COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Scott Filius and Jeff Thompson saw their teams end Friday’s schedule in contention at the Tri-State Wrestling Invitational. Filius’ Havre High Blue Ponies sit in fourth place after the opening day, while Thompson’s Kalispell Flathead program is in fifth. Havre totaled 93 points while Flathead reached 87.5.
Filius and the five-time defending Class A state champion Blue Ponies have four wrestlers still competing in the championship bracket of the tournament. Sophomore Cameron Pleninger enters Saturday’s semifinal match in the 113-pound bracket, having won by three consecutive pinfalls. Pleninger, a state runner-up last February, faces Chase Randall of Mead, Wash.
Ryan Stewart was the final wrestler to qualify for the quarterfinal round at 120 pounds. The fourth-place Montana state finisher earned a pair of pins in a combined 2:12 to advance through the championship bracket. Stewart meets Isaiah Evans of Idaho in the quarters.
Junior Martin Wilkie entered the tournament unbeaten for Filius, and the defending state champion and is three wins away from keeping that unblemished record alive. Wilkie, who captured the 126-pound State A title in Billings last February, is set to meet Christian Freund of Kelso, Wash. in the 138-pound quarterfinals. Wilkie won his two matches by pin in the second period.
The Tri-State Invite adds a 195-pound bracket to the tournament, where Havre’s Tyler Schaub sits in the semifinals. Schaub will square off against Spokane Valley’s Hunter Gregerson for the rights to compete for the tournament title.
Thompson and Flathead also kept four grapplers alive in the championship rounds on Friday. Heavyweight Michael Lee, who placed third in the Montana championships last season, won two matches by pin and one more by decision, a 7-3 victory. Wyatt Whickham of Spokane Valley will battle Lee for a spot in the 285-pound championship.
Thompson told MTN Sports earlier this season he held high expectations for senior Tucker Nadeau, and the 182-pound wrestler hasn’t disappointed. Nadeau is undefeated this season and is into the quarterfinals of the Tri-State bracket. Nadeau placed third at 170 pounds in last season’s Class AA state championships.
Sophomore Garrett Rieke is also through to the quarterfinals of the tournament, three wins from a title at 160 pounds. Rieke won his first match by pin at 2:56, then earned a 9-6 decision to advance to the quarterfinals. He awaits Ty Stover of Colorado for the chance to advance.
The final Flathead wrestler still competing in the championship brackets is Kenyon Fretwell. The senior 152-pound wrestler won by pin, then decision to advance to the quarterfinals of the bracket.
Frenchtown, Polson and Missoula Sentinel are also representing the Treasure State in the weekend tournament. Frenchtown saw Eli Warner advance to the semifinals, while Jake Bibler and two-time state champion Riley Gurr are in the quarterfinals.
Missoula Sentinel’s Reece Eckley is opposite Gurr in the 132-pound bracket.
The Tri-State Wrestling Invitational concludes on Saturday.