KALISPELL — Kalispell Flathead's Anders Thompson has been a force on the wrestling mats for the Braves for the past three years.
Now, he's ready to take his talents to the NCAA Division I level. Thompson recently committed to wrestle at the University of Wyoming.
"Before I went to Wyoming I didn't necessarily think I was going to go there, but I wanted to take every opportunity I could get," Thompson said. "I think I texted my mom the first night after I got there and I was like, 'I think this might be the spot.'"
Thompson was weighing multiple DI offers, but the Cowboys' small-town feel and community drew him in.
"The way that their team operated drew me in a lot. Growing up with wrestling, I've always had my best friends, we're all on the wrestling team," he said. "So, when I went down there, all the guys were super close, especially with the coaches and each other. You know, it just felt like it was another family I can be a part of."
Shonn Roberts, one of Thompson's coaches at Flathead, knows Thompson is ready for the jump to college.
"Anybody that can watch him wrestle right now kind of knows that he's prepared for that next level," said Roberts, who was a three-time Montana high school state champion wrestler at Columbia Falls before competing collegiately at the University of Providence. "And he's still got work to do. I mean, he's working today, he worked yesterday, the grind doesn't stop for him."
"I think they're getting a great competitor, a stand-up human," Roberts added. "He's a hard worker, but also a leader in many aspects. He does things right as far as conditioning, training, diet, school, it's all taken care of. They're getting the full package athlete."
But before he heads to Wyoming, Thompson has his eyes focused on the upcoming season after he placed second 170 pounds at the Class AA state tournament last year. The Braves also placed second as a team.
"As much as we all hated losing last year, I think it just helped us that much more," said Thompson. "Everybody wants to win so bad, so we just have a better energy this year and better leadership, I think. And we just have a team that wants to win so bad, they're not going to let anything get in the way of it."