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2023 Idaho State Wrestling Preview: Class 4A
Minico has the numbers. Bishop Kelly has the top-end talent. Which strategy will win out?
Published: 2/22/2023 9:53:55 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

The 4A division returns 8 State Champions with 43 placers overall. A total of 14 wrestlers are in position to earn a possible third or fourth state medal. This year’s 4A wrestling contingent is well balanced from the lightest to heaviest weight groups. As expected, each weight group will be highly contested and feature several wrestlers with impressive accolades. Keep an eye on the 145 pound weight division. The road to the top of the podium will not be easy this year with returning 2x State Champion Hunter Bidelman (Caldwell), All-American Carlos Valdez (Bishop Kelly), and sophomore standout DJ Neider of Idaho Falls in the mix. The pre-tournament favorite to win the overall team title is Minico, the defending champions of 2022. 

A total of eight wrestlers return in pursuit of earning another individual state title with a majority ranked number one in their respective weight groups. The leader among this strong contingent is 2x State Champion Mack Mauger of Blackfoot (120). Rated among the top lightweight wrestlers in the country, Mauger is a 4x Fargo National Champion, 2x USA Wrestling Triple Crown winner, and has 9 All-American honors to his credit. Only a junior, Mauger is committed to compete for the University of Missouri.

Entering this year’s state tournament with a 44-0 record and two titles to his credit, Caldwell’s Hunter Bidelman is the favorite at 145s. As mentioned, he will be challenged by Idaho Falls DJ Neider and Carlos Valdez of Bishop Kelly, each standout sophomores that have promising futures. Definitely a weight division to keep an eye on. Winning state last year as a freshman, Bishop Kelly’s Matthew Martino is a multiple time All-American and the top seed at 126s. An exceptional student-athlete, Martino is one of the best lightweight wrestlers in the state and is on track to join his older brother, Christopher, in pursuit of winning a rare four state titles.

Other returning State Champions include Mountain Home’s Gabe Rosales (106), All-American Jake Castegneto (132 – Bishop Kelly), Nakoa Fouret (170 – Columbia), Tradyn Henderson (182 – Blackfoot), and Garrett Vail of Minico (220).

Additional competitors to watch include fourteen wrestlers in position to earn either a third or fourth state medal (see lists below). To name a couple, Payton Hernandez of Columbia is a 3x state finalist and in position to challenge for a fourth medal. Despite being the third seed at 132s, he is on a collision course with Bishop Kelly’s Jake Castegneto, the number two seed. If their District III final’s match is any indication to what to expect, keep an eye out for this potential match-up, it will not disappoint. At 285s, Caldwell’s Miguel Perez is the number one seed and in position to earn a fourth state medal. Placing third three times, Perez (32-3 record) is the favorite to win it all this year. Also keep an eye on Jadon Skellenger of Bishop Kelly. Only a junior, Skellenger enters the state tournament undefeated (40-0) and is the number one seed at 152s. This being his first season to compete for a high school program, Skellenger has a wrestling resume that dates back well over a decade and is very impressive to say the least. Winning multiple national All-American honors and titles, Skellenger is a Fargo finalist and in 2019 earned a U15 World title in Greco-Roman. Pound for pound, he is one of the best in the tournament.

The overwhelming favorite to repeat this year in the team race is Minico High School. With ten returning state placers and 24 qualifiers overall, the Spartans are loaded with talent and have three wrestlers seed number one (Twiss, Vail, and Sonner-Cranney) and seven more seeded in the top six. Challenging Minico is traditional power Caldwell High School. Led by Bidelman and Perez, the Cougars qualified thirteen and have five returning placers overall. The team to watch is Bishop Kelly of Boise. Despite not having the large numbers as Minico, Bishop Kelly definitely has six potential finalists and few more that will score a lot of points. All underclassman, this strong contingent includes Mathew Martino (Soph., #1 seed – 126), Jake Castegneto (Jr., #2 seed – 132), Manual Valdez (Jr., #1 seed – 138), Carlos Valdez (Soph., #3 seed – 145), Jadon Skellenger (Jr., #1 seed – 152), Seiya Thompson (Jr., #2 seed – 160), and Phil Janquart (Jr., #3 – 220).

Overall, I expect the 4A division to be a great competition this year. Many of the weight divisions feature wrestlers with national and international credentials. Below is a comprehensive list of the top five teams, returning champions, state placers, All-Americans, and wrestlers ranked nationally. Enjoy!

 

TOP 5 TEAMS

 

MINICO (24 QUALIFIERS w/10 RETURNING STATE PLACERS)

106 – Greyson Molina (10), 5th State

113 – Andre Valero (11), 4th, 4th State

126 – Jose Contreras (12), 5th State

138 – Joseph Terry (12), 3rd State

145 – Kale Osterhout (12), 6th State

160 – Paxton Twiss (11), 3rd State

182 – Spencer Pease (11), 5th, 3rd State

182 – Freddy Martinez (12), 6th State

195 – Preston Sonner-Cranney (10), 4th State

220 – Garrett Vail (11), State Champion

 

CALDWELL (13 QUALIFIERS w/5 RETURNING STATE PLACERS)

120 – Draven Johns (10), 3rd State

126 – Jayce Wolf (10), 5th State

132 – Dominic Alcantara (11), 6th, 5th State

145 – Hunter Bidelman (12), 2x State Champion, 2nd State (ALL-AMERICAN)

285 – Miguel Perez (12), 3rd, 3rd, 3rd State

 

BISHOP KELLY (15 QUALIFIERS w/4 RETURNING STATE PLACERS)

126 – Matthew Martino (10), State Champion (ALL-AMERICAN)

