4A wrestling champ Kuna fulfills prophecy

The Kavemen score the exact points they wanted — and needed to break record.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMarch 2, 2014 

— Affixed to the wall in the Kuna High wrestling room is a sign with the number 318.

It may not have meant much to anyone else, but to the Kavemen it was a mark that mattered more than anything else.

By the time the mats were rolled out of the Ford Idaho Center on Saturday night, the Kavemen got their number.

A school-record six Kuna wrestlers won individual championships, and six more finished among the top six to help the Kavemen surpass the 4A state tournament record for total points with 318, a half-point ahead of the record established by Sandpoint in 2001.

It was the second title in three seasons for the Kavemen, and the third in program history.

“Before the championship round, we weren’t super confident that it was going to end up happening,” said Kuna senior 126-pounder Casey Cobb, who collected his third individual state title. “But as one guy after another started winning and we had a couple big matches that we didn’t expect, we were all just crossing our fingers.”

The drama came down to the last match for the Kavemen, who cheered on teammate JC English at 285 pounds knowing that without his victory, there would be no record.

Senior Michael Cook — who finished with a rare four individual state titles — spilled the beans to English right before his championship bout.

“I just got really nervous,” English said. “But after he told me that, I knew I had to get it even more.”

English came through with a pin of Bonneville’s Stephen Boone in 2 minutes, 16 seconds, ushering in a wild celebration by his teammates.

“I don’t know if I should have or not, but I told our heavyweight right before his match that if you pin your kid we broke the record,” Cook said. “I put a little pressure on him, but he did good and pulled it out.”

Joining Cobb, Cook and English with individual titles were senior Kurtis Loftis (138), sophomore Levi Perry (160) and senior Colton Kesling (195). Perry upset defending state champion Garrett Grigsby of Columbia with a 9-4 decision, and Kesling earned a 6-4 victory in overtime.

“Setting the point record really defines this group because it is just so many years of work,” Kuna coach Pat Owens said. “We’ve been talking about this for I can’t even tell you how long. To go out like this, for them to go out this way, it’s amazing.”

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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