POCATELLO — Following the final consolation round Saturday, Sugar-Salem head wrestling coach Keven Glider found Snake River head wrestling coach Jeff Gardner for a championship chat.
Glider’s Diggers held a narrow 7.5-point lead on Gardner’s Panthers at that point in Saturday’s state wrestling championships — but Gardner’s Panthers had perhaps a bigger advantage.
“They had five and we had three (in the finals), and we were pretty sure they had two kids in (Destin) Summers and Sway (Cook) who were going to get titles,” Glider said. “I told him, ‘I don’t think we have enough.’”
As it turned out, Glider’s boys in blue had enough and a little extra — slipping away from the Panthers to score a 3A-best 205 points to take their third-consecutive state title by 13.5.
Although Snake River had five title bouts to Sugar’s three, two of those bouts were head-to-head fights — both won by Sugar.
Sugar-Salem senior Jonathan Marin scored a clutch 2-1 victory over Snake junior Gus Carter at 106, and Sugar senior Caleb Norman blanked Snake sophomore Kyle Richardson 4-0 at 132.
Though Snake River did indeed get wins from Summers and Cook as foretold, Sugar made it 3-for-3 in the championship round when heavyweight Kenneth Copley pinned Gooding senior Jake McGinnis in the final bout of the night.
“Those boys wrestled their hearts out today,” Glider said. “I got the boys in a room last night and challenged them to do what needed to be done, and we had the tools to do it in the end.”
In addition to their three individual golds and blue championship trophy, the Diggers added six additional individual medalists to the state hardware haul.
Not to be overlooked, Glider said, was the fact the Diggers also defended their state 3A academic championship, giving them five state titles over three years, by his count.
“It shows we have not just good athletes, but student athletes as well,” he said.
Glider becomes the first coach in Sugar-Salem school history to guide his team to three-straight state titles since John Berry whose Diggers got the three-peat from 1991-1993, and won back-to-back titles on two other occasions.
South Fremont crowned a pair of individual champions in Tristan Olson (160) and Sawyer Hobbs (182) to finish fourth with 178 points. Teton rounded out the District 6 schools in 3A, finishing 13th with 81.