POCATELLO — Bingham County wrestlers had 15 chances at individual state titles entering Saturday's portion of the 2013 State Wrestling Championships. By days end, three stood above the rest as Treyton Nilsson, Jacob Frost and Luke Madsen each won state titles in their respective weight classes.
Nilsson started the finals action off with a bang as he took on Bubba Boots of South Fremont in a rematch of the Tiger-Grizz final a little more than a month previous.
At the Tiger-Grizz Nilsson built a big lead only to fall late in the third round. On Saturday, Nilsson reversed that with a thrilling 4-2 win.
"I was trying not to go as hard as I possibly could in the first round this time, instead I was trying to even it out because I'm not too good on my stamina," Nilsson said. "It was great, you can't really describe the feeling of winning."
Nilsson led 2-0 heading into the third round but Boots picked up a reversal to tie the match at 2-2. With time ticking away Nilsson took a quick glance at the clock and then made a mighty move in an effort for an escape. That turned into a reversal for two points and as the clock hit zero, the sophomore thrust his hands in the air in celebration of his second straight state title.
"It's really hard to win a state title," Nilsson said. "I just figured that I had to go hard on the last couple of seconds."
The mat had barely been cleared when fellow Panther Jacob Frost pinned Chris Beltran of Weiser. With the win the soft spoken Frost improved his 2013 record to 46-6 and with it a 3A state championship at 106.
"It means a lot to win with a pin because pins are really hard to get," Frost said. "I got him onto his back and I was just trying to hang on. I've tried to work hard over the years and I guess that it all paid off for me tonight."
The Panthers had grapplers in each of the next two finals matches but in the end, Skylerr Valentine and Kaden Bench came up just short of their ultimate goal as each of them fell to former state champions in the finals.
"On the whole we had a really good day today but putting four in the finals and coming away with two wins is not an easy thing to do," Snake River head coach Jeff Gardner said. "I'm just really happy with their performance. Kaden went from sixth place to second this year and Skylerr, the kid that he faced from Homedale was legit. He was very hard to score on so hats off to him. You can't win them all and Skylerr wins with grace and he lost with that same grace."
Shelley's Chase Call took to the mats at 138, wrestling a fellow two time state champion and for the longest time it looked as if the match was going to be a stalemate as neither wrestler were able to score after the first two periods. Bonner Ferry's Blaine Invernon was able to get an escape in the third round and then tacked on take down points to relegate Call to second.
Rounding out the Bingham County grapplers in the finals was Firth's Luke Madsen. Madsen was squaring off with fellow 2A Nuclear Conference foe Kaleb Orchard of Ririe and in a match that went right down to the bitter end it was Madsen who emerged triumphant with a 3-2 decision. In garnering the state championship at 195 Madsen knocked off both the first and second seeded wrestlers.
Team results for the two day championship tournament were mixed as Blackfoot took home fifth place honors in the 4A classification.
To garner that finish Blackfoot medaled 8 of their 13 state qualifiers. Leading the charge was freshman Tucker Leavitt and his third place finish at 145 pounds.
"We had a roller coaster of a day today. We started out with four wrestlers on top and we lost all four matches in very, very tight matches," Blackfoot head coach Thain Cashmore said. "The kids who came from the bottom side really did their jobs though. To come back through and battle all the way into the medals was great to see. My hat's off to Tucker Leavitt to place third as a freshman is quite and accomplishment and Littlejohn taking fourth, my hat's off to him he did a fantastic job of battling back through. My seniors, they all gave a 110% and I'm proud of them."
Jonathan Littlejohn (285) battled his way back through the consolation bracket for a fourth place finish while Kohl Bingham (113), Tate Hansen (132), Ruben Pulido (152), Connor Henderson (160) and Bryant Sargent (170) each picked up fifth place medals for their efforts over the weekend.
Rounding out the medal haul for the Broncos was Lane Hunt and his sixth place finish at 106.
In the 3A classification Snake River brought home the third place trophy as they medaled 6 of their 20 state qualifiers.
"Sometimes you come into the state tournament with a really good team and you leave with nothing," Coach Gardner said. "Our kids had a rough first day but I thought that they came out today and really bounced back. We feel good bringing home a third place trophy. I'm pretty proud of them."
In addition to the Nilsson and Frost championships and the Valentine and Bench runner up finishes the Panthers also got a fifth place finish from Wyatt Vogler at 138 and a sixth place effort from Cutler Howell at 152.
The Shelley Russets finished nineteenth in the final team standings with Takoda Bingham joining Chase Call on the medal podium as he captured a sixth place medal for his two day efforts at 126 pounds.
In the 2A ranks Firth turned in a top ten performance as they finished in sixth place with 95.5 points. Aiding in the Cougar cause was Layton Wasia (132) and Conner Montgomery (160) who each finished with third place medals. Matt Lindberg added a fourth place finish for the Cougars to go along with their individual state champion.