BILLINGS – Montana’s strongest wrestlers are approaching the halfway mark of your all-class state tournament.
We’ll start in Class AA. Kalispell Flathead is back as the team to beat – and the Braves were looking for some history at 103 pounds with freshman female wrestler Tilynne Vasquez, but Billings Senior’s Alejandro Madrid put a stop to that talk. Madrid scores an 8-3 win for the Bronc.
Flathead, though, had plenty of success Friday. At 120, Cody DeVall taking on Billings Skyview’s Danny Maciel, and DeVall throws Maciel down and scores big back points – DeVall goes on to win 9-8. Skyview also ran into some trouble at 113 – Bridger Lamb taking on undefeated Bozeman freshman Leif Schroeder, and Schroeder pins him impressively in the first period in front of the happy Hawk fans. The Falcons find a win, though, at 126 – Brayden Schwalbe in control of Butte’s Tyler Vetter – Schwalbe wins an 11-6 decision. The senior will look for a title tomorrow.
So will two-time champ Charlie Klepps. The Bronc junior making quick work of Butte’s Gabe Tierney with a first period pin. We’ll see if he can go three for three.
And West has a semifinalist in Jace Rhodes. The unbeaten sophomore takes down Great Falls’ Tyler Loch. Rhodes wins a tough match, 12-9.
The Class A team title is Havre’s to lose, but it’s a close race to the podium after that.
Glendive putting its name in the hat. Travis Kinn in control of Havre’s Connor Harris at 132. Kinn wins it 9-5. He’ll be joined in the semis by teammate Ben Stortz. At 138, Stortz looking for the pin on Dillon’s Cooper Hoffman, and he’s got it in the second period.
Let’s stay in the Eastern A. Sidney has such a great wrestling tradition, and Jace Winter wants to add to it. The sophomore pins Frenchtown senior Cade Livoti late in the third for six big team points. Of course, the big story in Class A is three wrestlers chasing their fourth state title, including Belgrade’s Sawyer Degen. No pin against Corvallis’ Will Wissenbach, but Degen scores 20 points in the match. A 20-7 final sends him to Saturday.
The only potential four-timer in Class B-C is Colstrip’s Clayton Currier, and he made quick work of Libby’s Laine Young Friday – a pin in 31 seconds for the Colt. His brother Jackson also won in the quarters. They’ll need more help if Colstrip wants to defend its team title. At 145, Ty Bradley down 1-0 to Chinook’s Tate Niederegger with 10 seconds left, when Bradley gets the takedown inbounds! What a win, as Bradley gives us some drama.
But that was nothing compared to the dueling matches earlier on the B/C mats. Both in overtime. At 132, Huntley Project’s Hunter Connard taking on Malta’s Kaden Moore. Moore thinks he has Connard on his back, but the Red Devil flips the script and scores. He wins it 11-9.
Now at 126, Forsyth’s Nathan Weber taking on Valier’s Isaac Ramos, and Weber gets control of the foot, and climbs over for two points and the win, 7-5 in triple overtime.
Finally, let’s check in on a cool Class C story. Circle’s Lincoln Stormer blew out his ACL playing football his sophomore season. The junior is back as a force on the mats. He pins Whitehall’s Mike Wilkinson in the second period. Watch for Stormer the rest of the way.
Semifinals go Saturday morning, and of course full coverage from your championship round at 5:30 and 10 p.m. in sports.