GREAT FALLS – Saturday at the McLaughlin Center, the University of Providence will host the first ever East-West All Star wrestling dual featuring top high school talent from around the state. The field of wrestlers include several state champions and athletes ranked No. 1 in their division and weight class.
Providence head coach Caleb Schaeffer hopes this event can be for wrestling what the Montana East-West Shrine game is for football.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do and after the old Tournament of Champions got cancelled,” he said. “It never came to the fruition that it needed to, kids didn’t want to wrestle after the season was over. But we figured it out. It doesn’t count as an official weigh-in and these guys have a dead week, they want to get their weight down. It’s a perfect weekend for this to happen.”
Schaeffer is as well connected as anyone involved with wrestling in Montana. Once a date was set, he worked the phones and secured a star studded lineup that should make the event very worthwhile for spectators. And it starts with the guest coaches. Legendary Butte coach Jim Street will lead the West team, while longtime Glasgow mentor Mark Johnston will coach the East team.
Schaeffer used Interstate 15 to divide the state in half and pick teams, and once he post the lineups online there was a bit of controversy. Which is fine, it just means people will pay attention.
“We’re going to see how this goes, but there are already some people that have been upset that they didn’t get invited,” Schaeffer smiled. “They’re feelings got hurt, but that’s kind of what we wanted. We want this to be that premiere event. Where everyone wants to be invited and they want to be wrestling in this tournament.”
MSU-Northern will be represented as well, with East teams wearing Lights singlets and the Western team wearing Argo colors. Wrestlers include familiar names like Nathan and Michael Weber from Forsyth, Jordan Komac of Great Falls High, Mason Dionne and Martin Wilkie from five time defending Class A champ Havre.
The forecast calls for heavy snow over the next few days, but all participants were still committed as of Thursday evening. The dual begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, admission is $10.
103 – Alejandro Madrid (Senior) vs. Wil Queer (Butte)
113 – Cooper Birdwell (Lewistown) vs. Isaac Romero (Helena)
120 – Matthew Dewitt (Senior) vs. Gabe Tierney (Butte)
132 – Charlie Klepps (Senior) vs. John Mears (Belgrade)
138 – Jackson Currier (Colstrip) vs. Riley Gurr (Frenchtown)
138 – Matt Reyling (Glasgow) vs. Nathan Weber (Forysth)
145 – Martin Wilkie (Havre) vs. Wyatt Brusven (Shelby)
152 – Michael Weber (Forysth) vs. Brent Tezak (Dillon)
152 – Ty Bradley (Colstrip) vs. Kyler Alm (Florence)
160 – Mason Dionne (Havre) vs. Jordan Komac (Great Falls)
170 – Nakoda Siegel (Colstrip) vs. Payton Hume (Flathead)
182 – Nelson Crisafulli (Glendive) vs Tucker Nadeau (Flathead)
HWT – Merlin Whitedirt (Colstrip) vs. Jeff Queer (Butte)