KELLOGG — Despite the River City Duals looming later in the week, Sandpoint wrestling cruised to a 63-22 win over host Kellogg on Wednesday night.
“It was a fun dual, and really fun to be a part of,” Sandpoint wrestling head coach Jake Stark said. “Guys had fun, coaches had fun, and it was a good warm-up going into River City Duals this weekend.”
The Bulldogs would have to fare without Zac Kohal and Tanner Dickson — the latter of whom was coming off placing at the Pacific Northwest Classic this past weekend — but Stark commended the efforts of Jordan Birkheimer, Heather Wallace and K.J. Johansen for stepping in.
“Our two girls [Wallace and Johansen] fought really hard and they didn’t give up pins.” Stark said.
The intensity ramped up as the match progressed, and the Bulldogs were able to gain momentum after senior Casey Olesen won his match with a tech fall in 3:20. The Bulldogs would then rattle off three straight wins by tech falls, thanks to the efforts of Blake Sherrill, Malachi Fleck and Brady Nelson. Sophomore Isaac Webb’s back-and-forth, 6-3 win over Kellogg’s Brody Hoffman helped as well.
Since Kellogg didn’t have enough wrestlers to compete with Sandpoint, St. Maries offered up the services of their 220-lb. freshman Kyle Sibert to square off against Tag Benefield later in the heavyweights. Sibert hung around by escaping to the edge of the mat, but Benefield took control in the second and third rounds.
“Tag had him the whole time,” Stark said. “[Sibert] showed some fight, but Tag didn’t let him through the door and he did what he had to do for the win.”
Sandpoint’s JV wrestlers also competed in the event. Trevan Adam, Jake Ryan and Nick Kempton picked up wins via tech fall against competition from Lake City, Kootenai, St. Maries and Kellogg.
The first day of the River City Duals starts at 3 p.m. on Friday, then action resumes at 9 a.m. the following Saturday. A grand total of 34 teams from three states will participate in the event.