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Tier 1 of Idaho Prep Wrestling: Mack Mauger, Blackfoot
Al Fontes introduces his newest segment by highlighting Blackfoot wrestler Mack Mauger
Published: 6/22/2022 12:59:25 AM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer

MACK MAUGER – BLACKFOOT HIGH SCHOOL

TIER 1 OF IDAHO PREP WRESTLING

This past April, I launched my new series, the HIDDEN GEMS and PIONEERS of Idaho Girls Prep Wrestling. Additionally, I kicked off the first of my MAT CHAT series with former prep standout Casey Randles of Coeur d’ Alene, who recently won the NAIA Nationals and earned All-American honors for Grand View University in Iowa. From that point forward, I have had the opportunity to interview and take a closer look at several of Idaho’s top underclassman and highlight their exceptional accomplishments and future goals in wrestling, academics, and life. They consist of Jason Mara (Meridian), Matthew Martino (Bishop Kelly), Mia Furman (Rocky Mountain), and Kolter Burton (American Falls). All have proven their ability to compete at the elite level and have earned accolades at the state, regional, and national levels, but to date have not broken the barrier of the national ranking “Inner Circle,” which is to be ranked in the All-Class top 10 to 20 in their respective weight groups. It is my opinion that through time and continued growth and improvement, each wrestler listed above is more than capable of breaking this barrier.

My next segment in the promotion of wrestling in the Gem State will focus on the TIER 1 Prep Wrestlers of Idaho. One may ask, what is TIER 1? For instance, in military circles (e.g., U.S. Navy SEALs), as well as exceptional athletes in sport, those that have achieved TIER 1 status are considered to be the best of the best. My objective with the TIER 1 series is to focus on the Idaho wrestlers that have broken the barrier of the “Inner Circle” and are ranked in the top 20 by wrestling news outlets, such as FLO Wrestling, WIN Magazine, and Wrestling USA Magazine to name a few.

Historically, in order for a wrestler to break the barrier of the “Inner Circle,” the norm has been to not only earn accolades at the state, regional, and national levels, but to also have put one’s abilities to the test against the best of the best. Bottom line, defeating a wrestler or more than one already ranked within the “Inner Circle” at one’s local state or national level competitions is the name of the game. These competitions include the Fargo Nationals, Super 32, and to the same degree prestigious high school tournaments, such as Clovis Doc Buchanan (Central California), Beast of the East (Delaware), and the Walsh Ironman in Ohio, which for many years has been ranked the toughest high school tournament in the country.

The first Idaho wrestler in my TIER 1 series is Junior to be, Mack Mauger of Blackfoot High School, located in the small southeastern town of Blackfoot, which is known as the “Potato Capital of the World.” Currently ranked #8 by FLO Wrestling and Wrestling USA Magazine, Mauger has had an exceptional mat career since first being introduced to the sport at the age of six by his father, Ladd, also a competitive wrestler for Snake River High School in Idaho from 1997 to 2000. Mauger’s first experience on the mat was at a local wrestling club in Blackfoot, where he and his cousin, Kase Mauger, trained and competed together for several years. Kase, a major influence to Mack, was a three-time state champion for Twin Falls High School and also earned a combined four All-American honors at Fargo and the Folkstyle Nationals. Currently, Kase is a sophomore at Utah Valley University and is on the wrestling team.

It was at an early age that Mauger was provided the distinct opportunity to train under 5x Bulgarian National Champion Ivan Delchev at his Delchev Trained Academy (DTA) in Wendell, Idaho (Delchev/DTA are now located in the greater Omaha Nebraska region). A World Class coach, Delchev has coached multiple World Team Members from various countries and from the beginning made a significant impact in Mauger’s wrestling career. Mauger not only learned the core of hard work and commitment, but the true meaning of sacrifice and what it takes to achieve noteworthy results at the elite level. Subsequently, Mauger experienced success early in his mat career and performed very well at the kids and middle school levels, earning multiple state, regional, and national titles and accolades in the process.   

