There are 1036 fans on right now!
(Click For Complete Broadcast Schedule)

Most Recent Action Photo Galleries

(Click For Complete List Of Galleries)
3/18 Softball  Homedale vs Filer
3/17 Track & Field  Parma Ice Breaker-Field Events
3/17 Track & Field  Parma Ice Breaker-Running Events
3/16 Softball  Ridgevue vs Owyhee
3/16 Baseball  Ridgevue vs Owyhee
3/15 Track & Field  Borah vs Meridian Track Meet
3/11 Softball  Mountain View vs Ridgevue
3/10 Track & Field  Meridian vs Boise
3/4 Boys Basketball  Bear Lake vs Melba
3/4 Boys Basketball  Bear Lake vs Melba
3/4 Boys Basketball  Sugar-Salem vs Bonners Ferry
3/4 Boys Basketball  Sugar-Salem vs Bonners Ferry
3/4 Boys Basketball  Sugar-Salem vs Bonners Ferry
3/4 Boys Basketball  Pocatello vs Hillcrest
3/4 Boys Basketball  Pocatello vs Hillcrest
Hidden Gems of Idaho Prep Wrestling: Kolter Burton, American Falls
Al Fontes goes one-on-one with the American Falls junior
Published: 6/2/2022 2:00:49 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer

The Gem State of Idaho is best known for potatoes and other agricultural commodities, such as wheat, beef, dairy products, and alfalfa to name a few. Approximately 88% of Idaho’s land is in counties designated as rural, whereas 26% of the total land area is utilized for agricultural purposes.

In the southeast sector of Idaho (rural towns and urban cities east of the Boise metropolitan towards the Montana and Wyoming borders), the small town of Blackfoot is known as the “Potato Capital of the World”, producing the largest sum of potatoes in one geographical location.

A little known fact is that a large share of the state’s national caliber wrestlers is produced in this same sector. Considering that southeast Idaho is comprised of rural farming communities interconnected with urban development in a number of the larger cities (e.g., Idaho Falls – pop. 65,483), the number of All-Americans produced per capita each year is noteworthy.

For example, in 2021, Team Idaho produced its largest number of All-Americans honors in its state’s history at the Fargo Nationals with 24 total (all divisions/styles). Of the 24 All-American honors, 9 (38%) came from the southeast sector.

Furthermore, at this year’s USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa, the southeast represented 12 out of the 27 All-Americans honors produced (44%) in the high school divisions. Even among the kids’ age group divisions, 7 out of the 8 All-Americans (88%) were from the southeast, a leading indicator that this trend will continue to sustain in the years to come.

To put these stats into perspective, the greater Boise metropolitan sector, which consists of the five counties in the Treasure Valley and Payette County to the north, represented 50% of the Fargo All-American honors produced by Team Idaho in 2021. This sector of Idaho is the most densely populated and has a combined population of approximately 773,000, representing 39% of the state’s overall population of 1.98 million – 2022 estimates.

The remaining All-Americans come from the Northern sector, which covers the land area north of Payette Country towards Coeur d’ Alene and Post Falls to the Canadian border in the panhandle, and represents 12% of the total.

This is the fourth installment of my HIDDEN GEM series, which also includes the Pioneers of Idaho Girls Prep Wrestling. Recently, I had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A interview with Kolter Burton of American Falls High School and took a closer look at his wrestling journey thus far. A junior to be for the upcoming 2022-’23 season, Burton has had an exceptional mat career to this point and is definitely a HIDDEN GEM in the southeast. He is not only impacting the wrestling scene in Idaho, but the nation.

Burton was first introduced to the sport of wrestling at the early age of five and today is among the top lightweights in Idaho and has made a name for himself on the national stage. He resides in the small farming town of American Falls (pop. 4,457), an agriculturally based community known for its landmark water fall on the Snake River. Additionally, American Falls produces commodities, such as wheat, potatoes, and sugar beets.

Looking back at the school’s history, American Falls High School has produced its share of state champions, placers, and championship teams spanning the last two decades. Since 2001, American Falls has won the 3A state team title five times (2001, ’06, ’08, ’09, and ’10) and to date, its top performers include 3x State Champions Paden Johnson (2007-’09), Kasey West (2009-’11), Boone Giulio (2015-’18), and VJ Giulio, the school’s first and only 4x State Champion (2008-’11).

As the 2021-’22 school year comes to a close, Burton has established himself as one of the new rising stars at American Falls. An honors student with a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and a member of the Honors Society, Burton is more than poised to enter his junior season in pursuit of winning a third and possibly a fourth state title his senior year.

