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Top returnees include Ost, McLeod

by JASON ELLIOTT
Sports Writer | December 17, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d’ALENE — Three returning champions and 40 placers will hit the mats starting today at North Idaho College as the 39th annual Tri-State Invitational begins at 10 a.m.

Dylan Rutledge (215 pounds) of Auburn (Wash.) High, Casey George (145) of Lewiston and Antonio Brown (130) of Orting (Wash.) will attempt to repeat their titles this weekend. Rutledge won at 171 last year, George at 135 and Brown at 125.

“When you’re bringing in competition from everywhere, what teams are looking for is some quality wrestlers to place instead of having 14 at a state tournament,” tournament coordinator Pat Whitcomb said. “It’s such a tough competition that if you can place here, you’re doing well.”

Action begins today with the opening round at 10 a.m. and quarterfinals at 7 p.m.

Semifinals begin at noon on Saturday with the finals scheduled for 6 p.m.

Teams will vary from Washington favorites University High of Spokane, Orting and Lake Stevens to local teams Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. Lake Stevens is the two-time defending champion.

“It’s a different level of competition this weekend,” Whitcomb said. “It gives a chance for the Washington schools to get a look at the Idaho schools and so on. We’ve even got a team from Chandler (Ariz.) coming in. It really helps those teams down the road and could be tougher than their state tournaments.”

Competition at a few lower weights will be the toughest, according to Whitcomb.

“I’ve got a feeling that 140 will be real tough,” Whitcomb said. “119 is going to be an awfully tough weight. So will heavyweight. Some of these weight classes are going to have four state champions. None of these weight classes are any slouches, but those 119-pound kids are tough.”

James Ost of Post Falls, who finished runner-up last year at 125 pounds, is seeded first at 135. Teammate Nathan McLeod is first at 152 after finishing third at 140 a year ago. Mitch Crain (112) is sixth and Tyler Mahal (130) seventh to round out seeds for Post Falls.

Defending state 5A champion Coeur d’Alene has four wrestlers seeded in the top four, with Kenny Staub (140) and Johnny Peregrina (160) second, A.J. Konda (103) third, Jake Graham (145) and Colin Comack (160) fourth. Peregrina was fifth last year at 160 and Graham was sixth at 140.

Whitcomb, who also coaches the second-ranked North Idaho wrestling team, uses the event as a chance to scout potential recruits.

“Obviously we want to put on a showcase and take a look at some of the top wrestlers in the northwest at the same time,” Whitcomb said. “Oregon State, Boise State are just a few of the schools coming to take a look this weekend. We’re kind of spoiled to be able to do that.”

IdahoSports.com will be webcasting the action and posting updated brackets throughout the tournament.

All-session passes for the tournament are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students.

TOP SEEDS

103 — 1, Jesse Peterson, Lake Stevens. 2, Dakota Stiles, Orting. 3, A.J. Konda, Coeur d’Alene. 4, Josh Newberg, Kelso.

112 — 1, Tyler Clark, University. 2, Josh Andrews, Richland. 3, Eric Solar, Lake Stevens. 4, Andrew Cunningham, Bonney Lake.

119 — 1, Garret Belgarde, Sandpoint. 2, Cole Harris, Deer Park. 3, Cole Jerome, Kellogg. 4, Ryan Rodorigo, Lake Stevens.

125 — 1, Drew Tempelman, Orting. 2, Jarod Maynes, Central Valley. 3, Ares Carpio, Todd Beamer. 4, Gilbert Maycumber, Richland.

130 — 1, Antonio Brown, Orting. 2, Brenton Beard, Central Valley. 3, Joey Delgado, Hermiston. 4, Conan Kalugin, Mary Walker.

135 — 1, James Ost, Post Falls. 2, Manny Ybarra, Quincy. 3, Braden Utecht, Richland. 4, Connor Newman, Kuna.

140 — 1, Herson Rodriguez, Moses Lake. 2, Kenny Staub, Coeur d’Alene. 3, Josh Lauderdale, Lakeside. 4, Kyle Leir, Libby.

145 — 1, Casey George, Lewiston. 2, Waylen Anderson, Reardan. 3, Nico Mareno, Moses Lake. 4, Jake Graham, Coeur d’Alene.

152 — 1, Nate McLeod, Post Falls. 2, Sammy Metz, Lewiston. 3, Bryce McMahon, Hermiston. 4, Nikko Veltri, Orting.

160 — 1, Logan Zunker, Reardan. 2, Johnny Peregrina, Coeur d’Alene. 3, Larry Francis, Flathead. 4, Colin Comack, Coeur d’Alene.

171 — 1, Jordan Rodgers, Mead. 2, Nick Desroches, Riverside. 3, Jacob Fry, University.

189 — 1, Dustin Johnson, University. 2, Curtis Berger, Hermiston. 3, Niko Knezozich, Reardan. 4, Jacob Vega, Chandler.

215 — 1, Dylan Rutledge, Auburn. 2, Jake Laden, University. 3, Tanner Hall, Meridian. 4, Travis Ozegovich, Flathead.

285 — 1, Shawn Burton, Deer Park. 2, Kabe Fluiatt, Moses Lake. 3, Connor Thomas, Flathead. 4, Nick Conlan, Auburn.

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