From the beginning of Mauger’s high school mat career, he immediately made an impact on the wrestling scene in Idaho and around the nation. Dominating his competition throughout the 2020 -’21 school year, he finished his freshman season by winning a 4A District and State title and continued his winning ways in the off-season by earning Gold at Greco-Roman State (16U) and then reaching the championship finals at the United World Wrestling (UWW) World Team Trials in both Cadet Freestyle and Greco-Roman, placing runner-up in each style. Additionally, Mauger won his first USAW Folkstyle National title in Iowa and then capped the year off by winning titles (16U) in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman at the Fargo Nationals in North Dakota. Accordingly, Mauger was awarded the Triple Crown by USA Wrestling for winning titles in Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman in the same year. Prior to Mauger winning double Fargo titles in 2021, Boe Rushston was the first to accomplish this feat in 1996. Rushton went on to earn a total of three Fargo titles (16U/Junior), four All-American honors overall, and finished his collegiate career by placing third at the NCAA Division I Championships for Boise State in 2003.

Upon winning his first 4A state title and making his mark at the USAW Folkstyle Nationals, Fargo, and the UWW World Team Trials, Mauger broke the barrier and entered the “Inner Circle” of the All-Class national rankings at #20 (FLO Wrestling – August 12, 2021). He then advanced in the rankings to #17 during the month of September and at the beginning of the 2021-’22 season, climbed the ladder to #13 (FLO Wrestling – October 27, 2021). For reasons I am not aware (likely, there were ranking adjustments between the 106 and 113 pound weight groups), Mauger was dropped from the top 20 FLO rankings from December of 2021 to early January of 2022. He then traveled to Central California and entered the Clovis Doc Buchanan Invitational, which is ranked among the top 5 high school tournaments in the country. Seeded #5 at 106s, Mauger faced several high caliber wrestlers early on, but battled throughout the tough competition to reach the championship finals. In the finals, he faced fellow Idahoan Dedrick Navarro of Nampa (2020 4A State Champion/3x All-American) and won a hard fought match, 3-1, earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award for the lower weight groups, as well as the coveted Stetson Cowboy hat that is given to all individual champions. 

Once more, Mauger proved himself on the mat and re-entered the “Inner Circle” rankings for the second time, moving up the ladder to #16 (FLO Wrestling –January 12, 2022). He remained in the top 20 rankings for the duration of the regular high school season and went on to win his second 4A state title and continued his winning ways by earning another Greco-Roman state title (16U), as well as titles at the Western Regionals and USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa. Additionally, Mauger made another trip to the UWW Cadet World Team Trials, finishing second in Greco-Roman and third in Freestyle. Shortly thereafter, he reached his highest rung of the ranking ladder and was ranked in the top 10 at #8 (FLO Wrestling/Wrestling Magazine).

Not only is Mauger an exceptionally talented wrestler, he also excels in the classroom. Currently, Mauger maintains a 3.77 GPA and has been on the Honor Roll several times. According to his coach, Kelly Moysh, Mack is an exceptional student-athlete that works very hard, leads by example, and is a pleasure to coach.

 

Mack is the type of kid that will always do extra, both on the mat and in the classroom. He’s a true competitor!   

– Kelly Moysh, Head Coach, Blackfoot H.S. 

 

In summary, Mack Mauger has had a very accomplished mat and academic career thus far. Already having two 4A state titles to his credit, he is in position to challenge for a third and possibly a fourth (to date, Jose Garcia is the only wrestler from Blackfoot to win three state titles from 2002 to 2004). Not one to shy away from high caliber competition, Mauger has excelled against the best prep wrestlers and is among the top lightweights in the country. With four individual national titles (Fargo/USAW Folkstyle) and many other notable accomplishments on his wrestling resume, coupled by his exceptional academic performance in the classroom, Mauger is definitely a TOP TIER wrestler to watch in the state of Idaho and has great potential to excel at the next level and in life.

