For a third straight year, the Post Falls wrestling team should be the best in the area.
For a third straight year, the Trojans want to be the best in Idaho.
Post Falls would join an exclusive club if it captures a third straight State 5A championship. Just three teams have done it since 1978.
Coach Pete Reardon returns fewer state champs than the last two years, but he may have a deeper lineup. The potential for state champs is deep.
Sophomore Ridge Lovett, who won at 98 pounds a year ago, and junior Matt McLeod, who won at 126, headline the returners. Lovett moves up to 106 and McLeod is back at 126.
Lovett went undefeated last year (44-0) and it’s his goal to be the school’s first four-time state champ. He captured a Cadet national title last summer in Greco and was runner-up in freestyle.
Like the past two seasons, there are mile markers along the way for Post Falls to measure how it’s doing.
Post Falls opened last Friday winning the duals part of a two-day tournament in Sydney, Montana. The next day, the Trojans finished fifth in the individual bracket tourney. Columbia of Nampa, a team Reardon said will challenge for the state title, won.
Of the first two state titles, Reardon said there’s no question that last year’s team was the strongest. It went undefeated in duals and tournaments.
“That’s what gives it the edge. That’s incredibly hard to do,” Reardon said. “What was difficult for the team two years ago was winning the first state title. They had to break through the barrier. So the road was paved a little easier last year. That first group was trailblazers.”
So what challenges does this year’s team face?
“I’m not trying to be cliché, but they need to develop their own identity,” Reardon said. “That’s more important for this group than the first two teams. This team doesn’t have as many older leaders yet. It’s a younger crew of kids. They’re still very talented, but they’re a little younger.”
Reardon isn’t saying that the team lacks potential to be as good as the first two teams.
“The sky’s the limit,” Reardon said. “The last two years are history, they’re in the books. This team can’t ride on their coattails. They have to go earn it.”
What Reardon wants to be clear is that his program doesn’t talk about winning state titles.
“We don’t say much about it,” he said. “We’re working to reach our potential and everything else will take care of itself. We’re not shying away from trying to win a third one and it’s definitely possible. And anything less would be a disappointment. But we’re not talking about it.”
Other returning state placers are Jordan Grimm (second, 106), Alessio Lemmon (fourth, 106), Mathias De La Rosa (second, 113), Braydon Huber (second, 126), Jason Burchell (fourth, 132), Wyatt Shelly (sixth, 132) and Bradley Noesen (fourth, 195).
The Trojans have a couple of freshmen who could make an impact.
“Our focus is every day, trying to get better each day at practice,” Reardon said. “The thing we push is that every time our kids step on the mat we want them to compete at their fullest.”
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