Wrestling season began last week, and local wrestling teams are putting their skills to the test on the mat.
Five-time state champions Ririe have their eyes on a sixth championship.
“We’re trying to set the record for most consecutive state championships,” Head Coach Chris Harris said.
Harris said they have high hopes for this season, with numerous returning players, including returning state champions Stetson Machen and Gabe Sommers. Harris said a primary challenge this season will be complacency.
“It’s all a new playing field every year,” he said. “You can’t think that just because you’ve won something in the past, someone’s going to give you a trophy.”
The team had its first meet Dec. 6 and is scheduled for competitions at 5 tonight in Teton and 3 p.m. Friday in Arimo, Idaho.
West Jefferson is going into the season with a new head coach and newer team this year. After long-time wrestling coach Mark Sawicki retired after the 2017-2018 school year, the team had another coach for the 2018-2019 year before that coach resigned. This fall, Triston Rogers took over.
Rogers said he is not the only newcomer, and he said more students than usual joined the team this year. He said a few of the wrestlers are experienced, but said most are younger and new to the sport. Clark County wrestlers Manny Hernandez and Bubba Summers will also join the team this season.
“It should be a learning experience for the boys, and for myself as well,” Rogers said. “I’m excited for the season, it will be a fun season.”
West Jefferson had its first tournament at North Fremont Dec. 6 and 7. The next tournament will be 3 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday at Marsh Valley.
Tony McCarty, Rigby wrestling coach, is also brand new to the team, though he said he has about two decades’ worth of experience coaching wrestling. He said he took over the program days before the beginning of the season shortly after the resignation of Head Coach Jacob Eck.
McCarty said he thinks the wrestlers are hard workers and will perform well. He said something that might drag the team down in dual meets is not having all weight classes filled, which would cause the team to lose points.
“We’re recruiting, trying to fill those spots, but we just haven’t filled them yet,” he said.
He said he thinks the team will be competitive in spite of the open weights, and it will not affect other types of competitions. He said the goal is to improve the effort Rigby has put in at the state tournament in prior years.
“Our outlook is very positive and we are looking to build a strong wrestling organization in Rigby,” McCarty said.
The team had its first meet Dec. 4 and will attend a tournament scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Jerome.