Refusing to lose: Nine state wrestlers remain undefeated

Mountain Home freshman among the unbeaten competitors in today's state finals.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMarch 1, 2014 

— Pierce Mederios is 4-foot-10 and weighs 98 pounds.

He could be easy to overlook in a crowded venue where nearly 950 wrestlers are competing alongside him with bigger builds and taller frames.

Don’t count the Mountain Home High fireball out.

The freshman is one of nine wrestlers to enter the state tournament at the Ford Idaho Center with an undefeated record, and he added three more 4A victories Friday to improve to 45-0.

He’ll wrestle Pocatello sophomore Ty Root (39-4) for a state title at approximately 3 p.m. Saturday.

“I’ve always taken wrestling really serious, like, a little bit too seriously to where I never want to give up any points. I want to win every situation, everything, every little drill,” Mederios said. “It’s bit me in the butt a little bit. I just let it get to my head a little bit too much, frustrate me. So now I just try to have more fun with it than anything.”

Mederios began formally wrestling at the age of 4 with the encouragement of his father, Scott, who also wrestled for Mountain Home High and later at Boise State.

“Even when I was little, I still wanted to win even though ‘Little Man Wrestling’ was just for fun,” Mederios said.

That sentiment has stayed with him throughout the years.

Since sixth grade, Mederios has done nothing but win during the school season. He’s unbeaten as a sixth grader, seventh grader, eighth grader and now ninth grader at the varsity level.

“We tell him that pressure is something you put on yourself. It’s not real. It’s an intangible,” said Scott, who is an assistant coach for Mountain Home. “… If you’ve done the preparation and you work and do all the little things, and if you lose, it’s because maybe this guy is just that much better, but know that if you lost and you did all those little things right, you can feel good about yourself still.”

That losing speech isn’t one Scott has had to repeat in a long time.

“I haven’t seen him lose in forever. I don’t even remember what it’s like,” said Paris Mederios, Pierce’s sister.

There was a moment Friday when it looked like Mederios’ streak might come to an end.

In his semifinal against Caldwell freshman Dante Carreno, a wrestler Mederios was facing for the third time this season, Mederios trailed 1-0 following the second period.

With 1 minute, 35 seconds remaining in the third period, Mederios tied the match at 1-1 with an escape and forced a 1-minute overtime. With less than 10 seconds left in the extra period, Mederios completed a low-level shot to earn the winning takedown and a 3-1 decision.

“The bad thing about winning all the time is that people expect you to do it,” Scott said. “… But it’s hard to continuously win and beat the same guys.”

Despite Friday’s close call, Mederios plans to bring the same quiet confidence to Saturday’s championship match as he has all season. If he wins, it’s par for the course.

Should he lose?

“We’ve got one more to go, and you never know what’s going to happen. It’s in God’s hands,” Scott said. “He’ll just go out there and know that he’s done all the work. If he wins it, fantastic. If not, he’s still a great kid.”

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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