Ririe wrestling won its fifth consecutive state team title Feb. 23 at Holt Arena in Pocatello, outscoring second place finisher Declo 201-180.
Head Coach Chris Harris said leading up to the tournament, the team knew they would have to compete to the best of their abilities.
“We knew it was going to be pretty tough,” he said. “We knew we had to step up.”
Ririe finished the day with two individual champions that included Stetson Machen at 113 and Gabe Sommers at 195. Eight other wrestlers earned top-6 spots on the podium. The Bulldogs scored points in nine weight classes and had two wrestlers on the podium at 182 that included Trey Yearsley placing second and Chris Gunderson taking third.
Junior Tyson Thacker competed in the championship at 152, but lost 10-2 to North Fremont’s Riggen Cordingley. Other places included Connor Parkinson (third at 98), Garrett Jensen (fourth at 170), Tyler Urlich (fifth at 120) and Tanner Smith (fifth at 126).
Ririe is only the second team in Idaho, regardless of classification to win five straight wrestling state titles. Teton High School won six consecutive championships in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Harris said he personally believes what sets Ririe apart from the rest of the 2A schools is the wrestlers and coaches enjoy working together.
“It’s just natural for us,” he said. “We may not be the most talented team, but they give it everything they got.”
Harris indicated that they’re not doing anything out of the ordinary, but pointed out that the team competes nearly every weekend giving them more competitive experience than most schools. Harris said the team will be losing five wrestlers this offseason, all of which placed at state, but will be gaining four freshmen.
“We hope they can fill the shoes, but they’re pretty big shoes to fill,” he said.
Despite losing five wrestlers, Harris still expect the team to compete hard and continue to win.
“We want to win, we enjoy it so much,” he said. “We really want to break the record (six) and we have just as good a chance as anybody else.”
Since being hired as the head coach more than 20 years ago, Harris has seen the program continue to develop. Starting the program with only seven wrestlers, the program now consists of roughly 25 and now has three coaches and five state team titles.
“I have mixed emotions, the dedication level is pretty awesome, I am relieved it’s over, but look forward to next season,” Harris said. “The ride has been my fondest memory.”