All the blustery, snowy weather in the world couldn’t stop the Tahoma High wrestling team last weekend.
Despite running into record-setting snowfall in Spokane, the Bears still made it to the prestigious Tri-State tournament in Couer d’Alene, Idaho.
Once there, the Bears delivered, bringing home fifth place overall as Tyler Lamb and Konner Knudtsen both took second while Nick Bayer finished third.
“They had really good tournaments,” Tahoma coach Chris Feist said. “They were pretty dominant all the way into the finals.”
Lamb, a two-time state placer who was competing at 135 pounds, lost to Scotty Bacon of Republic in the finals, 11-4.
Knudtsen, competing at 215 pounds, fell to Lake Washington’s Grant Haschak, 9-2.
“My goal was to win the tournament,” said Knudtsen, a junior. “In the end, I’m happy with what I did.”
Lake Stevens won the 34-team tournament with 206.5 points followed by Flathead (Mont.) with 186.5. Tahoma took fifth with 125 points.
The tournament, considered the biggest of the year and, in many circles, is considered tougher than the state tournament, consists of teams from Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon.
Wrestlers who finish among the top five are generally considered contenders for a state title.
Nick Bayer, Tahoma’s lone state champion from a year ago, took third at 171 pounds. After an early-round loss to Auburn’s Dylan Rutledge (12-11), Bayer found his groove. The Tahoma junior battled through the loser’s bracket and, for third place, avenged his loss to Rutledge, knocking off the Auburn standout, 5-3.
Auburn’s Jake Swartz was the lone local champion, winning the 189-pound bracket with a 7-0 victory over Everett’s Dakota Lawson.
Due to the snow, 10 teams — including powerhouses Orting and Sedro-Woolley — didn’t make the trip. Kentlake was the only local team slated to compete that was unable to make the drive.
Tahoma, Auburn and Auburn Mountainview pooled together on a charter bus to make the trip.
“Most of the other schools in the area had planned to use school vans and school transportation,” Feist said. “We planned ahead.”
Which made the long, snow-filled drive to Couer d’Alene just a bit easier for the wrestlers.