132 – Jake Castegneto (11), 1st, 2nd State (ALL-AMERICAN)

138 – Manual Valdez (11), 3rd State ’21 (ALL-AMERICAN)

145 – Carlos Valdez (10), 4th State (ALL-AMERICAN)

152 – Jadon Skellenger (11), ALL-AMERICAN/U15 World GR Champion

 

BONNEVILLE (15 QUALIFIERS w/4 RETURNING STATE PLACERS)

106 – Saxton Scott (10), 3rd State

120 – Wyat Blanchard (10), 4th State

120 – Ryan Nuno (12), 6th State ‘20

138 – Ryker Vail (10), 4th State

 

BLACKFOOT (15 QUALIFIERS w/3 RETURNING STATE PLACERS)

120 – Mack Mauger (11), 2x State Champion (ALL-AMERICAN)

160 – Kylan Guerra (11), 4th State ‘21

182 – Tradyn Henderson (Blackfoot, 12), State Champion

 

RETURNING STATE CHAMPIONS (2X)

120 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 11)

145 – Hunter Bidelman (Caldwell, 12)

 

RETURNING STATE CHAMPIONS (1X)

106 – Gabe Rosales (Mountain Home, 12)

132 – Jake Castegneto (Bishop Kelly, 11)

126 – Matthew Martino (Bishop Kelly, 10)

170 – Nakoa Fouret (Columbia, 12)

182 – Tradyn Henderson (Blackfoot, 12)

220 – Garrett Vail (Minico, 11)

 

RETURNING STATE PLACERS (3X)

132 – Payton Hernandez (Columbia, 12), 2nd, 2nd, 2nd

145 – Hunter Bidelman (Caldwell, 12), 1st, 2nd, 1st

285 – Miguel Perez (Caldwell, 12), 3rd, 3rd, 3rd

 

RETURNING STATE PLACERS (2X)

113 – Andre Valero (Minico, 11), 4th, 4th

120 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 11), 1st, 1st

120 – Carter Balmforth (Shelley, 11), 2nd, 6th

126 – Kaiden Rubash (Jerome, 12), 6th, 5th

132 – Jake Castegneto (Bishop Kelly, 11), 1st, 2nd

132 – Dominic Alcantara (Caldwell, 11), 6th, 5th

152 – Diego Deaton (Moscow, 12), 5th, 6th

170 – Nakoa Fouret (Columbia, 12), 3rd, 1st

182 – Spencer Pease (Minico, 11), 5th, 3rd

195 – Gavin Williamson (Jerome, 11), 4th, 4th

220 – Preston Colvin (Skyline, 12), 6th, 2nd

 

RETURNING STATE PLACERS (1X)

106 – Gabe Rosales (Mountain Home, 12), 1st

106 – Saxton Scott (Bonneville, 10), 3rd

106 – Greyson Molina (Minico, 10), 5th

120 – Draven Johns (Caldwell, 10), 3rd

120 – Wyatt Blanchard (Bonneville, 10), 4th

120 – Matthew Williams (Lakeland, 12), 5th ‘21

120 – Ryan Nuno (Bonneville, 12), 6th ’20

126 – Clark Peterson (Shelley, 10), 3rd

126 – Jayce Wolf (Caldwell, 10), 5th

126 – Jose Contreras (Minico, 12), 5th

138 – Joseph Terry (Minico, 12), 3rd

138 – Manual Valdez (Bishop Kelley, 11), 3rd ’21

138 – Ryker Vail (Bonneville, 10), 4th

138 – Tavin Rigby (Preston, 11), 6th

145 – Carlos Valdez (Bishop Kelly, 10), 4th

145 – Kale Osterhout (Minico, 12), 6th

145 – Timothy Hebdon (Skyview, 12), 6th ’21 5A

160 – Paxton Twiss (Minico, 11), 3rd

160 – Kylan Guerra (Blackfoot 11), 4th ‘21

160 – Caleb Somers (Canyon Ridge, 11), 6th

170 – Parker Bodily (Preston, 12), 5th

170 – Levi Lockett (Jerome, 12), 6th

182 – Tradyn Henderson (Blackfoot, 12), 1st

182 – Micah Serr (Preston, 12), 2nd

182 – Freddy Martinez (Minico 12), 6th

195 – Preston Sonner-Cranney (Minico, 10), 4th

220 – Garrett Vail (Minico, 11), 1st

220 – Zahne Ruiz (Twin Falls, 12), 2nd

285 – Jackson Geslin (Century, 12), 2nd

 

WORLD MEDALIST

152 – Jadon Skellenger (Bishop Kelly), U15 World Champion (GR)

 

NATIONAL CHAMPION

120 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot) 6x

 

ALL-AMERICANS (Fargo/Folkstyle/UWW)

120 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot) 9x

152 – Jadon Skellenger (Bishop Kelly) 8x

126 – Matthew Martino (Bishop Kelly) 2x

132 – Treygen Morin (Ridgevue) 2x

145 – Hunter Bidelman (Caldwell) 2x

106 – Saxton Scott (Bonneville)

132 – Jake Castegneto (Bishop Kelly)

138 – Manual Valdez (Bishop Kelly)

145 – Carlos Valdez (Bishop Kelly)

 

4A DIVISION WRESTLERS RECOGNIZED IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS

113 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 11), #10 (WUSA)/#10 (FLO)

120 – Matthew Martino (Bishop Kelly, 10), #30T (WUSA)

138 – Hunter Bidelman (Caldwell, 12), Special Mention (WUSA)

152 – Jadon Skellenger (Bishop Kelly, 11), #18 (WUSA)





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