With each having one Western B-C Divisional tournament champion, Plains/Hot Springs and Thompson Falls/Noxon teams will send a total of nine wrestlers to the Class B-C State Tournament this Friday and Saturday at the Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings.
Plains/Hot Springs senior Josiah Vanderwall stayed on task, winning the 138-pound class by pinning Colt Crawford of Arlee in 3:00 in the title match. After a bye, Vanderwall on his next three matches by fall.
Trae Thilmony, a freshman on the Thompson Falls/Noxon squad, was declared the 113-pound divisional champion. He was the only wrestler in his bracket.
Lincoln County-Eureka won its fifth straight Western B-C Divisional crown by a large margin. The Lions finished with 202 points. Florence-Carlton was a distance second with 148 points. St. Ignatius (Mission)/Charlo was third (135.5), Superior/Alberton fourth (107.5), Plains/Hot Springs fifth (92), Thompson Falls/Noxon sixth (74.5), Arlee seventh (60) and Bigfork eighth (19).
Joining Josiah Vanderwall on the Plains/Hot Springs state tournament team will be junior Conrad Vanderwall (132 pounds), freshman Taylor Angle (103), sophomore Peter Carey (152) and sophomore Steven Yother (285). Bert DeTienne (152) and Jesse Uski (160) are sophomores who both placed fifth, just missing qualifying for the state tourney.
“We thought we had a chance for all of them to qualify,” Savage Horsemen head coach Jeff Kujala said of the seven grapplers on the mats at the divisional. “The kids all wrestled good.”
Thilmony’s teammates at state will be sophomore Roman Sparks (120), freshman Shane Reishus (126) and junior Dakota Irvine (182). Sophomore Lucas Anderson (145) did not place.
CONRAD VANDERWALL lost a 9-5 decision to Nathan Schmidt of Eureka in his title match. That came after Vanderwall had beaten Cole Gilleard of Mission/Charlo by a 6-4 decision in the semifinals. “That was an important one for him to get,” Kujala said. “It was a good turnaround.”
Angle, a freshman, was pinned by Oliver Post of Florence-Carlton in 1:13 in the title match and finished second.
Carey earned third place, avenging two losses earlier this season to Walker Murphy of Mission/Charlo by winning a 5-0 decision. “Peter totally dominated him,” Kujala said of Carey.
There were only three wrestlers in Yother’s heavyweight class. He lost to O’Maste Foster of Florence-Carlton by fall in the semifinals, and finished third.
It was earlier believed that Plains/Hot Springs senior Kenzie Angle’s season ended early, but she was released from concussion protocol a week before the divisional and practiced last week in preparation. She lost her first two matches at 138 pounds. “She came close to winning her second match,” Kujala said, holding a lead before being pinned by Dominic Peltier of Eureka. “She pretty much controlled him the first two periods.”
SPARKS, REISHUS and Irvine all finished second in their class at the divisional.
In his title match, Sparks lost a 2-0 decision to Gunnar Smith of Eureka. He won by fall in the semifinals.
Reishus, the lone wrestler on the team who attends Noxon High School, won by fall in the semis, but was pinned by Kyle Durden of Eureka in 3:17 in the title match.
Irvine won by a 15-0 technical fall in his semifinal match, and lost a 16-5 major decision in the 182-pound championship.
“We’re happy to be taking four kids to Billings,” T-Falls/Noxon head coach Ian Taylor said. “We were hoping to get everyone there.”
Anderson was in a tough weight class at the divisional. “He wrestled pretty well,” Taylor said. “It was a good year for Lucas.”
The coach wished Thilmony could have wrestled in front of the home crowd Saturday. “He’s been working pretty hard. We’re looking forward to going over there and see what happens,” he said of the freshman’s first state tourney. “I think he can place pretty well.”
Sparks was in a tough bracket at the divisional. “He wrestled hard 6-minute matches,” Taylor said.
Reishus is about a year younger than other freshmen. “He’s pretty young,” the coach said, and at state “anything can happen.”
Irvine “has a pretty good shot” at earning a medal at Billings, Taylor said. “He should place fairly well.”
STATE TOURNEY wrestlers are allowed practice time from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, with first-round competition getting underway Friday morning.
The Vanderwall brothers both placed sixth at state last year.
If Josiah is able to advance to the semifinals, he would likely face Colstrip’s Jackson Currier, who is vying for his fourth straight state championship, this time at 138 pounds. “We could have gotten a better draw,” Kujala said.
The Savage Horsemen coach believes Conrad Vanderwall has the potential to reach the championship finals. “There are some real stout kids in there,” Kujala said of the 132-pound class. “He has to come ready to wrestle.”
Carey has been wrestling very well of late. “We think Peter has a shot at it,” the coach said of getting to the finals. “If he keeps it up, he has a good chance.”
Saturday, Feb. 2 Thompson Falls
1st — Oliver Post (Florence- Carlton) pinned Taylor Angle, 1:13; 3rd place — Tyrel Thomas (Arlee) pinned Kody Dillard (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) 2:26
1st (Only One Entrant) — Trae Thilmony (Thompson Falls)
1st — Gunnar Smith (Eureka) dec. Roman Sparks (Thompson Falls) 2-0; 3rd place — Peter Carey (Plains / Hot Springs) dec. Walker Murphy (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) 5-0
1st — Kyle Durden (Eureka) pinned Shane Reishus (Thompson Falls) 3:17; 3rd place — Aaron Edens (Florence- Carlton) pinned RJ Knoll (Arlee) 1:28
1st — Nathan Schmidt (Eureka) dec. Conrad Vanderwall (Plains / Hot Springs) 9-5; 3rd place — Cole Gilleard (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) pinned Wesley Buchannen (Superior / Alberton) 1:43
1st — Josiah Vanderwall (Plains / Hot Springs) pinned Colt Crawford (Arlee) 3:00; 3rd place — Jonny Chamberlain (Florence-Carlton) dec. Hunter Haskins (Superior / Alberton) 8-2
1st — Hank Dunn (Eureka) dec. Darwin Adams (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) 10-3; 3rd place — Isaiah Kovalsky (Superior / Alberton) pinned Chance Muller (Eureka)
1st — Isaac DuMontier (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) pinned Nate Cargill (Eureka) 1:07; 3rd place — Skyler Titsworth (Arlee) pinned Archie Brevik (Bigfork) 2:51
1st — Avery Meinzen (Florence- Carlton) pinned Gavin Pilkington (Eureka) :20; 3rd place — Kyler Francis (Superior / Alberton) pinned Ethan Diaz (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) 1:47
1st — Isaiah Alik (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) pinned James Fehr (Eureka) 3:01; 3rd place — Troy Matt (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) pinned Luke Maki (Florence-Carlton) 4:32
1st — Trey Green (Superior / Alberton) maj. dec. Dakota Irvine (Thompson Falls) 16-5; 3rd place — Johnny Fehr (Eureka) pinned Jared Pallo (Florence-Carlton) :29
1st — Spencer Jones (Florence- Carlton) pinned Miles Anderson (Saint Ignatius / Charlo) 1:13; 3rd place — Dominck Babcock (Eureka) dec. James Crazyboy (Arlee) 9-6
1st — Jacob Lapinski (Superior / Alberton) pinned O`Maste Foster (Florence-Carlton) :57; 3rd place — Steven Yother (Plains / Hot Springs) Bye