Ririe win

Ririe wrestlers, coaches and supporters celebrate their 2A state championship Saturday at Holt Arena. Ririe is one of two teams in Idaho regardless of classification to ever win five consecutive wrestling state titles.

POCATELLO — Ririe High School may need to add another trophy case just for its wrestling program.

The Bulldogs won their fifth consecutive state team title on Saturday at Holt Arena, outscoring runner-up Declo 201-180 for the 2A crown.

Ririe held a comfortable lead heading into Saturday’s action and finished the day with two individual champions – Stetson Machen at 113 and Gabe Sommers at 195 – but also racked up points with eight other wrestlers earning top-6 spots on the podium.

Ririe is in rarefied company with the victory, becoming the second team in Idaho regardless of classification to win five consecutive wrestling state titles. Teton won six consecutive championships under Alvin Dalley from 1968 to 1973 in what was then known as Class B. There were only two classifications then, A and B.

“This amazes me every time,” Bulldogs coach Chris Harris said.

“We’re not really glitz and glamour,” he added. “It’s all about everybody doing their job.”

Machen, a junior 113-pounder, picked up the team’s first title of the day with a 9-5 victory over Troy Bruce of Salmon. Bruce closed within 7-5 in the third period, but Machen sealed the win with a takedown.

“I tried wrestling my guts out,” said Machen, who took a 6-0 lead early on.

As for the team’s success, Machen credited camaraderie.

“We’re really close to each other,” he said.

The Bulldogs scored points in nine weight classes and had two wrestlers on the podium at 182, with Trey Yearsley placing second and Chris Gunderson taking third.

Junior Tyson Thacker reached the championship match at 152, but lost 10-2 to North Fremont’s Riggen Cordingley, who capped a perfect season with a 63-0 record.

Other Ririe placers included Connor Parkinson (third at 98) and Garrett Jensen (fourth at 170). Tyler Ulrich (120) and Tanner Smith (126) each placed fifth in their respective weight classes.

Harris said the bar is set high for incoming wrestlers and everyone involved in the Bulldog program knows the expectations for a successful season and championship run.

“As far as the program goes, it’s the dedication of these kids,” he said before Saturday’s trophy presentation. “The biggest thing is we enjoy being around each other … they are really close.”

“Our teammates pull for each other when there’s nothing left in the tank,” added Sommers. “The coaches believe in us.”

Allan Steele is the sports editor for the Post Register. Contact him at 542-6772 and follow him on Twitter: @asteele12000

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