Malad Dragons wrestling brings home 2A State Championship

Dragons also earn Academic State Champion trophy

The Malad High School wrestling team claimed the 2A Idaho State Wrestling Championship held Friday and Saturday, February 28 and March 1, in the Idaho  Center in Nampa.

The Dragons show off their 2A State Championship Banner and trophy. The team also brought home the Academic State Championship for 2A for the second year in a row. Pictured are  (front, left to right) Carson McClain, Manager Bree Moon, Manager Shelby Udy, Robert Wray, Drew Heyder, Dallin Ward, Tucker Hess, Manager Paige Peabody, Derek Checketts, Chet Potter, Rhett Daniels, (back) Coach Devin Morrison, Coach Allen Edwards, Manager Kelbie Edwards, Gabe Cobabe, Brooks Bowman, Cal Willie, Logan Atkinson, Dallin Atkinson, Coach Nathan Eliason, Jayden Moon, Eric Eliason, Brock Udy, Coach Eric Fanning, Spencer Ward, Hazen Smith, Austin Atkinson, Wyatt Martin, Coach Nathan Whipple. Not pictured are Chase Davis, Hayden Peterson, Tristen Chelette, Joel McDonald, Matt Quinn, Michael Gallegos, Alex Saunders and Hugo Ramos.

The Dragons show off their 2A State Championship Banner and trophy. The team also brought home the Academic State Championship for 2A for the second year in a row. Pictured are (front, left to right) Carson McClain, Manager Bree Moon, Manager Shelby Udy, Robert Wray, Drew Heyder, Dallin Ward, Tucker Hess, Manager Paige Peabody, Derek Checketts, Chet Potter, Rhett Daniels, (back) Coach Devin Morrison, Coach Allen Edwards, Manager Kelbie Edwards, Gabe Cobabe, Brooks Bowman, Cal Willie, Logan Atkinson, Dallin Atkinson, Coach Nathan Eliason, Jayden Moon, Eric Eliason, Brock Udy, Coach Eric Fanning, Spencer Ward, Hazen Smith, Austin Atkinson, Wyatt Martin, Coach Nathan Whipple. Not pictured are Chase Davis, Hayden Peterson, Tristen Chelette, Joel McDonald, Matt Quinn, Michael Gallegos, Alex Saunders and Hugo Ramos.

Malad earned 149 points to claim the big win. Firth finished second with 147 points. Challis claimed the third place trophy with 136 points.

Malad knew before they headed off to state that they had won the Academic State Championship for the second year in a row. This is based off the grades of each of the wrestlers compared with all the other teams in the state. It is a great accomplishment for a team to win it two years in a row.

Malad also went into the tournament tied for the most wrestlers competing with 15. It would take every one of those wrestlers and every win they could muster, along with every pin and major decision, to help them claim the State Championship. Malad and Firth went back and forth the entire weekend. It came down to the final match of the tournament.

Malad had two wrestlers finish with the second place medal. Drew Heyder at 106 pounds and Dallin Ward at 113 both fought their way to a second place finish. Both wrestlers are sophomores.

Malad had four wrestlers claim the fourth place medal. Hazen Smith at 98 pounds, Brock Udy, at 106 pounds, Derek Checketts at 132 pounds, and Eric Eliason at 152 pounds each finished in fourth place. Checketts and Eliason are junior wrestlers. Udy is a sophomore and Smith is a freshman.

Chet Potter claimed the fifth place medal at 98 pounds. He is a freshman this season.

A sixth place medal was presented to senior Carson McClain at 120 pounds.

It took all 15 wrestlers to earn this state championship for the Dragons.

Drew Heyder, at 106 pounds, started off with a bye. He then beat A. Pair, then defeated T.J. Stokes of West Side. He fell in the Championship round to L. Austin by major decision.

Dallin Ward, at 113 pounds, beat Matt Arellano with a 2:38 pin. He then beat Ty Eliason of West Jefferson with a 7 – 0 decision. He beat Matthew Barfuss with a 5 – 0 decision before falling in the Championship to K. Mora of Challis.

Hazen Smith started with a bye. He then pinned Britton Bedke of Oakley in just 19 seconds. He lost by pin to Radney Smith of Ririe in 4:24 and then defeated T.J. Speers of Declo by pin. He fell to Joshua D’Orazio of Challis in an 8 – 4 decision to win the fourth place medal.

Brody Udy, at 106 pounds, defeated Gage Mitchell from St. Maries by pin in 5:52. He lost to G. Anderson of Raft River by an 11 – 0 major decision. He then beat Mathew Mazaier of Declo by a 7 – 3 decision. He pinned Zack Matthew of Wendell and then beat T.J. Stokes of West Side by a 6 – 2 decision. He lost to Gary Anderson by a 10 – 1 major decision to earn 4th place.

