SANDPOINT — Boasting a host of wins against returning state placers during the season, all six Bulldog wrestlers are hoping to make some noise at the state meet, which starts today at Holt Arena in Pocatello.
While the number of wrestlers is less than in past years, all six are capable of winning matches at state, led by Adam Weindl (170 pounds), Josh Travers (195), Tanner McNelly (113), Lewis Dunton (132), Jon McCormick (182) and Brent Buchmiller (126).
Sandpoint head coach Mike Randles believes Weindl, Dunton, Travers and McNelly, all seeded in the top half of their draws, are capable of earning a podium spot at state if they perform to their capability.
“On paper Weindl would appear to have the best chance to finish high as he comes in as the fifth seed at 170 pounds,” said Randles, who doesn’t take one senior to state this year.
Dunton’s weight class includes four returning state placers. The bracket is so loaded, a two-time defending state champion senior enters the tournament seeded second.
“When Lewis is competing at the level he is capable of competing at, as evidenced in defeating a pair of state placers this year, he could likely finish high as well,” said Randles of his improving junior. “He has inverted his record from a year ago, moving from 10-20 to 20-10.”
McNelly’s draw is also loaded, featuring five returning state placers — three of whom were finalists. If the sophomore wrestles with confidence, he has the wrestling chops to make his first appearance on the podium.
Travers’ weight class includes three returning placers, with the general feeling among coaches that places three through six are wide open, with Travers, ranked No. 7 in the state at 195 pounds, right in the mix.
McCormick and Buchmiller are both in their first year of high school wrestling. Despite this, both have defeated state placers earlier in the season and could present some danger despite their higher seeds.
The state wrestling tournament begins on Friday with all four classifications competing at Holt Arena in Pocatello. Championship matches are scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.