By DAVID LESNICK
The Daily Inter Lake
Divisionals, then state ... that’s all that’s left for high school wrestlers in Montana regarding the 2018-19 Montana High School Association season.
Divisional action for Class A and B teams is today with the all-class state tournament in Billings on Feb. 8-9.
Columbia Falls, Libby, Polson and Whitefish will be in Butte for the Western A divisional. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m.
The top eight finishers in each weight class advance to state.
Bigfork and Eureka head for Thompson Falls and the Western B divisional. That action also starts at 9 a.m.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to state.
Frenchtown (Class A) and Eureka (Class B) are defending divisional champions.
The Wildcats string of five straight divisional titles came to an end last season. They finished second to Frenchtown and 32 1/2 points behind the victors.
Two divisional champions return in Colton McPhee, a senior at 182, and Taylor Gladeau, a junior at 205.
The Loggers, led by Buddy Doolin, were fifth at divisionals in 2018.
Doolin, now a senior, won his divisional title at 113 and captured a state championship the following week at 103. He is 35-10 at 120 pounds this season and is the school’s career win leader with 159 (Zach Crace has 153 and Jacob Graham 143).
Doolin will wrestle on the next level at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Libby will have eight wrestlers competing.
Junior Trey Thompson has the most wins, 39-7, with sophomore Zack Morrison (132) next at 38-11.
Sophomore Tucker Masters (160) checks in at 31-15.
“I am really excited for the weekend as I think our guys have been wrestling and competing really well the past few weeks,” Libby coach Kelly Morford said.
“As a coach, you kind of wish you could wrestle right now and take advantage of the momentum we have, but the kids have been doing a great job of pushing it each day in practice and continuing to take steps forward. I don’t feel like we have wrestled our best at the end of the year the past few years so we have been trying to address that a bit. We always try to stay fresh going into the postseason, but we have been pushing conditioning a step further each day with the hope that we will charge full speed into divisionals and the boys have responded well.
“We obviously don’t have the numbers to compete with the full teams point-wise, but we are bringing some good wrestlers that can make some noise,” Morford continued.
“Everyone around the state knows a guy like Buddy Doolin, but we have a handful of other kids that might be under the radar a bit but are fully capable of placing high at divisionals and state if they wrestle to their potential. I am really excited for some of our kids to have the opportunity to step out and show who they are what they are capable of.”
As far as team stat leaders, Doolin is first in takedowns (57), Zack Morrison is first in match points (237) and tied for most falls (22) with Trey Thompson (22) while Hunter Hoover has the most escapes (25).
“As with any team, they all have different goals on an individual level,” Morford said.
“Some want to win it, some want to make the finals and some just want to scrap their way into a state qualification. As a coach, you just hope they get rewarded for all of their hard work this season, but there are going to be 11 other teams there with the same goals we have so we are going to need to be ready to go. Every team has some really tough wrestlers scattered around and then you have teams like Polson and Frenchtown, who have some real good top-end wrestlers as well as some depth.”
120 — Buddy Doolin, sr. 35-10
132 — Zack Morrison, so. 38-11
138 — Jeff Offenbecher, jr. 14-5
145 — Trey Thompson, jr. 39-7
152 — Hunter Hoover, fr. 23-11
152 — Zane Nordwick, fr. 14-22
160 — Tucker Masters, so. 31-15
182 — Daniel Rigney, sr. 10-24
The Pirates finished third last year at divisionals, 2 1/2 points behind Columbia Falls with three divisional champions.
One champ is back — Bridger Wenzel.
Wenzel, a senior, has moved up three weight classes to 152. At 21-4 versus Class A competition, he is tied for the team lead in wins.
Sophomore Maysn Cowell (126) also has 21 Class A wins to go with nine losses.
Hunter Fritsch, a senior, was second last year at divisionals. He is back at 170 pounds and is 18-1 on the season versus A competition.
RJ Pierre, a senior at 113, is 18-5 against A foes.
“We have an amazing senior class who will be leading us into the postseason,” Polson coach Matt Owen said.
“RJ Pierre, Jarod Farrier, Bridger Wenzel, Hunter Fritsch and Jasper Drake have all embraced their leadership role and are huge part of the success our team has been having this season. We are also very excited about our underclassmen, who have been improving every week, and we are confident they are going to finish the season strong. I feel we are ready to make a run at the postseason and if we can wrestle up to our potential, I feel we will be in the trophy hunt at both divisionals and state.”