Derek Checketts, at 132 pounds, pinned Zumwalt from Grangeville by a 1:15 minute pin. He then pined Austin Anderson of Aberdeen in 1:34. He lost to John Nunnelee of Declo, who eventually won second, by a 6 – 1 decision. He then beat C. Wallen of Potlatch by pin to advance to the third/fourth place match. He lost to Martindale of North Fremont by a 4 – 3 decision.

Eric Eliason, at 152 pounds, pinned Jordan Sharp of North Fremont. He then pinned Hunter McWilliams of Prairie in just two minutes. He then lost to T. Schwartz of Orofino by a close 3 – 2 decision. Schwartz finished in second. Eliason then beat L. Mitton of Oakley by a 14 – 5 major decision. He then lost in the third/fourth place to Z. Anderson of Ririe, again in a close 3 – 2 match.

Chet Potter, at 98 pounds, finished in fifth. He lost to Spencer Anderson of Raft River. He then had a bye. He beat Britton Bedke of Oakley by a 2:21 pin. He then lost to Joshua D’Orazio of Challis by a 16 – 3 decision. He then beat T.J. Speers of Declo by a 4 – 1 decision to get fifth place.

Carson McClain claimed the sixth place medal. He started off by pinning Cody Barrett of Marshing in 1:12. He then pinned Sebastian Salazar of Challis. He lost by a 14 – 1 decision against Rob Pair who went on to claim second place. He then lost to Calvin Korom of Oakley in a 13 – 11 decision. He fell to Sebastian Salazar by a 12 – 4 major decision.

Dallin Atkinson, at 113 pounds, lost in his first match to Bill Godfrey by technical fall. He then beat Kellie Hartman of Prairie by a pin. He then beat W. Wells of Oakley before falling to Ty Eliason of West Jefferson by a 13 – 0 major decision.

Calvin Willie, at 126 pounds, started off with a pin against Cody Edwards of St. Maries in 3:59. Willie was close to pinning T.J. Thacker of Ririe but fell in a 13 – 5 major decision. He rebounded and came back to beat Austin Street by a 6 – 0 decision. He was eliminated from the tournament when he lost to Cody Svedin with a 1:51 pin. Svedin went on to win fifth.

Logan Atkinson, at 120 pounds, lost by technical fall to Korom of Oakley. He then defeated J.Lauren by a 13 – 4 major decision before falling to Salazar, who went on to win fifth.

Tucker Hess, at 138 pounds, lost to Blaine Phillips in the first round. He then beat B. Miller of Potlatch by pin. He then lost to Norton of St. Maries by a 7 – 3 decision.

Gabe Cobabe, at 145 pounds, started off by beating Dominic Branze of Wallace 12 – 7. He then fell to C. Romero of North Fremont, who finished in fourth. He then fell to C. Roberts of Glenns Ferry by a 10 – 1 major decision.

At 195 pounds, Brooks Bowman fell to Anthony Benavidez with a 38 second pin. He then beat Wes Harris of New Plymouth by a 19 second pin. He was then pinned by R. Gomez of Raft River by a 1:30 minute pin.

Rhett Daniels, at 220 pounds, lost to Cody Burch, who finished in fourth place, by a 20 second pin. He then had a bye. He then lost to Kolby Amy of West Jefferson by a 41 second pin.

Malad was in charge of their destiny going into the championship round. They had two wrestlers competing and a 10-point lead over Firth. Firth had three wrestlers in the finals. Malad lost both of their championship matches to tough opponents, so Firth controlled the Dragon’s destiny. Firth won their Championship match at 145 pounds. Malad led by just six points. Firth lost at 160 by a 2 – 1 decision, which allowed Malad to hold their six-point lead. Then came the Brewerton/Riggs match. With Brewerton not pinning, Malad won the State Championship by just two points.

“It was really tough to sit there and watch, knowing that if Firth pinned in the last match, we would tie for the state championship because there is no tiebreaker at the state level,” said Coach Devin Morrison. “When the Firth kid won by decision, the stress was gone and the celebration began. The kids were so elated that their hard work paid off and they were able to celebrate with their friends, teammates, coaches, and parents. We had a great crowd and they stuck it out the entire weekend. It was highly stressful as we watched every match, knowing that Firth was in control of their own destiny and we couldn’t control ours. We lost some really tough matches but the kids fought hard and pushed through and I couldn’t be more proud. Every individual scored vital points for us, and it was a complete team effort. This year was exactly identical to our last championship in 2009 as we had no individual champions in either year.”

Morrison continued, “To my wrestlers, you are all so very special to the coaching staff. We love you guys. You deserve this title. You all gave me your all, and that is why you are champions. Wrestling takes hard work, dedication, and heart. And no team has ever given more than you 28 men. The coaches are so very proud of you. We hope wrestling has helped you to always strive for the impossible and never ever give up. Thanks again men for the memories!”

Morrison also expressed appreciation for his fellow coaches, the parents who supported the team, and his stats girls as well. He also thanked the community for their support for these boys.

Coaching the State Champs this season were the following: head coach, Devin Morrison; assistant coaches, Allen Edwards, Nate Eliason and Eric Fanning.