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Idaho grapplers in search of gold at state tournament

Feb. 22—There will be 41 area grapplers competing at the Idaho state wrestling tournament at the ICCU Arena in Pocatello on Friday.

The two-day event features the crème de la crème of what the Gem State has to offer on the mat, and the storylines are aplenty.

Here's a breakdown of what to expect at the end-of-year tourney:

Hvass looks to cap a stellar career, Slyter a stellar season

Lewiston senior Hoyt Hvass (132 pounds) has been a mainstay in the Bengals' lineup his entire four-year tenure donning the purple and gold, and he'll attempt to end his career with a third Idaho Class 5A state title.

"He's the guy to beat," Lewiston coach Colton Maddy said. "I feel like you can put him anywhere in the bracket, and he's winning the tournament. He has the target on his back, and if he does what he does, he'll end up with a third state title."

Hvass (52-4) needs two more falls to reach 100 for his career, and if he pins his way to a title, he'll tie the school record set by Bryce Parson in 2012, who is a two-time state champion in his own right.

The 132-pounder joined Joely Slyter (girls 114) and King David Rhodes as fellow first-place finishers at Districts on Saturday at Post Falls High School.

Slyter, like Hvass, has an opportunity to add another state title to her resume as she won the event last year for the first time in her career.

The junior placed first at every tournament she competed in this season and has notable gold-medal finishes at Rollie Lane, the North Idaho Rumble and the Jaybird Memorial.

"I expect the same thing she always gives us," Maddy said. "She'll run through the tournament and hardly break a sweat and win a second title."

David Rhodes (19-9) is an undersized heavyweight, being about 40 pounds shy of the 285 limit for the weight class.

However, what he lacks in size, he makes up for in "mobility and creativity," and he won the last two events he competed in.

"He's super fun to watch," Maddy said. "He's really starting to come to form these last two weeks and is starting to put things together on offense and is being stingy on defense."

Greene, Zimmerman district champ for Moscow, Schwecke for Kendrick

James Greene (170) was the lone Moscow boys grappler to claim a district title last Friday at Sandpoint High School. But the Bears got another berth by proxy the following day through Kendrick freshman Eian Schwecke (113).

Due to the Tigers not having a high school grappling program, the two teams did a collective co-op through the regular season.

Schwecke (31-12) claimed a district title and will be the No. 3 seed at the Idaho Class 2A state tournament with a 31-12 overall record.

"He's always willing to work and is super coachable," Moscow coach Zac Carscallen said. "He's a great kid, and I'm super excited for him."

Greene, a junior, spent time in the offseason improving his craft at national-level tournaments such as Fargo.

"That showed him the bigger pond, so to speak," Carscallen said. "Seeing that helped him out in the offseason, and I think he's been pretty driven all year, and he has a chance to contend for that top spot as much as anybody."

Kiera Zimmerman (126) claimed a district title and has dealt with a plethora of adversity and injuries this season. But when healthy, she's been consistent, notching first-place finishes at Districts and the North Idaho Rumble.

Zimmerman (16-3) is the tourney's No. 3 seed and faces Scarlett White of Hillcrest (Ammon, Idaho) to open.

Whipple, Myers looks to deliver on goal

Clearwater Valley's Porter Whipple (220) and Bass Myers (195) drill with each other every day and have a goal of becoming state champions.

The opportunity to make that goal a reality is almost here.

The pair of seniors both had a stellar regular season and notched gold-medal finishes at Districts.

However, the Idaho Class 2A state tournament will be the toughest they've competed in this season.

Myers is the No. 1 seed at 195. But a familiar foe, Trey Gibson of St. Maries, is on the same side of the bracket.

Whipple is No. 3 at 220 and faces Julian Urias of Valley (Hazelton, Idaho) to kick things off.

"It's going to take some effort to get to the finals," Clearwater Valley wrestling coach Carlos Martinez said. "But both guys are just extremely focused on working hard to earn that state title."

Quick hits

Nezperce's Kaden Schaff, who wrestles for Grangeville through a collective co-op, is the No. 1 seed at 106 in the 2A classification.

Lapwai, which is a program that returned to the mat last season following a three-decade-long hiatus, will be represented by Leland Whitefoot (195) and Mathias Fox (285) at State.

Clearwater Valley junior Estuardo Puderbaugh (145) was one match shy of placing at State last year, falling to Potlatch's Avery Palmer 8-6 in the waning seconds.

That has become the motivation for Puderbaugh.

"He came back this year to just do the best he could and learn as much as he could," Martinez said. "He's one of the hardest-working guys in the room. He doesn't talk a whole lot, but he shows up and goes to work."

Clearwater Valley freshman Peter Fabbi is the No. 2 seed at 98, and if he "wrestles solid, he should have a chance to be in the finals," according to Martinez.

Potlatch's Shelby Prather is the No. 4 seed in the girls' 126 weight class and has first-place finishes at the Jaybird Memorial and Clearwater Classic.

Prather's teammate, Hayley McNeal, is the No. 3 seed at the girls' 152 weight class with a 27-6 overall record.

Lewiston's Cole Lockart (170) has missed a couple of tournaments due to illness. But when he's been available, he's been consistent.

"He's been a monster for us all year long," Maddy said. "He's going to have a couple of tough matches in front of him, but he's been a bit underrated in the rankings, and guys might overlook him a bit."

Junior Emma Rivera (girls 185) won a district title for the Bengals and is considered by Maddy to be a "dark horse."

"She wrestles with some attitude," Maddy said. "She has some aggression and toughness that goes a long way. She would love to wrestle for Iowa one day, and I told her if she wanted to do that, you got to be one tough, mean wrestler. She took that Iowa style to heart, and she goes out to be mean and puts people on their backs."

Area state participants

Lewiston individuals

113 — Brody Lynch

126 — Coen Roberts

132 — Hoyt Hvass; Jase Hendren

138 — Gunnar Whitlock

145 — Mason Faling

170 — Cole Lockart

182 — Brice Cuthbert

285 — King David Rhodes; James Gibbs

Girls 114 — Joely Slyter

Girls 138 — Kamryn Lockart

Girls 185 — Emma Rivera

Moscow/Kendrick individuals

113 — Eian Schwecke (Kendrick)

132 — Jason Swam

145 — Aidan Prakash

170 — James Greene

220 — Paul Dixon

Girls 126 — Keira Zimmerman

Clearwater Valley/Kamiah individuals

98 — Peter Fabbi

106 — Beau Wilkins

120 — Liam Walle

132 — Tanner Labrum

138 — Conner Christensen

145 — Estuardo Puderbaugh

152 — Jacob Fabbi

195 — Bass Myers

220 — Porter Whipple

Girls 138 — Megan Myers

Grangeville/Nezperce individuals

106 — 1. Kaden Schaff

160 — 3. Lucas Wren

182 — 1. Parker Farmer

Lapwai individuals

195 — Leland Whitefoot

285 — Mathias Fox

Orofino individuals

138 — Hunter Gamble

Potlatch individuals

132 — Magnus Bryngelson

145 — William Yearout

152 — Carson Yearout

195 — Jonah Berger

Girls 126 — Shelby Prather

Girls 152 — Hayley McNeal

Pixley may be contacted at tpixley@lmtribune.com, (208) 848-2268 or on Twitter @TreebTalks.