Grangeville's Shaydn Wassmuth (195) and Kamiah's Zach Wilkins (152) both reached their respective finals with unbeaten runs last Friday night and Saturday morning at the 2A state wrestling tournament.
Wassmuth, matched against North Fremont's Zak Clark, scored first and led the 195-pound title match 4-0 early in the second period but finished in second place when Clark charged back to win by a 6-4 decision.
“In all reality, Shaydn was in control, but just missed points,” GHS coach Tyler Bransford said. “He handled the earlier matches pretty easily. The last one was a heartbreaker.”
Clark, a senior, brought to the match the benefit of having reached the 2013 final, in which he was beaten by Grangeville’s Phillip Walters.
“This time he wrestled more composed,” Bransford said. “Last time, when Clark got behind, he went for some throws and just fell farther behind.”
This time, Clark kept the score close and scored at the last second. Clark grabbed Wassmuth by the right leg early in the match, but Wassmuth countered well enough to put himself in the better position, taking the first points. Clark tied it, 4-4, early in the third period and won with a takedown out of a neutral restart with about five seconds left in the third.
Only two other Grangeville wrestlers won a state tournament match, Bransford said. That was Jon Asker, who pinned New Plymouth’s Wes Harris in the first round of heavyweight matches. Asker was pinned by Declo’s Bryson Robinson during the quarterfinals and eliminated from the consolation bracket with a pin by Grace’s Justin Partain.
Frankie Zumwalt won a consolation match before bowing out Friday evening against Prairie’s Dally Ratcliff, who went on to place fifth at 132 pounds.
For Grangeville, Braden Nopens, Ammon Dewey, Blake Courtney, Damon Nuttman, Camron Killmar and Ben Roll were also knocked out on the first day.
Wassmuth, a junior, will head a sizable group of returning Bulldogs next year; Nuttman and Roll are set to graduate.
For Kamiah and Clearwater Valley, who wrestled as a joint team under coach Carlos Martinez for much of the season, the tournament went well. Scored separately at state — as Idaho High School Activities Association rules require — the Rams (44 points) and Kubs (27) fared well in team scoring.
“We haven’t scored that many team points in years,” Martinez said. “Combined, that would have been a top-10 team score.”
Oakley's Levi Mitton held off Kamiah's Zach Wilkins by 10-7 decision in the 152-pound championship match.
“He had a tough match and fought his way back, but it’s one of those where there wasn’t enough time in the end,” Martinez said.
Mitton took an early lead and came up with a counter for each of Wilkins' breaks.
Trailing 4-0, Wilkins closed the gap to 4-2 with a reversal, but trailed 8-3 after the first period. Wilkins closed within 8-6 during the third period, but Mitton worked his way to a reversal that restored his lead with 30 seconds remaining. Wilkins escaped and tried to line up one last shot, but Mitton held him off in the end.
Clearwater Valley's Tyler Morrow made a late escape from Oakley's Kyle Mitton to claim third place at 182 pounds. Morrow overcame an early takedown to tie the match, 5-5, starting the third period. He rolled through Mitton's attempts, but could not break his grasp until the last seconds, when he escaped to score the winning point of a 6-5 decision.
The highlight of Morrow’s tournament was a stunning comeback, during which Morrow wiped out most of a 7-1 deficit to West Jefferson's Keith Shackelford in the 182 consolation bracket with an arm throw known as a “flying mare.”
“Tyler executed it perfectly and was going straight to a pin when the referee heard the other guy cry out in pain and stopped it,” Martinez said.
Shackelford sustained a shoulder injury and was unable to continue, but Martinez said Morrow likely would have won anyway, had the match gone on. “Tyler got points for the throw and the near fall, so he would only have been one point down, and he was in good position to pin him right there.”
In the heavyweight match for fifth place, CV's Dawson Fisher was pinned quickly by West Jefferson's Gabe Pancheri. Fischer, a sophomore who weighs about 200 pounds according to Martinez, acquitted himself well.
Kamiah’s Ian Anderson wrestled at 170, but Martinez said Anderson had competed at 160 most of the year and could have medaled “if we’d have left him at that weight.”
CV freshman Carson Morrow survived Friday’s eliminations, but was knocked out early on Saturday.
KC Summers, Trey Dominguez, Taylor Roy and Sean Nelson were all eliminated on Friday.
Prairie's Dally Ratcliff placed fifth at 132 with a comeback win over West Jefferson's Samuel Belnap. Belnap took a 5-2 lead during the second period, but Ratcliff finished off his high school career with six straight points.
Kellie Heitman went 2-2 for the tournament and did not medal, but accomplished something rare. Both her wins were by pin.
“To my knowledge she is the first female ever from our district and now one of the few in the state to have ever won matches in the state tournament,” PHS coach Pat McWilliams said. “The look on her face should say it all.”
The Idaho Statesman’s Rachel Roberts noted five girls competed at this year’s tournament; only Heitman advanced to the second day.
Prairie’s Jace Perrin was eliminated, two-and-out, on Friday.