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Wrestling co-op’s ‘great year’ portends future strength

The Clearwater Valley-Kamiah wrestling co-op expects to return all but one of its members next year, coach Carlos Martinez told the Free Press March 5. Set to graduate is 152-pound state champion Carson Morrow.

“We’re looking for all six of the medalists to compete for medals again next year,” he said, “and at least three of those who qualified but didn’t medal this year can get to that level next year.”

That’s a future that would see the potential returning medalists — Ty Dominguez, Christian Fabbi, Davis McElroy, Lane Schilling, Bubba Summers, and Peyton Whipple — joined on the podium by Johnnie Raymond, Cedar Fischer, Mike MacMenamin and perhaps others.

“We had a great year,” Martinez told the Free Press.

Martinez said the state of the co-op’s feeder program is strong, with several eighth-graders coming up who have potential to make an impact early in their high school days.

Statewide, wrestling organizers have been talking about increasing participation by girls.

Martinez said there may not be girls joining the high school team from the co-op’s feeder system next year, but there may be some coming up farther in the future.

Last month, the Idaho Statesman reported the number of girls competing on high school teams jumped from a years-long trend in the teens to 41 two years ago. Citing the Idaho High School Activities Association, the Statesman reported 40 girls turned out for wrestling last year — and that the number jumped to 102 this year.

The Statesman noted seven girls qualified for the state tournament, tying last year’s record.

While the growing participation seen so far has fueled support for a girls-only state tournament from north Idaho wrestling coaches — and from some down south, Martinez told the Free Press — the IHSAA would have to see more, the Statesman reported.

“It’s always been a philosophy of our board you need to show growth first before we start adding things,” IHSAA executive director Ty Jones told the Statesman. “Because adding things costs money.”

“A girls wrestling division wouldn’t represent a new sport, but Jones declined to put a number on how many female wrestlers Idaho would need before adding a separate tournament,” Statesman reporter Michael Lycklama summarized. “Jones said too many questions remain unanswered, including how many wrestlers the state would need to support such a meet, how many classifications it would use, how many in each weight class would advance to state and how many weight classes would be needed.”

Wrestling season hadn’t ended for at least one local girl.

Last weekend, Brittney Benavidez of Grangeville placed first in the Greco division 140-pound weight class at the Washington State Wrestling Association’s Columbia Cup, which was held March 4 in Richland.


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