No stranger to hard work, commitment, and the desire to pursue excellence both on the mat and in the classroom, Burton has compiled quite an impressive resume to this point. He first established himself on the national stage around 2018 and 2019 when he placed at a total of five national level Kid’s tournaments, earning All-American honors at each. In addition to winning two 3A division state high school titles his freshman and sophomore seasons, Kolter has also had success at several regional and national level competitions.

In 2021, Burton placed in the top 3 several times at the USA Western Regionals and then capped the year off by reaching the finals of the USAW Folkstyle Nationals and then earning two All-American (16U/Junior) honors at the Fargo Nationals, one being a championship title in the Junior Greco-Roman division. As a result, he is the first wrestler to achieve this feat at American Falls. Incredibly, Burton wrestled approximately 20 matches during the long two weeks in Fargo, competing in each style (Freestyle/Greco-Roman) of the 16U and Junior divisions.

If this is not enough, he had to partake in six weigh-ins in the process. This task alone is difficult and would break many. It is definitely a mental and physical grind that only the best of the best is able to navigate through in the midst of high level competition, one that Kolter has expressed that he is more than willing to try again.

“Kolter has the deepest love for wrestling, every single day he will tie his shoes tight and push himself to get better. He has high goals off the mat as well as on it and I know with his mindset he will accomplish anything in front of him.”

                                                                                         - Jacob Eck, Assistant Coach, American Falls H.S.

Fast-forward to June of 2022 and Burton remains on track to pursue his goal of winning four individual Idaho state titles and to add to his already impressive wrestling resume at the national level. Since winning his second 3A state high school title in February, Burton has increased his state Freestyle and Greco-Roman title count to six and also earned two additional All-American honors at the USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa last month. In the course of competing in Iowa, he placed 4th in the 16U and won a national title in the Open division. Moreover, with his recent accomplishments in Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Folkstyle, Burton was awarded his fourth USA Idaho Triple Crown Award.

There is no secret to Burton’s recipe for success. The common denominator throughout his wrestling career has been hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. More importantly, Burton will not let failure or large hurdles deter him from pursuing his short and long term goals. Perseverance and always moving forward in the midst of adversity and struggle is his mindset. Moreover, surrounding himself with higher level wrestlers and growing from his shortfalls has proven to prepare him for any and all challenges that come his direction.

Recently, I had the opportunity to consult with several coaches from the southeast about the quality of wrestling coming out of this sector. The overwhelming consensus is that this trend is nothing new, it has been happening for many years. As a matter of fact, shortly after I moved to Idaho approximately two years ago, my observations when assessing the competition landscape was the quality of wrestlers from the southeast. Simply put, the quality of wrestlers being produced in this area is exceptional and should be noted.

Furthermore, the common theme among the wrestling community in the southeast is there is a greater emphasis on the bigger picture. It’s not that winning an individual or team state title lacks any importance, it is the pursuit of excellence and achievement at the highest level possible that is given greater emphasis, thus creating greater stock in a wrestler’s chances of achieving college opportunities and more.

Burton is one of many wrestlers that has taken advantage of the great opportunities provided to him and as a result he continues to improve daily bar none. These opportunities include receiving continuous high level instruction from his coaches at American Falls, family support, attending weekly “Best on Best” style practices locally and other parts of the state (attracts top level wrestlers from the region to train together), participating in Fargo training camps lead by Chris Owens (Director of Operations for Idaho USA Wrestling), as well as learning from other coaches and volunteers that have provided him quality coaching and instruction. It has been this type of high level competitive atmosphere that is a contributing factor to not only Burton’s performance, but that of Team Idaho at the national level.

In summary, Kolter Burton is definitely a HIDDEN GEM more than capable of receiving a top 10 national high school ranking in the next year or so. Having earned many high-level accolades to this point in his career, Burton’s journey has just begun and his wrestling aptitude continues to increase each and every day. Coming from a small urban agriculturally based farming town, he has definitely put American Falls, Idaho on the map.

Presently, Burton is preparing to compete at the Fargo Nationals in July. Logging in many hours of training throughout the week (lifting, running, drilling), both in the pre-dawn hours before school and then again after school well into the evening, Burton is focused on achieving each and every one of his goals. ATTITUDE AND EFFORT are his motto and everything he approaches in life is with the best attitude and max effort. At the end of the day, to achieve one’s dreams requires that they conquer the dreams of their opponents. Based on my observation of Burton at high level competitions, he is more than capable of achieving his dreams and much more.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Kolter about his wrestling journey, academics, and future outlook. He is definitely an intelligent and well-spoken student-athlete that has a bright future ahead of him, both on and off the mat. Below is my Q&A interview with Kolter.


