IDAHO FALLS – There was one local wrestler left standing at the Tiger-Grizz Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Skyline High School.
She was Blackfoot’s Trinity Velasquez, who placed first in the 111-120 weight class in the first year that the tournament featured a girls division.
Velasquez, the only local champion, pinned Boise’s Fortina Ketia in 56 seconds in the championship match.
“It’s very meaningful, especially since it’s my first time at this tournament,” Velasquez said. “I was nervous when I stepped onto that mat.”
Velasquez won all three of her matches via falls, all in under 3 minutes.
The sophomore has been competitively wrestling for three years and is one of four girls wrestling for the Broncos, the most the team has ever had.
“She works out with the boys just as much as the boys,” Blackfoot coach Thain Cashmore said. “In other words, we don’t give them any slack. They’re going through the whole practice just like any other athlete in the room.”
Velasquez was one of eight locals to place in the girls division and one of two locals to be in the top two, along with second-place finisher Tesla Torres of Aberdeen in the 93-103 weight class.
In the boys division, six local wrestlers competed in the title round, but everyone lost.
Century 160-pounder Easton Millward helped lead the Diamondbacks to fourth place in the 36-team boys standings, the highest of any East Idaho team. Kuna, Box Elder (Utah) and Corner Canyon (Utah) rounded out the top three.
Millward put up a fight in his title match, scoring a reversal in the final seconds of the second period to cut the margin to 5-4 after facing a four-point deficit. But he was outscored 3-0 in the final period in an 8-4 loss to Corner Canyon’s Kam Moss.
“Got to learn from that that and get better,” Century coach Michael Millward said. “But he led the charge of the team, so he did a good job.”
The Blackfoot boys had two runners-up, starting with senior Esai Castaneda, who competed in his first Tiger-Grizz title match of his career. The 132-pounder was pinned in 3:51 by Kemmerer’s (Wyoming) Dawson Schramm.
“To be in the finals is a good feeling,” Castaneda said. “He’s just a buzz saw, a three-time state champion out of Wyoming and I knew it was going to be a tough one.”
Teammate Nick Chappell was pinned in 1:32 in his 182-pound title match against Box Elder’s Lucas Cochran.
Blackfoot finished eighth in the boys team standings, while neighboring Snake River was one spot behind.
The Panthers also had two runners-up in Emilio Caldera (126) and Kyle Richardson (145).
Caldera was tied 4-4 entering the third period of his title match before losing 7-4. This was his first event at 126 pounds this season after being in the 132-pound division.
Richardson was knotted in a 2-2 tie before losing control of the match and getting disqualified in the final seconds of the third period.
“They did really well,” Snake River coach Jeff Gardner said of his team. “This is the biggest tournament that we come to. … Things are coming together at the right time.”
Highland 220-pound wrestler Logan George was in the penultimate match of Tiger-Grizz in a tight title bout against Capital’s Charley Hastriter until things got away from the Ram.
George tallied a reversal 50 seconds into the second period to cut his deficit to 2-1, but Hastriter scored the next eight points and won 12-5.
The Highland junior helped guide his team to sixth in the team standings, while Gate City cohort Pocatello placed 32nd.
“It’s a tough tournament,” Rams coach Kolby Cordingley said. “We wrestled good. I thought we had some kids step up and had some good quality wins here and we found some things to work on, so it was a good tournament."