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Wrestling, swimming seasons get underway in Polson

by JEREMY WEBER
For the Eagle | December 8, 2021 12:00 AM

Winter sports got underway over the weekend as the Valkyries swim team and Vikings wrestling were both in Polson.

WRESTLING

The Vikings wrestlers saw action in the Linderman Gym Friday and Saturday for the Olson Invitational, where Bigfork came away with a 10th place finish.

For the Vikings and their competition, it was the first time wrestling in a tournament setting outside of the postseason in more than a year due to Covid-19 restrictions in 2020.

“It was nice to be back in a tournament setting after that was taken away from us last year. Being able to compete in multiple matches in a day was really good for our team, since we need the experience. Three quarters of this team are freshman and sophomores,” head coach Shawn Hall said. “It’s also a great tournament for us to start off the season with because not only do we get to see some really good Class B teams, we also get to see a lot of really good Class A teams as well.”

Traic Fainter had the top finish for the Vikings at the tournament, earning second in the 103-pound weight class after defeating Ronan’s Ian Dillard by fall (2:43) in the quarterfinals and Eureka’s Blake Lancaster via 7-1 decision in the semifinals before falling to Frenchtown’s Issac Stewart in the final.

Senior Ryder Nollan went 5-1 to take third in the 138-pound division, defeating Park High’s Jessica Gruber (fall 3:13), Ronan’s Dominque McKay (Fall 3:19), Whitefish’s Logan Heyne (Dec. 13-7), Ronan’s Fortino Silva (TF 18-1) and Park High’s Trae DeSaveur (Fall 4:10).

Nollan’s only loss of the tournament came to Orion Barta of Columbia Falls in the semifinal round via sudden victory.”

Vaughn Pendlay finished 3-2 on the weekend to earn fourth in the 170-pound weight class for the Vikings as he defeated Trey Torpen of Columbia Falls by fall twice and Libby’s Matthew Niemi by tech fall, 17-2.

Angus Anderson was the only other placer for the Vikings, earning fifth in the 126-pound division with a 3-2 record. All three of Anderson’s wins came via fall as he defeated Levi Wenz of Thompson Falls (1:22), Morgan Truth of Corvallis (1:20) Seth Allan of Corvallis (2:48).

The Vikings finished 17-18 overall at the tournament.

The team will be back in action Thursday as they travel to Plains before competing at the Libby Invitational Tuesday.

SWIMMING

The Valkyries swimmers finished fifth at the Mission Valley Aquatic Center in their first meet of the season Saturday.

Sydney Slawter led the way for Bigfork with a pair of first-place finishes, winning the 100-meter freestyle in 1:03.45 and the 100-meter backstroke in 1:11.87, beating her nearest competition by more than five seconds in both events.

The 200-meter freestyle relay team of Slawter, Soraya Brevik, Kylie Kinslow and Ashlyn McGill took second in the 200-meter freestyle relay, finishing with a time of 2:15.47.

Brevik also took third in the 50-meter freestyle at 32.79 seconds and was sixth in the 100 freestyle.

Also for the Valkyries, Lillian Peterson was fifth in the 50 freestyle and ninth in the 100, Maci Pickens finished ninth in the 50 freestyle and 13th in the 100, Kinslow was ninth in the 100 breaststroke and 13th in the 50 freestyle, Chanelle Marchinek took 8th in the 100 breaststroke and 11th in the 50 freestyle, McGill was ninth in the 100 backstroke and 12th in the 100 freestyle and Jade Sisler finished 22nd in the 50 freestyle.

The Valkyries will be at the Summit Saturday for the Kalispell Invitational.

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Ryder Nollan took third for the Vikings in the 138-pound division at the Owen Invitational in Polson over the weekend. (Sally Anderson photo)

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Vaughn Pendlay took fourth for the Vikings in the 170-pound division at the Owen Invitational in Polson over the weekend. (Sally Anderson photo)