BOZEMAN — This time last year, Bozeman High’s Avery Allen was just starting to make a name for himself on the wrestling mat. He was a freshman on varsity and had no problem squaring up against wrestlers older than him. In fact, he ended up capping off his freshman year with a state title. As he gets ready to kick off his second season with the Hawks, he’s on a quest for a two-peat.
"I had a lot of good partners in the room," said Allen. "That’s what really helped me get better along the year. Finishing off last year winning state was just a good way to end it.”
Allen finished his freshman year with a near-perfect record, 44-2. That’s pretty good for being the new guy on the block, but he can’t seem to shake off those two losses.
“They were good learning curves for the year, and I’m hoping not to have those in the record this year," added Allen. "Those helped me learn along the year where I needed to improve.”
It’s that type of mindset that has impressed first-year head coach Sean Dellwo.
“He works his tail off," explained Dellwo. "He’s always looking to get better. He does all the right things in the offseason. He does all the right things during the season. It’s exciting to coach him right now, and I’m excited to coach him on the live side of the match.”
While this may be Dellwo’s first year with the Hawks, this isn’t his first encounter with Allen.
“He was wrestling for a club that was based out of Belgrade when I was in Belgrade, so that was my first experience kind of coaching him a little bit," added Dellwo. "I only did a couple practices with him, but that kid, I knew he was going to be great then. Now it’s just putting in the work to make sure that happens.”
Allen was introduced to wrestling as a preschooler while living in Colstrip before moving to Bozeman a few years ago.
“Started when I was 4 and I just went to a lot of little tournaments," said Allen. "As I got older, I started to get a little bit better I guess, and more out-of-state tournaments, which helped me.”
Allen is entering 2021 with a handful of new techniques as he bumps up from a 132-weight class to 145 for this upcoming season.
“I’m excited to see what he does this year because I think guys, they’re going to have a tough time with him," said Dellwo.
Allen’s quest for a two-peat begins on Jan. 8 against Billings West and Billings Skyview.