2001 Championship Season
Twenty-two qualifiers, fourteen placers, seven finalist, four titlist, and a new standard for points scored in any classification, the Bulldog Wrestling Team concluded their 2000-2001 campaign the same way they began it--as Champions.
Having captured the Ronan Invitational, Tri State, Inland Northwest Wrestling Championships, the Border League title, District title and all of their duals, Sandpoint wasted little time in capturing their fourth state title in eight years.
Twenty-two Sandpoint wrestlers made the journey to Pocatello and by Friday night all were champions. Led by three time state champion Jake Rosholt, the Bulldogs sent fourteen place winners to the awards stand to collect hardware:
1996 Championship Season
Sandpoint coach Dan Taylor didn’t let on how much he wanted a Tri-State wrestling championship.
It was evident Saturday night how much it meant. Moments after Pat Larson secured the title with a lightning-quick pin at 152 pounds, coach and wrestler were jumping around as if they’d won a state championship.
Close the past two years, three-time Idaho State A-1 champion Sandpoint added the team championship that had eluded it as the Bulldogs posted 139.5 points to knock off defending champion La Grande, Ore.
Taylor will hold the title in the same esteem as Sandpoint’s state championships - if not higher.
“To win this tournament kind of announces that you’re one of the best in the Northwest,” Taylor said. “We’re not done, we want to win another state title. But this is a big feat.”
La Grande finished six points back. First-day leader Central Valley couldn’t mount enough points in the consolation matches, but the Bears posted the best finish of Spokane-area teams at third (123.5). East Valley took fourth (107).
Neither CV nor EV had a finalist.
It was appropriate that Sandpoint locked up the team title behind Larson’s victory.
A two-time state champion, Larson missed last year’s tournament when he took what he called “time off” to let an injured knee heal. Others, including his coach, thought Larson had quit.
That controversy is over. And if it wasn’t before Saturday, it is now.
Sandpoint and La Grande were tied going into Larson’s final.
The Bulldogs were confident they had the team title in hand. After all, a Larson loss would have been an upset.
Talk about dispensing with all the drama. Larson smothered Garrett Knutston of Kiona-Benton (Benton City, Wash.), scoring a pin in 18 seconds.
“I kind of knew it was riding on my match, but I didn’t know the team scores were tied,” Larson said. “I was wrestling from my heart in that match and for the whole team. I wanted to win this for my coach and my dad.”
Larson was dominating during the tournament.
“This is special because I’ve never won here,” Larson said. “And coach said this is tougher than the state tournament, so I feel really good.”
Equally dominating, if not more impressive, was Sandpoint junior Jared Lawrence.
Lawrence, undefeated in his career at 64-0, collected a third Tri-State title. He scored a technical fall over Gabe Hoyt of La Grande at 119 and was named the tournament’s out-standing wrestler.
Lawrence appreciated the OW honor, but his smile expressed what pleased him most.
“The team’s always first,” he said.
Sandpoint became the first North Idaho team to win since Lakeland in 1988.
There were several entertaining finals before an estimated crowd of 700 at North Idaho College’s Christianson Gym.
And two champions - Andy Roberts of University and Ryan Presta of Sentinel (Missoula) - brought to an end eras of outstanding wrestling by brothers. Both are the youngest of three brothers, all of whom have won Tri-State titles.
Roberts had a hand in Sandpoint’s win by holding La Grande’s Amos Hoyt at 130 in impressive fashion, 13-6.
Roberts used a takedown in the first and second periods and back points to forge a 10-0 lead going into the final period. Hoyt caught Roberts in a back breaking position for a takedown and near-fall points, but Roberts’ lead was too much to overcome.
In a rematch of the best match in last year’s tourney, Presta took on Jay McGuffin, a three-time state champion from Cashmere, Wash.
The match wasn’t close to equaling last year’s entertaining hookup. The OW last year, Presta made an early takedown stand up in a 3-2 decision.
Lakeland senior Nathan Pascoe, who had battle scars from the tournament all over his body, was victorious at 171.
Pascoe and Tyson Thivlerge traded bruises from start to finish. But the offensive-minded Pascoe prevailed 13-7.
2002 Championship Season
Every Dog Has It's Day--except the Sandpoint Bulldogs, they've had two years worth.
The Bulldogs captured back-to-back state titles by dominating the A4 field at the Idaho State Championships, Febraury 22-24 at the Nampa Center in Boise.
The Bulldogs, who qualified twenty-one contestants, sent thirteen competitors to the podium, including four champions, on their way to a one-hundred point (99.5) margin of victory over runner up Blackfoot.
The Dogs were most dominating from 145-189 pounds where they advanced six competitors to the championship finals, including the Feist brothers at 160-pounds.
Joining the Feist brothers on the championship mat were Josh Ziegler, 119; Reggie Ross, 145; Tony Hook, 152; Jason Cates, 171; and Jared Rosholt, 189.
The elder of the Feists, Chris, upended his younger and defending champion brother Luke to capture his first state title.
Ziegler, who didn't even qualify for last year's state tournament, established himself as one of the state's best at 119. Having put the state's top seed on his back in the opening seconds of the title match, Ziegler incurred a bloody nose and the match was stopped. Despite a valiant effort, Ziegler finished second.
Ross, who finished third as a sophomore and broke his leg last year, returned to form with a first period pin in capturing his first state title.
Hook concluded a stellar high school career by capturing his third state title, dominating his way through the 152-pound class.
Cates continued to wage his North-South war against his nemisis from Mountain Home. Cates, a two-time state finalist, was upended in double over time and will be pursuing his first state title in 2003.
Rosholt, a freshman whose name needs little introduction, lived up to the family name by capturing the 189-pound class, including a dominating victory over last year's defending state champion in the semi finals.
Other Memebers of Sandpoint's State Championship Team:
2003 Championship Season