IDAHO FALLS — With the spot light shining on center mat four Bingham County grapplers took center stage in the finals of the prestigious Tiger-Grizz wrestling tournament on Saturday evening. Shelley's Chase Call led the charge with a commanding 14-7 decision over Columbia's Tomaz Gonzales in the 138 finals as the senior led from start to finish for the win.
"Winning this tournament has been a goal of mine since I was a freshman," Call said. "All of those years working in the wrestling room paid off. I came in just wanting to wrestle position and just do what I've been taught. I want to thank all of my coaches, friends and especially my family for helping me."
Snake River had a pair of wrestlers in the finals with Treyton Nilsson at 98 pounds and the undefeated Skyller Valentine at 113.
Nilsson was the first match of the finals event as he tangled with Bubba Boots of South Fremont in what could be a 3A state tournament finals preview.
Nilsson jumped out to a 10-1 lead on Boots before Boots came roaring back with a late pin with 0:13 remaining in the match, relegating a disappointed Nilsson to a second place finish.
One match later Valentine took to the mat, squaring off with 4A Kuna wrestler Casey Cobb. The match went as far as it could as both wrestlers put on a defensive show, countering each others moves with adept skill worthy of a Tiger-Grizz finale. In the end it was Cobb who emerged triumphant however with a 3-2 decision.
"This tournament is so tough, it's a huge accomplishment just to get to the finals," Snake River head coach Jeff Gardner said. "Either wrestler could have won each of those matches. Treyton's match was about conditioning so he knows where he needs to improve there but really, it's all about preparing for February. There was a whole lot of positives at this tournament for our team. We come here to face tough competition and overall I was very pleased with the effort of my team."
As a team, Snake River finished in 11th position out of the thirty-three teams with 108 points. Helping push the Panthers to a near top ten finish was Jake Frost who medaled in fifth position for the Panthers.
Rounding out the championship round was Blackfoot's Ruben Pulido at 152 pounds. Pulido faced off with undefeated Rugar Piva of Challis in the finals and the match lived up to the hype as it came down to extra minutes with Piva prevailing with a take down for the 3-1 victory as Pulido settled for second place.
"Ruben did an awesome job all the way through the tournament," Blackfoot head coach Thain Cashmore said. "He has such a big heart and he is just a warrior on the mats. He just keeps battling all the way to the end like you saw here tonight."
Including Pulido, Blackfoot medaled 6 different wrestlers in the tournament leading to a 9th place finish with 111 points.
Kohl Bingham (113) finished fourth. Tucker Leavitt (145) finished fifth and Tate Hansen (132), Bryant Sargent (170) and Jonathan Littlejohn (285) each finished eighth.
"We were a little bit stale to start the tournament. Missing last week hurt. It would have been nice to be able to go to the Madison tournament," Coach Cashmore said. "This was the first individual tournament for the kids and I thought that we showed up on the second day."
Shelley returns to the mats on Tuesday when they travel to Sugar-Salem. Snake River and Blackfoot will both be at home on Saturday night with Snake River hosting North Fremont and Mald and Blackfoot squaring off with High Country Conference rival Bonneville.
1. Box Elder 279.0, 2. Kuna 261.5, 3. Columbia 202.5, 4. Bonneville 168.0, 5. Star Valley 164.0,
6. Weber 145.0, 7. Pocatello 136.5, 8. Mountain View 113.0, 9. Blackfoot 111.0, 10. Meridian 110.0, 11. Snake River 108.0, 12. Spring Creek 96.5, 13. Capital 92.0, 14. Highland 86.0, 15. Challis 81.0, 15. Preston 81.0, 17. Hillcrest 78.0, 18. Minico 68.0, 19. Borah 66.0, 19. Madison 66.0, 21. Skyline 64.0, 22. Eagle 62.0, 23. Sugar Salem 58.0, 24. Centennial 48.5, 25. Vallivue 46.0, 26. Rocky Mountain 43.0, 27. Evanston 42.0, 28. Idaho Falls 40.0, 29. Canyon Ridge 35.0, 30. South Fremont 33.0, 31. Shelley 30.5, 32. Rigby 27.0