Mountain Home wrestlers place at state tourney
Two of Mountain Home High School's six wrestlers competing at state level went on to place in their respective divisions during last week's event.
Held at Holt Arena in Pocatello, the Tigers finished 20th in the team standings during the 4A State Wrestling Tournament with four of the six competitors winning matches.
Ryan Goldsby won his first three matches, including a 7-5 decision over number-one seed Jordan Nolan of Kuna in the semi-finals. He went on to face second seed Alex Dela Rosa of Nampa in the championship final of the 145-pound weight class.
The Tiger senior went in seeded fourth and led Dela Rosa, 5-4, early in the final round. However, the Nampa wrestler got a two-point reversal and three near-fall points to win the match, 9-5.
"He got me there at the end, and I couldn't really do anything there," Goldsby said after the match.
Mountain Home Tiger wrestling coach Lynn Knudson was pleased with his effort.
"For the whole tournament, (Goldsby) was really focused, and even during the championship match he was really focused," the coach said. "He let up a couple takedowns that shouldn't have happened, but he wrestled well during the whole tournament and ended up beating the number-one seed... so (it was) an excellent effort by Ryan. He was seeded fourth, so to come out second, that's big for Ryan."
Goldsby finished the season at 35-10 overall.
Meanwhile, Aerial Groene made history in the 106-pound weight class. The Mountain Home junior opened against the number two seed Justin Holman of Bonneville and lost by fall in the second round.
Upset about getting pinned, Groene won her first consolation match by pinning Jared Evans of Blackfoot in the third round. She went on to beat Gaige Kepner of Canyon Ridge, 4-2, in overtime followed by a win against Anthony Baca from Pocatello, 8-4.
Those wins put Groene in the consolation semi-finals, which meant she would earn a medal and become the first female to ever earn one during in the history of the state wrestling tournament.
She started off with a 4-1 decision over Chad Green of Madison on Saturday, moving her up to face Peter Gregory from Preston in the third place match. She ended up dropping a 2-1 decision to finish fourth.
"It feels great," said Groene regarding her history making performance. "I'd wrestled that kid before, and he's pretty tough. I had a pretty good chance of beating him, but even though he still won, I did come back and do pretty good. So I'm happy about it."
A junior this year, Groene expects to wrestle again next year. She's already setting her sights on returning to state "and finish higher than fourth next year."
She ended the season with a 19-16 overall record.
Coach Knudson was extremely pleased with Groene's effort at state.
"She came out with that fire and the focus on her face just kind of told us what she was going to do," the coach said. "She went into the tournament expecting to place, and she did that. It was a great fourth-place effort by Aerial, and being the first state-placer as a girl ever, that's kind of big for Mountain Home... an outstanding effort."
In other results, Tanner Sessions went 1-2 at state in the 132-pound competition. The Tiger freshman lost a 5-2 decision in his opener against Ivan Lopez of Columbia. He went on to win an 11-2 major decision over Hestin Greene of Preston before he went out of the tournament following a 8-6 loss by decision to Will Putnam of Lakeland. Tanner finished the season at 19-17 overall.
Meanwhile, Jeff Checketts went 1-2 at state in the 182-pound weight class. The junior lost his opening round match to Igntius Bisharat of Century, 9-3, but came back to pin Garrett Pirtle of Twin Falls in the second round. He then lost by pin in the second round to Daniel Quiroz of Bonneville to be eliminated from the tournament. Checketts finished 13-19 overall.
Jon Ryan went out of the tournament in two matches. The senior lost his first match to Jordan Crist of Twin Falls in the first round then lost a 14-6 decision to Arthur Hammer of Century in the consolation bracket. Ryan finished 22-18 overall.
Josh Saporta went out of the tournament in two matches in the 106-pound class. The junior lost to Gaige Kepner of Canyon Ridge by pin in the second round in his opener and lost by pin in the second round to Markel Page of Twin Falls in the consolation bracket. Saporta went 2-4 on the season in varsity competition.
Looking back, Coach Knudson was pleased with the efforts of his six wrestlers at the state tourney.
"We had two placers out of the six we brought with two kids that were two matches away from placing, so it was a good effort," he said. "We were in there and had some good matches and saw some great things happening with our team that was here. So I'm excited about it, and hopefully we can build off of these coming back that were here this year -- three juniors and a freshman. They'll be the leaders of our team next year, so we've got a starting point."