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State A wrestling: Birdwell wins No. 4, Sidney cruises to 4th straight team title

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Posted at 8:17 PM, Mar 06, 2021

MILES CITY -- Welcome to the club, Cooper Birdwell.

The Lewistown senior became just the fourth wrestler in Montana history to finish his high school career with an unblemished record on Saturday, earning a first-period pin over Sidney's Kolton Reid in the 132-pound championship match at the Class A state wrestling tournament in Miles City.

Birdwell, who has committed to wrestle collegiately at Oklahoma State, won the 113-pound title as a freshman in 2018 and the 126-pound championships in his sophomore and junior seasons.

"I knew I’ve put a lot of work in my training, so I knew if I stayed in my position and did what I knew what to do, I’d be OK," Birdwell said. "If I’m going to be honest, I’ve been looking forward to it in the Metra, but (the standing ovation) was pretty cool."

Birdwell also said milkshakes and steak were on Saturday night's celebration menu.

Birdwell's teammate Landon Farrar won the 182-pound title, as the duo helped Lewistown to a third-place team trophy. The Golden Eagles scored 182.5 points points to finish behind Sidney and Laurel in the standings. Sidney scored 326.5 points to win its fourth consecutive team title.

"Our guys were focused and they had a good time (Saturday). They had fun and you could tell, obviously, that they care about each other and want each other to do really well. There's no selfishness there in our guys. They want everybody to win a state title. And we did. Four in a row and 12 all together, so we're on it," Sidney head coach Guy Melby said. "There's no shortage of effort with all of our guys. Countless hours in the weight room. Countless hours of technique. The countless hours of extra training. They've obviously done it all. Probably the biggest thing about those 10 (seniors) is they're great role models. They do all the right things. They don't do half the right things, they do them all. I don't think you can win a state title without that."

PHOTOS: Day 2 State A wrestling

Six Eagles won individual championships on Saturday: Owen Lonski at 113 pounds, Zander Dean at 126, Aden Graves at 152, Kade Graves at 160, Riley Waters at 205 and Brodey Skogen at 285. Skogen weighed in a 205.2 pounds this weekend.

"It's hard to describe, but it's one of the greatest feelings ever. 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," Kade Graves said of he and Aden Graves' back-to-back championships.

"Some of our toughest matches this year were in our wrestling room," Skogen said. "I was wrestling Riley Waters, he's a three-timer, and there's no better practice partner out there than that. And Trey Schepens, who placed third. That's awesome, man. There's no better atmosphere than your own wrestling room as the hardest kids in the state. I was just blessed to have that."

"Me and (Skogen) going at it, that's a championship match. And that's what you want in a wrestling room," Waters said. "Every minute, every second of hard work that we did in practice and this tournament, for us seniors this is all we had left and we were going to leave it all on the mat."

The 103-pound final saw a rare championship matchup when Frenchtown brothers Landen and Isaac Stewart took the mat. Landen earned a second-period pin over his younger brother to claim the title. The Broncs finished with 162.5 points to finish fourth in the team race.

Havre had two individual champions with Mick Chagnon (120 pounds) and Orion Thivierge (170) claiming titles.

Livingston's Danyk Jacobsen (138) and Miles City's Damian Leidholt (145) also won championship bouts. The title was especially special for Leidholt, who relished the opportunity to wrestle his final match in his gym at Miles City.

Full results from Day 2 of the State A wrestling tournament can be found here.