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Thompson trio, Kalispell Flathead wrestling grinds forward with state on horizon

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 27, 2024

KALISPELL — The Flathead wrestling team has long been one of the best in Montana, and have won state championships in two of the last three years at the Class AA level.

Now, as the Braves look to claim their third state title in four years and their 11th since 2004, they're being led by the Thompson family trio.

"I'm super excited about it, I think we definitely have a chance to win state, I think it's definitely in our cards to go out, you know and like win back the state title," said senior Anders Thompson.

"But we just have to stay calm through it because there's only a few weeks left, but I think I'm feeling confident, and I think the rest of the team is feeling really confident."
 
And when it comes to getting to wrestle alongside his brother everyday with dad coaching both of them, Anders knows he couldn’t ask for better.

"As far as having my dad as my coach and my brother as a co-captain, it's super special," said Anders. "I feel super grateful."

Anders' twin brother Gunnar knows as always with siblings they butt heads at times, but at the end of the day it’s all love.

"Very competitive," said Gunnar Thompson with a laugh. "We definitely get on each other a lot in practice, and then fight sometimes, but you know it's a lot of fun definitely."

After being involved with wrestling his whole life, their dad and coach Jeff Thompson has one main takeaway when it comes to coaching his two sons.
 
"Let it be their thing and let them enjoy it and let them have fun with it and just love them for who they are," Jeff Thompson said. "And I'm super proud of each of those boys are for the men that they’ve become, and just very proud of that much more so than what they've accomplished in the sport of wrestling."
 
As for the team coming up short on a three-peat and placing second at state last season?

"We put so much emphasis on state and we thought it was just going to be handed to us on a silver platter," said Jeff Thompson. "And I really feel like this team, the energy has been really high they're having fun, but they're just working their butt off."
 
But that work isn’t unaccompanied as the team lives by a true work hard, play hard mentality.

"I think it's just the fact that when we need to be, we can be serious and locked in," said Gunnar Thompson. "And then when we're not doing that, we're having fun messing around you know."

And as the team looks ahead towards state, fellow senior Sawyer Troupe had just one thing to say.

"Oh, we're kicking all the butt. Yeah, we're kicking all the butt this year," said Troupe. "You know, we got something to prove. We're definitely going to be taking it home, no matter how much people love to hate, you know, making enemies here but whatever."

The Braves will look to redeem themselves from their second-place finish last year when State kicks off at the MetraPark in Billings on Feb. 9.