Class A Records
103 — Gavin Knutson, fr. 17-10
103 — Braedon Illiff, fr. NA
113 — RJ Pierre, sr. 18-5 120 — Kedrick Baker, jr. 11-5
120 — Kellen Norman, fr. NA
126 — Maysn Cowell, so. 21-9
126 — Tyren Stidham, fr. 11-6
132 — Jarod Farrier, sr. 12-11
138— Dugan Davis, jr. NA
145 — Caleb Pierre, so. 13-12
152 — Bridger Wenzel, sr. 21-4
160 — Garrett Croft, jr. 14-11
160 — Kaleb Unger, NA, NA
170 — Hunter Fritsch, sr. 18-1 182 — Logan Adler, fr. 14-6 205 — Aaron O’Roake, fr. 14-10 285 — Jasper Drake, sr. 11-11
Junior Dakota Flannery (138) leads a much improved Bulldog program with a 35-5 overall mark. He also tops the team in pins (23) and takedown (32).
Flannery, who placed first at the Superior Invitational and second and the Owen Invitational, finished fourth at divisionals last year.
“Dakota is a team captain that has been training all year for this postseason,” Whitefish coach Ryan Boyle said.
“His focus has been on the divisional and state tournament all year and he expects to do well at both.”
Sophomores Nathan Sproul (103) and Camren Ross (152) along with senior Robert Bertelsen (160) all have a shot to reach the 30-win mark this weekend.
Sproul is 28-12, Bertelsen 27-13 and Ross 26-14.
Sproul finished first at tournaments in Superior and Eureka and was third at the Owen. He is second on the team in pins with 21.
“We are expecting a great tournament from Sproul this weekend and next weekend at state,” Boyle said.
“He has been wrestling very well and has been working towards a state placing all year.
“He (Ross) has been wrestling well and is looking to make his first trip to the state tournament,” Boyle said.
“Robert (Bertelsen) started off slow due to injuries but has been wrestling great in the month of January.”
Senior Dean Kellogg (120) is enjoying a solid season with his 24-12 mark.
“Dean has really stepped up his senior year down the stretch in January and should be in the hunt this weekend,” Boyle said.
“The team has been competing very well in the month of January and we are excited to get to the postseason and tournament time. We feel we are in a good place and ready to peak at the right time. We are very excited for the chance to compete this weekend.”
103 — Nathan Sproul, so. 28-12
113 — Jackson Carson, jr. 16-13
113 — Carter Moran, fr. 16-14
120 — Dean Kellogg, sr. 24-12
120 — Alexis Aurand, fr., or Leroy Orel, jr.
126 — Noah Cooke, fr. 14-24
126 — Sidney Cooke, sr. 6-11
132 — Jack Akey, fr. 7-16
138 — Dakota Flannery, jr. 35-5
145 — Carlitos Bertelsen, jr. 19-22
152 — Camren Ross, so. 26-14
160 — Robert Bertelsen, sr. 27-13
205 — Ashton Akey, fr. 4-29
285 — Brian Sweeney, fr. 10-24
The Lions have ruled divisional action, having won four straight.
A fifth, however, could be in jeopardy.
“We have a small number of wrestlers this year, so we will need all of our wrestlers to win and have pins,” Eureka coach Danny Lemer said.
“I’m confident in this team being able to repeat. Mission will be our biggest team competition. They have more numbers.”
Eureka had five divisional champs last winter. Three are back — sophomore Gunnar Smith (120), junior Nathan Schmidt (132) and junior Hank Dunn (145).
“Gunnar Smith is coming off an injury, which has kept him out of competition all year,” Lemer said.
Smith is a defending state champion.
Dunn (145) and Schmidt were both state runners-up a year ago.
Dunn leads the team with his 46-3 overall mark and 37 pins.
Kyle Durden (126) is 35-8 and senior James Fehr (170) is next with his 34-11 mark.
Durden and Fehr are third in team pins with 23 each.
Schmidt (132) is 30-3 with 24 pins.
