Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002 Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002
Sandpoint Magazine

Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002

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Legendary wrestlers of Sandpoint High

A past state champ, Pat Larson shows off his “wall of fame” and his Bulldog wrestler tattoo.
Mention the sport of wrestling in Sandpoint, and whose name comes to mind? Not just any one name, that’s for sure. Since 1993, more than a half dozen Bulldog wrestlers have risen to prominence in what has become one of the most successful programs in the country.

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 team’s 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 Sandpoint’s first wrestling state champion in 1982. Eight years later Zac Taylor, Dan Taylor’s son, won his first of three state titles under Coach Ray Miller. Dan Taylor took over as head coach from 1992-97. Zac’s run included 99 consecutive victories and produced Idaho’s first-ever Junior National Champion. He was Sandpoint’s 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 Idaho’s 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, “Tony’s the most talented athlete I’ve 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.

– Dennis Nicholls

Winter 2002

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