Prep Wrestling: Springdale High team preview

Isaac Ponce (top) of Springdale and Thai Ta of Fort Smith Southside compete in the 106 weight class final Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, during the Big West Conference wrestling tournament at Wolverine Arena in Centerton. Ponce won the match.

Springdale High wrestling coach Josh Rivers is looking for his team to take another step forward this season. <br><br>

The Red Bulldogs finished seventh at the Class 6A-7A state tournament last season, just 15 points out of a top-five finish Rivers thought was plausible. They will take another run at it beginning with three returning medalists.<br><br>

Springdale finished 20th out of 24 teams three years ago in the state tournament, but has steadily climbed under Rivers. The Red’Dogs moved up to 13th two years ago, then seventh last year. Rivers said he wants to see them in the top five.<br><br>

“I’d be upset if we don’t medal seven guys this year,” Rivers said. “I believe we are a top five team.”br><br>

Junior Logan Walton is the defending state champion at 120 pounds, while classmate Isaac Ponce took second  at 106.  Prior to the state finals, even Rivers acknowledged he was more confident about Ponce.<br><br>

“I was more worried about Logan,” Rivers said. “But he was coming into the state tournament with confidence. When he’s got the confidence, he’s hard to beat.”<br><br>

However, Ponce, who was the top seed, was upset in the finals. Rivers said he sustained a concussion in the finals, but he’s back and ready to make another run to the finals. <br><br>

“He’s still in the shadow of Tre, his brother, a little bit, being  a state champion,” Rivers said. “He wants to prove to everyone that he has that same ability and he does.”<br><br>

Senior Thoper Runny was fifth in a strong 126-pound weight class and Rivers believes he’s going to be better as well at a lower weight class.<br><br>

“Him at 120 will be hard to deal with,” Rivers said. “He’s fast. He’s strong as an ox and has the attitude to be a top three guy.”<br><br>

Senior Jacob Neal was one win away from a medal last year. Kapone Wise and Katomai Tamangdad are also two that should take a step forward, Rivers said.<br><br>

Springdale opens the season Dec. 1-2 at the Border Wars dual tournament in Jay, Okla.<br><br>






Paul Boyd

Paul Boyd

Sports Reporter at NWA Media
Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for NWA Media. His primary beat is Rogers Heritage, as well as West Fork and Gentry.
Paul Boyd

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