Since that memorable season of 1993-94 when Coach Dan Taylor took a contingent of wrestlers all the way to an improbable state title the teams first the Sandpoint High School (SHS) wrestling program has gained recognition throughout the nation. In fact, Amateur Wrestling News and Wrestling USA Magazine ranked it among the top 25 high school teams in the country last year.
Steve Kluver was Sandpoints first wrestling state champion in 1982. Eight years later Zac Taylor, Dan Taylors son, won his first of three state titles under Coach Ray Miller. Dan Taylor took over as head coach from 1992-97. Zacs run included 99 consecutive victories and produced Idahos first-ever Junior National Champion. He was Sandpoints first multiple state champion and was once the No. 1 wrestler in America in his weight class in college.
At about the same time, Pat Larson was making a name for himself as a two-time state champion in his freshman and sophomore years.
From 93 to 98, the Lawrence brothers, Jared and Brett, won eight state titles between them in a rare display of family dominance in a single sport. Both were 4.0 students, said present Coach Mike Randles. Jared was one of the few wrestlers nationwide to ever go through an entire high school wrestling career undefeated, winning all 133 of his matches. No one else has ever won four Tri State Tournaments, as he did, and twice he wrestled to a first-place finish in what Randles says is, considered the toughest tournament in the nation, the Reno Tournament of Champions.
The Lawrences accomplishments framed a decade of top-notch performances that have carried over into the new millennium. Jake Rosholt, a 2001 SHS graduate, bore the torch of excellence through four years of success few athletes ever experience. With a record of 131-8, Rosholt won three state championships, was a three-time Tri State Champion and a Reno Tournament of Champions titlist. He marched through the Junior National Championships with 11 straight technical falls something no other wrestler had ever done. And a year later he became Idahos first-ever National Senior Champion. Last spring, Rosholt was the No. 1 recruited high school wrestler in the nation and is now wrestling for Coach John Smith at Oklahoma State University.
Taking up where Rosholt left off is Tony Hook, a senior at SHS this year and already a two-time state and Tri State champion. Just this past July, he received Greco-Roman All American honors at Junior Nationals. Randles says, Tonys the most talented athlete Ive ever seen at the high school level.
The wrestling legends just keep writing themselves on the mat at SHS. Look for a new legend this winter.