Nilsson, Schild help lift Snake River to second in Class 3A wrestling tournament
While the paths they took were quite different, by the end of Saturday's Class 3A wrestling finals in Nampa, Snake River's Treyton Nilsson and Dayton Schild shared an honor they had earned.
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Both were state champions.
Nilsson's was his third straight. He entered this year's tournament as the No. 1 seed and dominated throughout. He defeated Fruitland's Kendall Fletcher 16-1 in the finals.
He went into the tournaments in 2012 and 2013 ranked No. 2 in the state and won both times.
"He won both those titles beating opponents who had beaten him three times during the regular season," Gardner said.
Shild, a senior, had never placed at state before.
In fact, coach Jeff Gardner noted, Shild had not placed in any tournament this year.
"He was battling illness and other issues," Gardner said. "His record didn't show it, but he is a very tough kid."
Shild opened the tournament against Dallas Hopkins of Priest River, the No. 1 seed at 145 pounds. He then beat the fourth- and second-seeded wrestlers to claim his state crown.
Overall the Panthers finished as runner-up to Fruitland.
"This team was full of champions," Gardner said. "They amassed more team points than any in my coaching tenure here at Snake River.
"Hats off to Fruitland for winning the No. 1 spot," Gardner said. "The real battle was for second through fourth.
"These kids continued to win big match after match with four or five teams right on their heels," he added. "There were several matches where it was win and place or go home and my kids came up big.
"We had some kids lose early and come back for third," Gardner said. "We had other athletes with limited experience step up and either place or win team points."
Gardner concluded, "I'm extremely proud of my nine placers and seven other participants. It was a huge effort. I'm very proud of their second place finish."