MILES CITY — It was another banner weekend for the Sidney Eagles wrestling team. Sidney cruised to its fourth consecutive state title and No. 12 overall behind six individual champions and three runner-up finishes.
“Our room is very competitive. If you’ve got good partners – if you have a state champ at 132 (pounds), you probably have one at 138, or 126, so they help each other out," Sidney head coach Guy Melby said. "That’s what we’ve done and been very successful with.”
More than just one pair of partners captured individual titles over the weekend, including the Graves brothers. Junior Aden won at 152 pounds for his third consecutive title, while brother Kade won at 160 to cap his career with his first state championship after finishing inside the top four the previous three years.
“It’s hard to describe, but it’s one of the greatest feelings ever," Kade Graves said. "It’s awesome to know that me and my brother – we both work our tails off in practice, even though we fight a lot, but we both push each other past our limits and it’s always great.”
“I was kind of nervous. I didn’t want it to be our last time wrestling together for the same team, but it was fun, it was exciting and it came out the way we wanted," said Aden Graves. "I was just excited, because I’ve been waiting for him to do it a long time. He finally got the opportunity and he got it done, so I was just really excited.”
The Graves brothers aren’t just paired up in the Sidney wrestling room. They’ve also had their fair share of scraps with each other growing up, but in the long run it’s paid dividends for both of them, as there's no quit in either kid.
“You can ask just about everybody else on the team about all the times in the wrestling room when we get partnered together for practice," Aden Graves said. "It gets a little exciting in there, I guess you could say.”
“We’ve got to separate those two sometimes. I know their dad is my assistant coach and he doesn’t like it when I put them together, because you’ve got to pull them apart a lot of the times. But they’re good for each other," said Melby.
Between Aden and Kade Graves, there are four state championships and seven all-state selections in their high school careers. But the triumphs of the Graves brothers are just the next in a long line of successful families under Melby.
“We’ve had a lot of brothers come through the program, lot of families that are the same name. Me being around forever, a lot of the kids that I’ve had I’ve coached their dads," Melby said. "Now those kids are having kids coming through, so I’m into the third-generation stuff. But that’s perfect. Then everybody knows what to expect and it all works.”
It certainly has. Sidney’s run isn’t by accident, as kids are already working toward next season as the Eagles chase lucky No. 13.
Three of Sidney's six individual champions return next season, including Aden Graves who can join the exclusive list of Montana's four-time state champions. Graves will be joined by sophomore and two-time state champion Owen Lonski and sophomore and 2021 state champion Zander Dean.