The Libby High School wrestling team had a disappointing weekend in Coeur d’Alene at the Tri-State Tournament Friday and Saturday, but still came away with some victories and lessons.
Libby Head Coach Kelly Morford said that the hardest part for some of the Loggers to take was knowing that they lost to opponents they had the ability to beat.
“Every single one of us dropped a match that we — maybe not should’ve won, but could’ve won if we wrestled our best,” Morford said.
Still, the Tri-State is a tough tournament, with capable competition, he said. “You’re not going to have any easy matches, and you’re going to have to be on top of your game to come out on top.”
Morford said that the Greenchain had some good moments, but also had moments when technique and effort slid by the wayside.
One lesson from the tournament that Morford wants to boys to take away is to not let big competitions intimidate them.
Even though half the team is experienced with high school level competition, they can still be vulnerable to being intimidated by a large tournament, he said.
“I think, being a high school kid, it’s hard to remember that you’re wrestling just other high school kids. So, even though Tri-State’s a tough tournament, they have to remember that they’re good wrestlers, and they work hard, and they’re ready for those situations,” he said.
“They just need to stay within their gameplan in those situations and do what they do, essentially,” Morford said.
Though none of the team placed in the tournament, sophomore Zach Morrison came within one match of placing, Morford said. Morrison wrestled some really tough matches to get there too.
“He was disappointed he didn’t place, but, regardless, he wrestled really tough, and he’s getting better every week,” Morford said.
Morford said that junior Trey Thompson also stood out this weekend.
“Trey’s really starting to understand what it takes to beat good opponents on a consistent basis,” Morford said. “He dropped a few that he probably wishes he hadn’t, but all-in-all, I thought he wrestled really tough this weekend and — just like the rest of the team — grew from the experience.”
Freshman Hunter Hoover faced a particularly challenging weekend in what was his first-ever Tri-State. Since the team had two wrestlers at 152, Morford asked Hunter to wrestle at 160 — two weight classes up.
Hoover didn’t even hesitate.
“He’s that type of kid. He’ll do whatever the coaches ask him to do,” Morford said. “And he’s not afraid of much, so, those are the type of kids you like to have on your team, for sure.”
Morford said he was proud of how Hoover competed over the weekend as well.
“I thought he looked solid going up against bigger opponents, and that was kind of his first high school tournament” Morford said. “It showed a lot of his character to be able to go out there and compete. I thought he looked solid, and he’s gonna have a good rest of the year.”
While the losses are frustrating, Morford said he wants the Loggers to just be looking forward from the tournament.
“They know if they could have or should have won a match, but all we can do is really learn from it going forward,” he said.
Dec. 14 and 15
120: Buddy Doolin (5-3) - Champ Round 1, bye; Champ Round 2, won by 4-3 dec. over Asher Kemppainen (Flathead); Champ Round 3, Conor Goucher (Orting)won by pin in 5:07 over Doolin; Consolation Round 4, Kase Mauger (Twin Falls) won in tie breaker (3-1) over Doolin
132: Zach Morrison (10-3) - Champ Round 1, bye; Champ Round 2 won by pin in 4:34 over Matthew Jorgensen (Deer Park); Champ Round 3 - Fin Nadeau (Flathead) won by 9-5 dec. over Morrison; Consolation Round 4, won by 8-1 dec. over Roberto Ramirez (Othello); Consolation Round 5 won by pin in 0:53 over Wyatt Springer (Lake Stevens); Consolation Round 6, Hunter Behnke (Orting) won by pin in 3:39 over Zach Morrison (Libby)
145: Trey Thompson (8-3) - Champ Round 1, bye; Champ Round 2, won by pin in 5:56 over Gabe Prather (Potlatch); Champ Round 3, Robby Vaughn (Chiawana) won by pin in 3:04 over Thompson; Consolation Round 4, won by 40-2 dec. over Ryan Nelson (Vashon Island); Consolation Round 5, Graham Rocha (Northwest Christian) won by 4-1 dec. over Thompson
152: Cody Crace (7-5) - Champ Round 1 - Gunner Giulio (Coeur d`Alene High School) 10-3 won by pin in 2:41 over Crace; Consolation Round 1, bye; Consolation Round 2, Jordon Rutschow (Vashon Island) won by 2-1 dec. over Crace
152: Tucker Masters (7-6) - Champ Round 1, Jordon Rutschow (Vashon Island) won by 8-3 dec. over Masters; Consolation Round 1, bye; Consolation Round 2, Thomas Perryman (Reardan) won by 7-4 dec. over Masters
160: Hunter Hoover (1-2) - Champ Round 1, won by pin in 5:23 over Gage Smith (Jenkins High School (Chewelah)); Champ Round 2 - Wayne Baker (Castle Rock) won by pin in 1:39 over Hoover;
Consolation Round 2, Mason Brock (Gonzaga Prep) won by 1-2 dec. over Hoover
182: Daniel Rigney (2-6) - Champ Round 1, Jake Davis (Ferris) won by pin in 1:19 over Rigney; Consolation Round 1, bye; Consolation Round 2, Ashton Thorne (Mead) won by pin in 1:09 over Rigney