Mountain Home places at state tournament
The Mountain Home Tigers finished third at the State 4A Wrestling Championships at Idaho State University in Pocatello over the weekend.
The Tigers, who had a record-setting 20 wrestlers qualify for the state tournament, had 10 of them place with two of them winning state titles.
Winning the 106-pound weight class was Tigers sophomore Pierce Mederios, who previously won the state's 98-pound weight class as a freshman last year. Mederios said the state championship had been his goal all season long.
"That's just been the goal since the first day of practice," he said. "You know you always want to work to improve, and I was going for two this year."
Mederios went undefeated last year as a freshman and finished 40-2 overall this year. His only losses were highly controversial decisions to an Oregon state champion from Vale, Ore. The teen said he used the losses to better himself.
"Those losses were tough, but you learn more from your losses than you do from winning," he said.
Meanwhile, Tanner Sessions won the 145-pound weight class. The Tiger finished his senior year 42-4. He was excited to cap off the high school career with a state title.
"I'm super excited about it, but its not me that won it out there; it's my team and coaches," Sessions said. "Mental toughness is something my coaches have stressed this year, and if it wasn't for that, I couldn't have pulled that off."
Third-place efforts went to Hunter McCluskey at 98 pounds, Tyler Heath at 132 and Jacob Ryan at 195 pounds. Heath and Ryan are seniors, and McCluskey is a sophomore.
Fourth-place efforts went to sophomore Kanoa Doronio at 113 pounds and senior Dallin Dearing at 220. Tigers' junior Jose Ortiz finished fifth at 285 pounds, and Seth Dolan and Taylor Ogaard both placed sixth. Dolan, a senior, battled in the 106-pound weigh class, and Ogaard, a junior, wrestled in the 182-pound class.
Mountain Home finished third in the 4A team standings. Out of the 20 4A teams competing at state, Caldwell ran away with the title, scoring 298.5 points. Kuna was second with 217.5 and Mountain Home finished third with 208. Lakeland was fourth with 190 points and Pocatello came in fifth with 150.
Other Tigers that competed at state that finished 2-2 were sophomore Dallas Mayhew, junior Jacob Lucas. freshman Tyler Hardin, freshman Tyler Hardin and junior Brad Keierleber. Those who went 1-2 at the event were sophomore Zach Slack, sophomore Jayden Sexton, senior Tyler McCall and sophomore Jonathan Kaiser.
Meanwhile, junior Andrew Thornburg finished 0-2 in the 145-pound weight class while junior Daniel Cruz went 0-2 in the 182-pound class.
Tigers head wrestling coach Lynn Knudson was pleased with the effort by his wrestlers.
"Coming into the state tournament with that many kids, it's pretty amazing," he said. "I think it puts Mountain Home on the map of tough wrestling, so it was very neat to see, and a lot of kids coming back that made it to state, and that's how you build a program, so we're looking forward to that.
"I can't say enough about our two champions that worked hard in the (weight) room all year long and always stepped up at all the tournaments and did an outstanding job, and we had eight that followed up with placing from third to sixth place," the coach added. "It's pretty amazing -- five of all the medals we received are (students) coming back to our program, so it's something else to build on, also."
During the event, Knudson received the coach of the year award from the 4A coaches at the tournament, which surprised him.
"That's pretty amazing," the coach said. "I wasn't expecting it. It was really neat and great for... the town of Mountain Home (and) the high school. I think it says a lot about our wrestling program."