Badger wrestler establishes an unassailable legacy

By Piper Banning
Badger sports reporter

Bonners Ferry High School senior Savannah Rickter
Coach Conrad Garner and senior Savannah Rickter, two BFHS wrestling legends,

Bonners Ferry High School senior Savannah Rickter started wrestling boys at age six and did amazingly well at it right up until her sophomore year, when girls got a wrestling program of their own. She has been district champion three times in the sport she loves, won the North Idaho Rumble three times, too. She’s a two-time Conrad Garner champion, she’s placed in Idaho State folkstyle wrestling three times, two time state Greco champion and she just won the Northwest Greco championship. Her place in Badger wrestling is well established, no question about it. But she isn’t finished.

She’s being recruited by 10 colleges across the nation and will set out to visit her three favorites soon. Before graduation in June, Savannah hopes to be able to tell the world which college Bonners Ferry’s first female collegiate wrestler will fight for, adding to an already impressive wrestling legacy for her Badgers. But that still doesn’t sum up her contributions to Badger wrestling, or her legacy, upon which so much of the Badger ladies wrestling program is founded.

On Wednesday, March 20, another Badger wrestling legend, Coach Conrad Garner, was afforded the honor of presenting Savannah one of just 300 National Wrestling Coaches Association and United States Marine Corps prestigious 2023-2024 Character & Leadership All-American Awards presented annually to high school junior and senior wrestler/scholars who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and strong character year-around.

“For your outstanding leadership and character on and off the mat,” her citation reads. “Marines and wrestlers are warriors who share the same principles. Your academic excellence, fighting spirit, mental toughness and work ethic are unmatched and are an example to your teammates and student body.”

“I’m proud of you Savannah Rickter, proud of the young woman you have chosen to be, proud of how you continue to push forward even in moments of adversity and proud of the legacy you are leaving to future female wrestlers,” her mom, Kristie Rickter, posted to Facebook. “You truly have been an amazing leader among your tribe! It was nice that she was nominated for such an award. Not just for physical ability or accomplishment on the mat but for the character and leadership she naturally possesses. These are characteristics that will serve others and her long after her time on the mat has come and gone. Thank you to Valerie Johansen for nominating her, thank you to the foundation for acknowledging her efforts and thank you to Conrad, her head coach, in honoring her by presenting it.”

And she’s not finished her tenure as a Badger wrestler. Savannah, with a 54-14 record, including 48 pins and two techs, will be wrestling at the women’s Nationals in Spokane in April as well as competing in the Idaho freestyle and Greco championships in April in pursuit of ever more laurels.

“The effort or the action is never for oneself, but for the others around you,” her mom wrote. “It’s a way of serving others and building close relationships and when done out of love and loyalty it serves many well, including the one serving it. (The award is) Not surprising at all but much appreciated. It makes such a difference in life when your efforts and actions are acknowledged by others. it helps to keep you going, helps to know that you are headed in the right direction and helps to build courage and confidence to keep going.”

Rickter Award