How did you first get involved in the sport of wrestling?

 BURTONI watched my older cousin compete when I was around 5 years old…I wanted to give it try.


Who has been your biggest influence in the sport?

 BURTON – Jacob Eck, my high school and club coach. Coach Eck is constantly preparing me, both mentally and physically to be the best I can be.


Heading into your Junior season, what are your short and long term goals at American Falls?

 BURTON – My short term goal is to win another individual state title, as well as winning a team title. My long term goals are to become a 4x state champion and finish high school with a 4.0 accumulative GPA. Hopefully obtain a Division I scholarship. Also, I want to lead by example for others to follow.


Describe your academic and wrestling experience at American Falls.

 BURTON – It has been a positive experience. I have been surrounded by many teachers and coaches that are great leaders, very proactive and have done so much to help me and others get better.


Having competed in both styles in the 16U and Junior divisions at Fargo last year, how many matches did you have during the week? Describe this experience.

 BURTON – Around 19 or 20 matches. I had to weigh in around six times. It was pretty tough, hard, both physically and mentally. It took a lot of grit to get through. Overall, it was a fun experience. The experience helped me become more physically and mentally stronger.


Having had some great success at this point in your wrestling career, describe your training routine and your outlook for the years ahead.

 BURTON – Every day I work on something to improve my skills, strengths, and mindset. Getting better is a process.


Do you have ambitions of competing in college or international competition?

 BURTON – My biggest goal is to compete at a division I college and also win a world championship.


For the past several years, the state of Idaho has had success at the Folkstyle and Fargo Nationals. Being a member of the national teams that recently won back-to-back Folkstyle National team titles and produced a state record 24 All-Americans in Fargo last summer, where do you see Idaho wrestling in the next ten years? 

 BURTON – I only see it getting better from this point forward. I hope I am able to influence the young wrestlers of the future to build Idaho wrestling into a top state.


Is there an Olympian, collegiate level wrestler, Coach or someone outside of the sport of wrestling that you want to aspire to be someday?

 BURTON – Yanni Diakomihalis of Cornell University. He loves wrestling and the process of getting better. Yanni Loves to “toe the line” and compete. 


What life lessons have you learned in wrestling that applies in your day-to-day life?

 BURTON – Perseverance! When things get hard, I keep moving forward.


Do you have a saying, philosophy or motto that you live by?

 BURTON –. ATTITUDE AND EFFORT –  Everything I face each day; I try to approach with the best attitude and max effort. When I follow this motto, I know I can be successful both on and off the mat.


What advice would you give a young wrestler wanting to be successful in the sport of wrestling or in life?

 BURTON – Never be afraid of hard work and sacrifice.


Outside the sport of wrestling, what other goals do you have in life?

 BURTON – I want to get a college degree in Sports Medicine. I’m interested in helping other athletes improve their performance.


Once you are done competing, do you have plans to stay involved with wrestling?

 BURTON – Yes! I want to become a coach, as well as perform sports medicine to help athlete be the best they can be.

What hobbies and family functions do you enjoy the most?

 BURTON – I like to ride dirt bikes, camping, and spending time outdoors with my family.



 SCHOOL: American Falls High School (3A)
GRADE: 10 (Class of 2024)


  • Cumulative GPA (4.0)
  • Honors English
  • Member of the Honors Society


  • 2x 3A State Champion, 2021, ‘22
  • 2x IHSAA 3A District V Champion, 2021 –‘22
  • USA Idaho Triple Crown Winner ’22 (4x)
  • 6x Idaho State Champion – FS/GR (16U/JR) 2021 – ‘22
  • USAW Folkstyle National Champion (Open) ‘22
  • USAW Folkstyle All-American – 4th (16U) ‘22
  • Rollie Lane Invitational Champion ’22
  • Western Regional GR Championships – 3rd (16U) ’22
  • Western Regional FS Championships – 4th (16U) ‘22
  • Fargo JR GR National Champion ‘21
  • Fargo JR FS All-American – 5th ’21
  • USAW Folkstyle All-American – 2nd‘21
  • Western Regional Championships – 2nd ‘21



Jason Mara, Meridian
Matthew Martino, Bishop Kelly
Mia Furman, Rocky Mountain

This information is copyrighted to Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or other use of this information is strictly prohibited without the expressed, written, consent of

Copyright | Privacy Policy