CLARK (South Fremont H.S., 11)
2x State Placer (3rd, 2nd) 2021 – ’22 (3A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

285 – ADEN ATTAO (Borah H.S., 11)
State Champion ’22 (5A) USAW Folkstyle National Champion ‘22 Fargo JR All-American – 2nd ‘21 UWW Cadet World Team Trials – 2nd Place (GR) ‘21 UWW Cadet World Team Trials – 4th (FS) ‘21

SOPHOMORES (CLASS OF 2024)

106 – MACK MAUGER (Blackfoot H.S., 10)
2x State Champion 2021, ’22 (4A) 2x USAW Folkstyle National Champion 2021, ‘22 Doc Buchanan Invitational Champion ‘22 Double Fargo National Champion (16U) ‘21 UWW Cadet World Team Trials – 2nd (FS) ’21 UWW Cadet World Team Trials – 2nd (GR) ’21

106 – KOLTER BURTON (American Falls H.S., 10)
2x State Champion 2021, ’22 (3A) USAW Folkstyle National Champion ‘22 2x USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22 Fargo JR National Champion (GR) ‘21 Fargo JR All-American (FS) ’21 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘21

106 – CAEL BULLOCK (Rocky Mountain H.S., 10)
2x State Placer (3rd, 4th) 2021 – ’22 (5A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ’22

113 – JAKE CASTAGNETO (Glenns Ferry H.S., 10)
State Champion ’22 (2A) USAW Folkstyle All-American (Finalist) ‘22

138 – JASON MARA (Meridian H.S., 10)
2x State Champion 2021, ’22 (5A) 2x District III Champion 2021, ‘22 USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22 NHSCA Soph. National Champion ‘22 Fargo Cadet All-American (FS) ‘21 USAW Folkstyle National Champion ‘21

138 – MANUAL VALDEZ (Bishop Kelly H.S., 10)
3rd State ’21 (4A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22 152 – RYKER FULLMER (Teton, 10) 2x State Placer (6th, 3rd) 2021 – ’22 (3A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

152 – RYKER FULLMER (Teton, 10)
2x State Placer (6th, 3rd) 2021 – ’22 (3A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

152 – JACOB BLANFORD (Middleton H.S., 10)
2x State Placer (6th, 2nd) 2021- ’22 (4A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

195 – CARSON GOOLEY (Meridian H.S., 10)
2nd State ’22 (5A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

220 – SHILO JONES (Mountain View H.S., 10)
2x State Placer (6th, 5th) 2021 – ’22 (5A) 2x USAW Folkstyle All-American – 2021, ‘22

285 – AIDEN MCGINNIS (Mountain View H.S., 10)
2x State Qualifier ‘2021 – ’22 (5A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

FRESHMAN (CLASS OF 2025)

88 – HUNTER ANDERSON (Rigby H.S., 9)
5th State ’22 (5A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

94 – SAXTON SCOTT (Bonneville H.S., 9)
3rd State ’22 (4A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

98 – BODEN BANTA (South Fremont H.S., 9)
3A State Champion ’22 (3A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22 USAW HS National Recruiting Showcase Champion ‘22 USAW Folkstyle All-American (14U) ‘21

113 – MATHEW MARTINO (Bishop Kelly H.S., 9)
State Champion ’22 (4A) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22 Fargo 16U All-American – GR (Finalist) ‘21 USAW Folkstyle National Champion (16U) ’21 UWW U15 World Team Trials – Champion (GR) ‘21 UWW U15 World Team Trials – 2nd (FS) ‘21

145 – CARLOS VALDEZ (Bishop Kelly H.S., 9)
2x 4A State Placer (6th, 2nd) USAW Folkstyle All-American ‘22

GIRLS FOLKSTYLE NATIONALS – Broadmoor World Arena, Colorado Springs, CO

The fastest growing sport at the high school level in the United States is Girls Prep Wrestling. In fact, Girls/Women’s wrestling is also exponentially growing at the grade school, collegiate, and World/Olympic levels too.

