REXBURG — Sugar-Salem won the weekend, and Blackfoot was bruising.
But Shelley’s performance at the Madison Invite was, well, sick.
Representing just two of the 19 schools at the Madison Invitational this past weekend, Bingham County schools Shelley and Blackfoot made off with 23 percent (21 of 90) of the medals.
With 197 and 163 points respectively, Blackfoot and Shelley placed second and third — casting an unmistakable 4B shadow over the Rexburg event.
Of course, there’s no getting around the 1M Madison County monolith growing ever skyward from Sugar-Salem — draping a shadow of excellence that blots out the sun, stars, and all.
The defending 3A state champion Diggers stacked 199.5 points on the ledger, holding off the second-place Broncos.
The 132-pound final was of particular interest to Blackfoot coach Thain Cashmore and Sugar-Salem coach Keven Glider.
When Blackfoot’s Esai Castenada and Sugar’s Caleb Norman shook hands to start that title bout, Sugar led by one half point.
“I knew it was close, but I didn’t know it was that close,” Norman said. “But I did know I pretty much had to win that one.”
Norman did just that, getting the best of Casteneda with a 10-6 decision in a match loaded with bottom wrestling counter-attacks.
“Yeah, that win was pretty big,” Norman said.
Sugar needed every one of those decision points in its 2.5-point team win, though perhaps the most dominant performance of the weekend came from the Russets.
Sickness kept nearly half the Shelley team out of the competition, and the Russets bussed just nine athletes to the annual Rexburg event.
Of those nine, five made their way to the championship mat. And of those five, all five won — bussed back home with gold medals around their necks.
That’s more than good. That’s sick.
Shelley senior Braxton Balmforth, won a “Battle of the Braxtons” at 138 with a win over Blackfoot’s Braxton Robison, noting that his Russets are built for such a short-roster challenge.
“A lot of our team is sick, but it’s still fun to be able to come out and compete anyway, even when we’re not a whole team,” Balmforth said. “We’re a really good tournament team, getting a lot of pins and bonus points.”
Balmforth’s win followed hard-fought Shelley victories by the Stacey brothers, with Kolton edging Mountain Home’s Kawika Doronio 7-6 at 98, and Darrick winning 3-1 over Skyline standout Kade Lincoln at 120.
“(Lincoln) and I have been training partners for a long time, and I knew coming in I was going to have a tough match,” Darrick said. “He is always tough, but I felt like I was able to control it pretty well.”
Shelley seniors Carlos Flores (182) and Caleb Call (132) made it 5-for-5 for the boys from Bingham.
Sugar got championship performances from Norman, Logan Tingey (113) and Conner Wood (170)
Other District 6 wrestlers who took home gold included North Fremont’s Riggen Cordingley (145), Madison’s Devin Smith (160), Blackfoot’s Nathan Sargent (220), and Rigby’s Jose Vallejo and Idaho Falls’ Todd Payne (195).
Payne, a former Greco-Roman All-American during his “schoolboy” wrestling days, knows a thing or two about timing his throws.
Payne timed out a perfect hip toss against Sugar-Salem senior Kael Wasden in the 195-pound final, pulling Wasden down and out with a 57-second pin and the only individual title for the four Idaho Falls city schools.
“I felt like I was a good enough wrestler up top to get that on him,” Payne said. “Once I got him into the right position, it was just timing that hip toss.”
2018 Madison Invitational
1. Sugar-Salem 199.5, 2. Blackfoot 197, 3. Shelley 163, 4. Jerome 150.5, 5. Century 119.5, 6. Mountain Home 108, 7. Madison 107, 8. Skyline 100, 9. Highland 92.5, 10. Idaho Falls 90, 11. Bonneville 81, 12. North Fremont 80, 13. Star Valley 51, 14. Rigby 46, 15. Jackson Hole 20, 16. Hillcrest 15.5, 17. Burley 11, 18. Grace 5, 19. South Fremont 0.