Currently, Mauger is training in preparation for his second trip to the Fargo Nationals (scheduled for July 15-22) and plans to compete at 106s in the Junior division. Having had the opportunity to observe Mauger in competition, as well as interview him, I am impressed with this young man and his potential in life. Below is my Q&A interview with Mack where we discussed his wrestling journey thus far, academics, and future outlook.

Q&A INTERVIEW WITH MACK MAUGER

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

MAUGER – I was about 6 years old when my Dad encouraged me to join my cousin, Kase, at a local wrestling club in Blackfoot. My Dad, uncle, and cousins also wrestled…It’s a big part of our family.

Who has been your biggest influence in the sport?

MAUGER – Coach Ivan Delchev. He coached me at the Delchev Trained Academy (DTA) in Wendell for about five years from ages 9 to 14. I became a more serious wrestler while training under Coach Delchev. He inspired me to train hard and become a better wrestler.

Heading into your Junior season, what are your short and long term goals at Blackfoot High School?

MAUGER – My short term goal is to focus on getting better with my top game, such as turning my opponents and riding better. My long term goal is to win a third state title and explore opportunities at the Division I level.

Describe your academic and wrestling experience at Blackfoot High School.

MAUGER – Academically, it’s great! Our wrestling team at Blackfoot is like a family. I’ve made a lot of close friends through wrestling.

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

MAUGER – When I was around 9 or 10, my Dad and I would drive about two hours each way to Wendell, so I could train with Coach Delchev at DTA. It was his quality of coaching that was worth the sacrifice of traveling four hours a day, three times a week. I learned at an early age that it’s about sacrifice and doing what is necessary to be successful. This has been my normal routine for several years. My outlook for the future will remain the same moving forward.

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

MAUGER – Of course. It’s been my goal since I was a little kid to become an NCAA Champion and earn a spot on the World Team at the senior level.

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? 

MAUGER – I really think this is the beginning of great things to come. There are a lot of quality underclassman and middle school wrestlers coming up.

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

MAUGER – I look up to David Carr of Iowa State. His wrestling is great, but his personality and positive outlook in life inspires me even more.

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

MAUGER – Hard work and discipline transfers over to everyday life.

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

MAUGER – If you desire to achieve greatness, you have to be willing to do what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it.

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

MAUGER – When life becomes hard or difficult, stick with it. Never give up!

What other goals do you have in life?

MAUGER – I want to have a family someday and coach wrestling at the collegiate level.

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

MAUGER – Yes, coaching and giving back to the sport any way I can.

What hobbies and family functions do you enjoy the most?

MAUGER – I like to play spike ball with my family and friends. I also enjoy fishing and riding my mountain bike on the trails in the Pocatello area. 

MACK MAUGER’S ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC PROFILE

SCHOOL: Blackfoot High School (4A)
GRADE: 11 (Class of 2024)
WEIGHT: 106

NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL RANKINGS – TOP 10

  • FLO WRESTLING #8 (106s), May 9, 2022
  • Wrestling USA Magazine #8 (106s), June 15, 2022

ACADEMIC ACCOLADES

  • 3.77 GPA (Honors courses)
  • Academic Honor Roll (multiple)

WRESTLING ACCOLADES

  • 2X 4A State Champion 2021, ‘22
  • 2x 4A District Champion 2021, ‘22
  • UWW Cadet World Team Trials – GR, 2nd ‘22
  • UWW Cadet World Team Trials – FS, 3rd ’22
  • USAW Folkstyle Nationals Champion (Showcase Div.) ’22
  • Western Regional Champion – 16U ‘22
  • Doc Buchanan Invitational Champion *OW Lower weight ‘22
  • Idaho State GR Champion – 16U ‘22
  • USA Wrestling Triple Crown Award – 16U ‘22
  • 2x 16U Fargo National Champion – FS/GR ‘21
  • USAW Folkstyle National Champion ’21
  • UWW Cadet GR World Team Trials – 2nd Place ’21
  • UWW Cadet FS World Team Trials – 2nd Place ’21
  • Idaho State GR Champion – 16U ‘21
  • Idaho State GR Champion – 16U ’20
Idaho State FS Champion – 16U ’20 
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