ARIMO — The Snake River Panthers dominated the 3A district five championships at Marsh Valley on Thursday, defending their district title from a season previous with 259 team points to outdistance second place American Falls for the team title.
"This was probably the best showing that any of my teams have ever had at the district tournament since I've been coaching," Snake River head coach Jeff Gardner said.
Indeed, the Snake River showing was nothing short of impressive as they took 13 wrestlers into the 15 finals matches. Of those 13, Snake River was able to finish off 10 of those with individual championships including the first five of the evening.
"It's funny, once you start winning and get on a roll it becomes like a virus and everyone is wrestling well," Coach Gardner said. "We had some kids really step up today. We had four of these championship matches where the kids won against kids that they had not beaten before. It was fun."
Treyton Nilsson started the championship binge at 98. That was followed by four straight Snake River championships as Jake Frost (106), Skylerr Valentine (113), Kaden Bench (120) and River Stephenson (126) played follow the leader with big wins in their respective matches.
American Falls won the next three title matches to stem the momentum momentarily for the Panthers but Cutler Howell reignited the championship flame with a big win at 152. Tyrel Jensen (160) and Carlos Molina (170) followed with championships of their own as the Panther faithful were rolling.
At 195 Porter Thomas thrilled the crowd with a big move and a pin, leading to high fives all around as he celebrated his district title with obvious jubilance.
Rounding out the Panther champions list was Haydon Sutton as he picked up a second period pin for his first district title.
All told the Panthers qualified 20 wrestlers to next weekends state tournament as they added 3 second place finishes and 7 third placers in the dominating Thursday efforts.
"Twenty is the biggest that we have ever had going to state," Coach Gardner said. "Those kids that qualified, if they can go in, pick up a win or two, it will make us pretty hard to catch. We still need to peak next week and do it one more time."
The state championships will begin on Friday at Idaho State's Holt Arena with the finals taking place on Saturday evening.
3A District 5 championships at Marsh Valley
Snake River 259, American Falls 182, Bear Lake 139.5, Marsh Valley 97
98: 1. Treyton Nilsson SR, 2. Keeghan Arnell BL, 3. J.J. Von Der Leith
SR, 4. Kormick Lutz BL
106: 1. Jake Frost SR, 2. Garrett Brogan BL, 3. Alex Poole MV, 4.
Taylor Ward BL
113: 1. Skylerr Valentine SR, 2. Luke Brogan BL, 3. Joseph VanOrden
SR, 4. Hunter Bloxham BL
120: 1. Kaden Bench SR, 2. Mason Chacon AF, 3. Jonathon Parke MV, 4.
Jordan Campau SR
126: 1. River Stephenson SR, 2. Braxton James MV, 3. Mark Williams
SR, 4. Justin Longoria AF
132: 1. Bo Hohenfield AF, 2. Preston Armstrong MV, 3. J.C. Roath BL,
4. Justin Wiscombe AF
138: 1. Abraham Torres AF, 2. Wyatt Vogler SR, 3. Shawn Turpin SR, 4.
Kaden Donahoo BL
145: 1. Tyson Burgemeister AF, 2. Austin Summers SR, 3. Bryce Hunt BL,
4. Fernando MartinezAF
152: 1. Cutler Howell SR, 2. Josh Burmester MV, 3. Zane Stephenson SR,
4. Jeremy Glascock AF
160: 1. Tyrel Jensen SR, 2. Braden Roberts BL, 3. Cash Cardona SR, 4.
Ryan Evans MV
170: 1. Carlos Molina SR, 2. Tate Grover AF, 3. Davian Martinez SR, 4.
Chris Encinas MV
182: 1. Garrett Hyde BL, 2. Morgan Smith SR, 3. Julian Gallegos AF, 4.
Christian Nelson SR
195: 1. Porter Thomas SR, 2. Luke Sherburne AF, 3. Emil Abdumonapov
MV, 4. Josh Hammond BL
220: 1. Efrain Medel AF, 2. Mitch Lauridsen BL, 3. James Hanson of BL,
4. Gunner Bott SR
285: 1. Hayden Sutton SR, 2. Andrew Sancedo AF, 3. Bradyn Swanson AF,
4. Seth Hansen MV