If wrestling coaches wanted to see how their teams stack up against area competition, this weekend’s 25th annual High Country Conference Tournament at Bonneville High was the place to be.
Teams ranging from 5A Madison and Rigby, to the host Bees, to 3A state champion Sugar-Salem and 2A champs Ririe competed in nine rounds of duals on Friday and Saturday. The tournament is usually a good early-season test of attrition for teams and individuals.
When it was all said and done on Saturday afternoon, Sugar-Salem was the lone unbeaten team, finishing 9-0 to earn 503 points. South Fremont finished 8-1, but tallied 548 points to lead all teams in the 18-team field.
Twenty-eight wrestlers finished the grueling two-day event unbeaten, including reigning Post Register wrestler of the year and three-time state champion Sawyer Hobbs from South Fremont.
Hobbs won the 3A 182-pound state title last season and had a perfect tournament at 195 this weekend.
Hobbs had his most contested match in Round 5 when he faced Bonneville’s Matthew Boone, returning 4A state champion at 195.
“I should be wrestling better for sure,” said Hobbs, who defeated Boone 8-6, but said he needs to work on his footwork.
Idaho Falls finished 1-8 in duals, but junior 182-pounder Jovon Howe finished unbeaten in the tournament.
“I have a couple of things to overcome, specifically third-round wrestling, but other than that I feel good,” said Howe, whose three losses this season have come against out-of-state competition.
Howe said he lost twice at last year’s High Country Conference meet, but is ready to challenge for a run to the state tournament this season. Finishing unbeaten over the two days provided a good boost, he said.
The next big local wrestling tournament will be the Tiger-Grizz meet on Jan. 17-18.
High Country Conference Tournament
98: Grayson Williams (American Falls), David Green (South Fremont). 106: Alejandro Avila (Caldwell). 113: Colton Stacey (Shelley).120: Cameron Paulson (Skyline). 126: Jack Clark (Mountain Home), Noah Ingram (Madison), Ryker Anderson (Century). 132: Hunter Hobbs (South Fremont). 138: Beau Hackworth (South Fremont). 145: James Fullmer (Teton), Kyle Richardson (Snake River). 152: Angel Rios (Columbia), Dalton Lerwill (Teton), Tate Benson (Snake River). 160: Taylor Balmforth (Shelley), Easton Millward (Century). 170: Tristan Olson (South Fremont). 182: Nick Chapel (Blackfoot), Jovon Howe (Idaho Falls). 195: Sawyer Hobbs (South Fremont). 220: Nico Rodriguez (Columbia), Kyler Dalling (South Fremont), Wyatt Kearns (American Falls). 285: Austin Hensley (Columbia), Kenneth Copley (Sugar-Salem), Nicholas Gunderson (Ririe), Ty Belnap (Snake River).
South Fremont (8-1) 548, American Falls (7-2) 509, Sugar-Salem (9-0) 503, Snake River (7-2) 499, Ririe (7-2) 495, Century (8-1) 461, Caldwell (7-2) 416, Blackfoot (7-2) 404, Columbia (7-2) 392, Teton (6-3) 375, Bonneville (2-7) 309, Idaho Falls (1-8) 272, Madison (1-8) 258, Mountain Home ((1-8) 248, Shelley (0-9) 224, Pocatello (3-6) 220, Skyline (0-9) 168, Rigby (0-9) 148.