Individual placers (top 6)
98 pounds: 1. Kolton Stacey, Shelley; 2. Kawika Doronio, Mountain Home; 3. Landon Abercrombie Blackfoot; 4. Josh Benson, Madison; 5. Skyler Klingler, Sugar-Salem; 6. Lana Hunt, Blackfoot
106: 1. Gabriel Toboa, Jerome; 2. Kohl Nielson, North Fremont; 3. Jonathan Marin, Sugar-Salem; 4. Talan Spanbauer, Blackfoot; 5. Kyle DeRoache, Shelley; 6. Cameron Paulsen, Skyline
113: 1. Logan Tingey Sugar- Salem; 2. Xander Thompson, Century; 3. Kayson Kenney, Idaho Falls; 4. Adrian Mendez, Jerome; 5. Crit Wilcox, Madison; 6. Tyler Sessions, North Fremont
120: 1. Darrick Stacey, Shelley; 2. Kade Lincoln, Skyline; 3. Jaden Smith, Madison; 4. Landon Evans, Blackfoot; 5. Jacob Pilgrim, North Fremont; 6. Michael Sudweeks, Century
126: 1. Caleb Norman, Sugar-Salem; 2. Esai Castaneda, Blackfoot; 3. Minte Matthes, Highland; 4. Jameson Lee, Idaho Falls; 5. Zach Park, Mountain Home; 6. Jose Sanchez, Rigby
132: 1. Caleb Call, Shelley; 2. Gavin Hazell, Mountain Home; 3. Daniel Andrade, Blackfoot; 4. Tyson Clark, Madison; 5. Austin Despain, Blackfoot; 6. Rylee McCollun, Jackson Hole
138: 1. Braxton Balmforth, Shelley; 2. Braxton Robison, Blackfoot; 3. Peyton Ringling, Jerome; 4. Lorenzo Luis, Hillcrest; 5. Jacob Despain, Blackfoot; 6. Colby Taylor, Burley
145: 1. Riggen Cordingley, North Fremont; 2. Jakob Murillo, Jerome; 3. Tyler Hardin, Mountain Home; 4. Cooper French, Bonneville; 5. Easton Millward, Century; 6. Rich Moore, Blackfoot
152: 1. Ezekial Williamson, Jerome; 2. Boeden Bassett, Blackfoot; 3. Austin Burrell, Madison; 4. Ace Christensen, Sugar-Salem; 5. Paxton Ingram, Madison; 6. Keaton Cushman, Skyline
160: 1. Devin Smith, Madison; 2. Andrew Myers, Skyline; 3. Nick Chappell, Blackfoot; 4. Alex Castro, Mountain Home; 5. Alexander Challis Shelley; 6. Wolf Bennion, Sugar-Salem
170: 1. Conner Wood, Sugar-Salem; 2. Dylan Schvaneveldt, Jerome; 3. Jovon Howe, Idaho Falls; 4. David Castillo, Star Valley; 5. Kyle Hatton, Shelley; 6. Jaxson Shipper, Rigby
182: 1. Carlos Flores, Shelley; 2. Browning Bennion, Sugar-Salem; 3. Jesus Venegas, Skyline; 4. Paul Clark, Highland; 5. Duncan Andrus, Bonneville; 6. David Walker, Star Valley
195: 1. Todd Payne, Idaho Falls; 2. Kael Wasden, Sugar-Salem; 3. Ben Rosenhoover, Century; 4. Jace Hansen, Sugar-Salem; 5. Hector Ramerez, Bonneville; 6. Brennan Harris, Star Valley
220: 1. Nathan Sargent, Blackfoot; 2. Ezra Dunford, Highland; 3. Fernando Luna, Jerome; 4. Alex Apel, Century; 5. Gilbert Mendoza, Madison; 6. Desmond Mondok, Bonneville
285: 1. Jose Vallejo, Rigby; 2. Jonathan Johnson, Highland; 3. Kenneth Copley, Sugar-Salem; 4. Joel Bowman, Bonneville; 5. Mauricio Gonzalez, Century; 6. De` Qua Lang, Century