NAMPA — There are two ways to enter a party.
One is by sneaking in the back door, kind of hanging back in the shadows in the hopes you go unnoticed.
Then there’s South Fremont’s way.
The Cougars broke down the door at the state tournament party this past weekend, blasting their brand of black-and-red fanfare all over the Ford Idaho Center floor on their way to a decisive team victory at the 3A state wrestling championships.
The Cougars scored 245.5 points to rout runner-up Snake River by 79.5, snapping a 35-year state championship drought.
The last time South Fremont won the state wrestling championship, Neil Hirschi was the coach, and current coach Jed Clark was four years old.
“There’s a lot of excitement in the school and in the community about people coming out and wanting to see this team. To see these matches,” Clark said. “Community support has been huge for us.”
Also huge is the influence of the Upper Valley Aces wrestling club, which has had a hand in significant success in programs throughout the Upper Valley, including Sugar-Salem, which entered Saturday as three-time defending 3A state champion.
“I’m a little biased, but I would say the Aces have the best youth program in the state,” Clark said. “For these boys to come into junior high wrestling at a level where they are competitive enough to medal at good tournaments is a huge advantage.”
South Fremont sent five wrestlers into the finals, getting titles from brothers Hunter Hobbs (132) and Sawyer Hobbs (195).
For Hunter, the state title was his first.
For Sawyer, it was his fourth — the 23rd time any wrestler in Idaho history has achieved such a feat.
“We’ve been working for this, and the Upper Valley Aces is a big part of this win,” Hobbs said. “We have great coaches, I have done what I can, and we have a lot of people stepping up to be part of this success.”
South Fremont also sent Ryker Simmons (98), Dillon Gneiting (103), and Beau Hackworth (138) to their respective championship finals.
Other South Fremont state medalists include David Green (98), Tuffy Briggs (126), Cesar Tavarez (152), Tristan Olson (160), River Eddins (160), Justin Angell (182) and Bryan Popocatl (285).
“They have that success early, feed off each other, and kids want to be a part of it,” Clark said.