Copley win

Sugar-Salem’s Kenneth Copley gets the advantage against Gooding’s Jake McGinnis in their 285-pound matchup during the Idaho State Wrestling Championships at Holt Arena in Pocatello.

There’s a new Goliath on the block, and he wrestles for Sugar-Salem High School.

Following three years of near complete domination at the hands of Gooding’s Jake McGinnis, Sugar-Salem junior Kenneth Copley slew the giant — pinning McGinnis in the 3A state championship heavyweight final Feb. 23 in Holt Arena.

McGinnis had never lost a state championship final, meaning all roads to 3A heavyweight gold since 2016 rolled through the Idaho State football commit.

Now that road belongs to Copley, as does the title 2018-19 Post Register All Area Heavyweight of the Year.

The win over McGinnis punctuated a 60-1 junior season for the happy-go-lucky kid everyone calls “Kenny.”

After blowing the roof off Skyline High School in January with a championship pin under the Tiger-Grizz spotlight, Copley set his sights on an undefeated season and state title.

All was rolling along according to plan until the haunts of McGinnis came to call in the championship match at the Sugar-Salem Digger Classic two weeks later.

Kenny lost that match 3-2 in a classic big man war of attrition, dashing his undefeated dreams.

But the bigger goal was still in play, as was the Gooding Goliath.

McGinnis had beaten Copley in each of their first four meetings, and had gotten the better of Copley in back-to-back state tournaments.

Yet Copley was not interested in the past. More than anything, he wanted to beat McGinnis in the state championship final.

Not someone else. McGinnis. The best of the best. Anything less would be bittersweet.

“I knew if I was ever going to get him, it had to be this year,” Copley said. “It had to. And I was going to get him.”

To the surprise of no one, Copley and McGinnis blasted their way through their sides of the state tournament bracket at the state tournament.

Pacing north and south along the championship mat pre-match, Copley remembered something Sugar-Salem English teacher Ryan Price had noticed at the Digger Classic.

“He said to watch his leg,” Kenny said. “He said that when he comes in, his leg comes up.”

Copley turned that tactical advice into a rare heavyweight cradle, getting that knee and near fall points during the second round. He then pinned Goliath in the third — again blowing off the roof, but this time at Holt Arena.

Now he is sitting atop his own personal mountain.

And how’s that view, Kenny “smile when you say that” Copley?

“Oh, man,” Kenny said, pausing. “The view is beautiful. Just beautiful.”

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