It’s been a rough go for the Glacier Wolfpack regarding the crosstown wrestling series the last few years.
The Flathead Braves have ruled the last three meetings by scores of 70-6, 66-3 and 62-6 to take a commanding 8-3 lead in the yearly matchup.
The two teams will be on the mats for the 2019 edition of this rivalry this evening at Glacier High School. JV action is set for 5 with varsity wrestling to follow at 6:30.
“Our goal for this crosstown is to put on a wrestling show for the fans,” Flathead coach Jeff Thompson said.
“We are going to push the pace and be on the offense for six minutes. This team has grown leaps and bounds and is ready to showcase the young talent.”
Flathead, two-time defending state champions, are 14-4 in dual action thus far despite returning only three veterans from a year ago. Flathead wrapped up the pre-holiday portion of its schedule by placing second at the Best of the West Duals in Pasco, Washington, before Christmas. The Braves finished second at the always challenging Mining City Duals in early December in Butte.
“It’s been such a fun year with this group of young men,” Thompson said.
“This team just can’t get enough mat time and is so eager to get better. Glacier has a good team and this will be a good dual. They have some solid seniors with a lot of wrestling background. Our young team won’t back down and is excited for the challenge. Flathead has one of the toughest schedules in the state, but our philosophy is to wrestle the best to be the best.”
Flathead resumes tournament action this weekend, Friday and Saturday in Bozeman. Glacier, on the other hand, heads for Ronan and the Western Duals the same days.
“The Braves are going to pose a formidable challenge tonight and we will have to rise to the occasion to be able to match what they have to offer,” Glacier coach Ross Dankers said.
“They have already been to a bunch of really tough tournaments, so for us coming off a big break, I think the mentality piece and having the right mindset will be important for us. We are focused on the two things we always talk about and that is attitude and effort, and that is what we are going to be looking for out of our team.”
Flathead has three grapplers who have passed the 20-win mark in freshman Cole Eastwood at 103, who is 22-6; freshman Fin Nadeau at 132, who is 21-6; and junior Tanner Russell at 170, who checks in at 24-3.
Asher Kemppainen, a freshman at 120, is 19-6.
Junior Brendan Barnes (126) and senior Bo Meyer (152) have 18 wins each.
Glacier has two standouts in the upper weights with Colby Martin, a senior at 205, who is 13-5; and Tre Krause, a senior at 285, who owns a 15-4 record. The Wolfpack are 5-9 in dual action.
The Wolfpack also has four solid grapplers in the lower weights with freshman Thomas Putnam (6-5) and sophomore Cody Frost (7-7) at 103, senior Tristan Little at 120 (11-5), and sophomore Lance Fretwell at 126 (8-9).
“The team is really excited for the opportunity to get back on the mat in front of the home crowd and community,” Dankers said.
“We had an outstanding break with a little mix of recovery, fun and grind. The crew did a great job maintaining a great level of intensity all the way through the end of the break, which is what we want to carry into tonight’s dual. The break also gave us a chance to get our lineup somewhat closer to where it is going to be at the end of the year with a couple returning wrestlers to the roster and some people moving to different weight classes. I’m super excited to see how this team finishes off the rest of the year.”
At Glacier High School
Tonight — JV at 5; Varsity at 6:30
103 — Cole Eastwood, freshman, 22-6
113 — Damian Naldrett, junior, 13-7
120 — Asher Kemppainen, freshman, 19-6
126 — Brendan Barnes, junior, 18-8
132 — Fin Nadeau, freshman, 21-6
138 — Dominic Battello, senior, 13-9
145 — Jaden MacNeil, senior, 16-5
152 — Bo Meyer, senior, 18-8
160 — Zaybin Stewart, sophomore, 17-9
170 — Tanner Russell, junior, 24-3
182 — Paxton Boyce, junior, 12-11
205 — Sebastian Koch, senior, 11-11
285 — Aydan Prieto, junior, 13-7
103 — Thomas Putnam, freshman, 6-5; or Cody Frost, sophomore, 7-7
113 — Dylan Miller, senior, 3-5
120 — Tristan Little, senior, 11-5; or Bridger Beach, junior, 4-11
126 — Lance Fretwell, sophomore, 8-9
132 — Ricardo Hewitt, freshman, 1-2
138 — Royce Conklin, freshman, 8-9
138 — Kael Willis, sophomore, 5-4
145 — Blake Franklin, sophomore, 1-3
152 — Caden Willis, senior, 6-10
160 — Caden Gilmond, junior, 3-11
170 — Thomas Crofts, junior, 0-7
182 — Skilar Hitt, junior, 2-11
205 — Colby Martin, senior, 13-5
285 — Tre Krause, senior, 15-4