It would be proper to call it a “bookend” season for Thompson Falls freshman Trae Thilmony on the wrestling mat.
Thilmony won a the 113-pound weight class title at his first-ever high school tournament — the Owen Invitational in Pablo, hosted by Polson — and capped the campaign by capturing the 116-pound crown in the 15- to 16-year-old division at the Montana Open tournament March 30 at MetraPark in Billings. There was a record number of about 2,100 grapplers at this year’s Open.
Also at the Montana Open, thre siblings in the Block family competed. In 6-and-under girls, Hartleigh Block earned third place in the 40-pound class. She came within a consolation win of placing in the 6-and-under boys’ division, at the same weight class.
Siblings Neals and Weston Block did not place at the Open.
Much farther from home, two Thompson Falls wrestlers were in Des Moines, Iowa, the same weekend as part of teams in the AAU National Duals. Roman Sparks and Elijah Ratliff posted a 4-4 dual record while Roman Sparks was 3-5 in his matches.
THILMONY HAD to miss an opportunity to be part of a Wyoming team at the AAU National Duals due to a shoulder injury incurred the last weekend of the high school season.
However, he was up to the task of disposing of all five opponents he faced at the Montana Open.
Mike Thilmony — Trae’s coach and father — said his son opened against an Idaho state placer at MetraPark and won by technical fall. In the second round, Trae defeated a Bozeman wrestler. Eli Warner of Frenchtown placed fourth at state in Class A, but Trae earned a 3-2 decision in the quarterfinals.
“Eli is a very tough competitor,” Mike said, and Trae beat him during the high school season at the Polson tourney.
In the semifinals, Trae took on an aggressive and talented eighth-grader from Livingston — Danyk Jacobson. The result: a 1-0 major decision for Trae. “He’ll be a tough freshman coming up next year,” Mike said.
It was time for the 116-pound championship match, and Trae faced off against Houston Crimmins of Dickinson, N.D. Trae took the title with a 10-4 decision. Jacobson on a challenge match against Crimmins to grab the second-place medal.
“Trae wrestled pain free,” Mike said. “But he felt he was a little rusty because he hadn’t wrestled in a while. He got going as the tournament went on. He had some tough competition up there.” Trae had competed at the national duals last year.
What happened is that the Montana Open was moved to a week later than usual due to MetraPark unavailability.
Trae had won the Western B-C Divisional title at 113 pounds, then finished third at state.
RATLIFF AND Sparks were quite competitive at the AAU National Duals. Ratliff wrestled on the middle school Montana C White team at 125 pounds. Mike Thilmony said Ratliff had a 1-4 record the first day, but won all three of his second-day matches.
Sparks was on the Monana freshman-sophomore Maroon B team, and won three of his five matches.
Ratliff is an eighth-grader and Sparks a sophomore this school year.
“We’re trying to get quality matches in the off-season,” coach Thilmony said. “That’s what’s going to help up get better the next year … Things like that [quality tournaments] are going to build their confidence.”
HARTLEIGH BLOCK posted a 7-4 record at the Montana Open at MetraPark.
“She had a real positive weekend, too,” Thilmony said.
Weston Block was in the 8-and-under division at 58 pounds while sister Neala was in 6-and-under girls at 37 pounds. Both posted an 0-2 record but gained valuable elite tournament experience.