In the state of Idaho, girls wrestling is still at its infancy, but steadily growing each year. The common denominator for growth at the high school level and above is at the grassroots. Based on my observations in the last two years, I am encouraged by the progress thus far.

Among the leading indicators is the performance of Team Idaho at the Girls Folkstyle Nationals held on March 18-20 at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs. Competing in several age group divisions (8U, 10U, 12, 14U, 16U, and Juniors), Team Idaho produced a total of 16 All-Americans with 1 national champion and a runner-up finish in the national team duals (12U/14U).

In the Junior Division (high school), Team Idaho produced three All-Americans. They include national finalist Lita Cruz of Minico High School (106s). This year, Cruz became the first in the girls division to earn four state high school titles.

Also reaching the finals was 2022 State Champion Skyla Zimmerman of Moscow High School (112s). Additionally, Minico’s Frankie Graham, a state finalist at this year’s Girls State Championships, placed 7th in the All-American round.

In the 16U division, the Gem State had four girls earn All-American honors. They include Josie Newby (Grace, 138s), Zoe Fries (Kuna, 144s), Olivia Burciaga (Kuna, 200s), and Joely Slyter of Lewiston High School, a 2021 All-American at the Fargo Nationals.

The 14U division produced the most All-Americans with 7. The leader among this group is Talea Nichols of Meridian. Winning a national title in the 110-pound weight group, Nichols is an 8th grader at Heritage Middle School and will be attending Rocky Mountain High School in the fall.

Also reaching the national finals include Ali Svancara (Buhl, 85s) and Charlee Noah (Cambridge, 92s), each placing second in their respective weight groups. Other All-Americans include Kali Waggoner (Midvale, 85s), Roxy Sheen (Buhl, 127s), Olivia Bezdicek (Jerome, 97s), and Jasmin Carpenter (Buhl, 105s).

The final two All-Americans were in the 12U division. They include national finalist Mylah Henebry of Nampa (70s) and Maci May (Buhl), placing 4th in the 79-pound weight group. Overall, this was a great showing for the girls of Team Idaho.

ALL-AMERICANS (JUNIOR DIVISION)

106 – Lita Cruz (Minico H.S., 12), 2ND Place
112 – Skyla Zimmerman (Moscow HS, 11), 2ND Place
127 – Frankie Graham (Minico H.S., 12), 7TH Place

ALL-AMERICANS (16U DIVISION)

138 – Josie Newby (Grace HS, 9), 4TH Place
144 – Zoe Fries (Kuna HS, 9), 3RD Place
94 – Joely Slyter (Lewiston H.S., 9), 3RD Place
200 – Olivia Burciaga (Kuna H.S.), 4TH Place

ALL-AMERICANS (14U DIVISION)

110 – Talea Nichols (Meridian), NATIONAL CHAMPION
85 – Ali Svancara (Buhl), 2ND Place
85 – Kali waggoner (Midvale), 5TH Place
92 – Charlee Noah (Cambridge), 2ND Place
127 – Roxy Sheen (Buhl), 6TH Place
97 – Olivia Bezdicek (Jerome), 7TH Place
105 – Jasmin Carpenter (Buhl), 7TH Place

ALL-AMERICANS (12U DIVISION)

70 – Mylah Henebry (Nampa), 2ND Place
79 – Maci May (Buhl), 4TH Place

In closing, the future looks very bright for the sport of wrestling in the state of Idaho for both the boys and girls divisions. The consolidated effort by Idaho USA Wrestling Director Chris Owens, coaches, and volunteers statewide to bring together Idaho’s best is paying off in dividends with the overall performance of Team Idaho at the boys and girls Folkstyle Nationals.

Bringing home 51 All-American honors with 10 individual champions (combined boys and girls divisions) is not an easy achievement and is noteworthy considering the per capita statistic of Idaho’s small population.

Winning back-to-back national team titles didn’t happen by accident, it was achieved behind the scenes in numerous wrestling rooms across Idaho where each and every athlete on Team Idaho put in countless hours of training and preparation for an event of this level. I look forward to the future of wrestling in Idaho and to all Team Idaho wrestlers that put it on the line against the best of the best, a job well done. WE’RE ONE IDAHO!

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