120 — Gunnar Smith, so. 0-0
126 — Kyle Durden, so. 35-8
126 — Austin Warren , jr. 4-13
132 — Nathan Schmidt, jr. 30-3
138 — Dominic Peltier, fr. 5-16
145 — Hank Dunn, jr. 46-3
145 — Chance Muller, jr. 27-15
152 — Wyatt Garver, fr. 10-26
160 — Nathan Cargill, sr. 24-13
160 — Gavin Pilkington, fr. 25-15
170 — James Fehr, sr. 34-11
170 — John Fehr, fr. 10-18
Bigfork continues to look ahead, hoping a strong youth program will benefit the prep program in coming years.
The Vikings will have five wrestlers, all under classmen, at the divisional under first-year coach Shawn Hall.
Year In School, Records Not Available
126 — Vaughn Pendlay
138 — Eli Tidwell
145 — Shelton Wool
152 — Archie Brevik
170 — Colten Wroble
Class B/C Wrestling Rankings
1. Colstrip; 2. Glasgow; 3. Huntly Project; 4. Columbus/Absarokee.; 5. Poplar; 6. Broadwater; 7. Eureka; 8. Cut Bank; 9. Whitehall; 10. Mission/Charlo
1. Circle; 2. Valier; 3. Arlee
1. Krayle Stormer-Circle; 2. Weston Timberman-Columbus/Ab; 3. Miguel Ramos-Fairfield; 4. Leo Anderson-Broadwater; 5. Langdon Smith-Shepherd; 6. Brad Connolly-Anaconda
1. Tanner Cook-Columbus/Ab.; 2. Tugg Taylor-Circle; 3. Trae Thilmony-Thompson Falls; 4. Roper Mycke-Conrad; 5. Jase Frederick-Poplar; 6. Dawson Powers-Whitehall
1. Camron Reilly- Forsyth; 2. Riley Richtmyer-Broadwater; 3. Zach Valdez-Colstrip; 4. Cooper Cook-Columbus/Ab.; 5. Roman Sparks-Thompson Falls; 6. Cody St. Clair-Boulder
1. Colten Fast- Glasgow; 2. Clayton Donally-Huntly Project; 3. Matt Connelly-Valier; 4. Kyle Durden-Eureka; 5. Trenton Walker-Whitehall; 6. Matt Larson-Cut Bank
1. Oden Hallock-Glasgow; 2. Conner Johnson-Whitehall; 3. Kolter Schipman-Malta; 4. Nathan Schmidt-Eureka; 5. Ty Curry-Valier; 6. Dawson Buckalew-Colstrip
1. Jackson Currier-Colstrip; 2. Kaden Zimmerman-Glasgow; 3. Josiah Vanderwall- Plains/Hot Springs; 4. Pete Henderson-Choteau; 5. Hank Dunn-Eureka; 6. Colt Crawford-Arlee
1. Trey Taylor-Circle; 2. Hunter Reum-Poplar; 3. Rylin Burns-Colstrip; 4. Callen Mears-Malta; 5. Isaiah Kolvalsky-Clark Fork; 6. Darwin Adams-Mission/Charlo
1. Micheal Weber-Forsyth; 2. Dylan Raihl Columbus/Ab; 3. Wyatt Brusven- Shelby; 4. Austin Vanek-Cut Bank; 5. Isacc DuMontier-Mission/Charlo; 6. J. T. Hauer-Chinook
1. Ty Bradley-Colstrip; 2. Kameron Rauser-Broadwater; 3. Sam Schmidt-Huntly Project; 4. Avery Meinzen-Florence; 5. Kyle Evans-Cascade; 6. Gavin Pilkington-Eureka
1. JR Seewald- Cut Bank; 2. Dylan Nieskens-Glasgow; 3. Cody Blaede-Colstrip; 4. Isaiah Alik-Mission/Charlo; 5. Kameron Powell-Shepherd; 6. Dillon Anderson-Fairfield
1. Nakota Siegel-Colstrip; 2. Nate Gorham-Shepherd; 3. Andres Lopez-Malta; 4. Trey Green-Clark Fork; 5. Dakota Irvine-Thompson Falls; 6. Justin Denton-Broadwater 205
1. Spencer Jones-Florence; 2. Brett Monroe-Valier; 3. Tyson Sutherland-Poplar; 4. Beau Petreson-Colstrip; 5. Lane Hinderager-Simms 6. Jandon Lamb-Broadwater
1.Trey Yates-Colstrip; 2. Trey Pribbernow- Poplar; 3. Mayson Phipps-Glasgow; 4. Reubin Swenson-C.J.I.; 5. Journey Grimsrud-Huntly Project; 6. Carter Beer-Columbus/Ab.