BILLINGS — Colstrip has the edge going into Saturday’s final rounds at your all-class state wrestling tournaments.
The Colts lead defending champion Eureka and perennial power Glasgow after the first day of action at Rimrock Auto Arena. Colstrip tallied 76 points in the opening day, better than Eureka’s 62.5 and Glasgow’s 61.5. Malta and Jefferson also had good opening days, with 56 and 52 points, respectively.
“We did pretty good,” said Colstrip 138-pound wrestler Jackson Currier, a defending state champion. “We had a good first round. The second round we had two bad losses to Eureka and a loss from (one of) our juniors that he shouldn’t have done. This first day went pretty good for the rest of us. We have five in the semis, I think. Team-wise, we’re not really worried about the state title, we’re just looking to wrestle the best we can.”
Currier, whose family is tied with the mighty Weber family of Forsyth for most individual championships in Montana’s history, helped lead the charge for the Colts on Day 1. He won his first two matches by pin, winning in a combined time of 3:27.
Heavyweight Merlin Whitedirt, another defending champion, is also in the semifinals for Colstrip. Nakoda Siegel, Ty Bradley and Trey Yates each advanced to the semifinals for the Colts.
“I approach it like it’s any other weekend,” Currier said of Saturday’s semifinals. “We go to tougher tournaments where we wrestle Class AA kids. This is just another tournament. Yes, it’s in the Metra and it’s big, but it’s just another match and tournament that I’m looking to win.”
“Usually what (coaches) say is, ‘Wrestle your best, go 110 percent and if it ends up in your favor, then it ends up in your favor,’” Currier continued. “All you have to do is push yourself 110 percent and you’ll most likely win.”
Defending champion Eureka hopes to make a strong move Saturday to win its back-to-back Class B championships. Garrett Graves, a 182 pounder, remained undefeated on the season, while Hank Dunn used a come-from-behind victory over Colstrip’s Rylin Burns to move on at 132. Dunn won an 8-7 decision.
“Just my coaches and teammates pushing me hard in practice, that’s all it was,” said Dunn. “We keep working in the practice room and it paid off there, as you saw. I wasn’t gassed in the third period and just kept going.”
Freshman Gunnar Smith stayed alive in the 103-pound championship bracket for the Lions, as did Nathan Schmidt (120 pounds). Eureka will look to the wrestle-back competition to boost its team total heading into Saturday night.
“Always. It’s constantly in my mind,” Dunn said of the team scores. “How many points are we scoring? How many are they scoring? We just have to stay ahead of them, I guess.”
Despite entering Saturday in third place, Glasgow is in prime position to vault past both Eureka and Colstrip in the final day. The Scotties have power in numbers, including five wrestlers in the semifinals. Kaden Zimmerman and Oden Hallock are on opposite sides of the 126-pound bracket, while Matt Reyling, a defending state champion, competes in Saturday’s semifinals at 132.
Forsyth’s Nathan and Michael Weber each moved on in the winner’s brackets, Nathan at 132 and Michael at 145. Michael Weber meets Shelby’s Wyatt Brusven in the semifinals.
Lincoln Stormer of Class C’s top-ranked Circle will square off against Fort Benton-Big Sandy’s Connor Schnabel in the consolation bracket, while Krayle Stormer meet Forsyth’s Camron Reilly in the semis on Saturday morning. The Wildcats totaled 38 points on Friday.
History was also made on Friday, when Chinook’s Rebecca Stroh took the mat against Anaconda’s Tjo Friis. It was the first time two female wrestlers had ever met at the all-class state wrestling tournament. Stroh won via pinfall in 5:47, but fell in the quarterfinals. Her pin at the 3-minute mark kept her consolation hopes alive.
The complete list of team scores from Friday’s Class B-C wrestling tournament can be found below. To view individual brackets, please click here. App users, please copy and paste this link into your mobile web browser: http://bit.ly/state-wrestling
For more highlights from the first day of State B/C wrestling action, please click here.
1. Colstrip 76
2. Eureka 62.5
3. Glasgow 61.5
4. Malta-Whitewater 56
5. Jefferson 52
6. Thompson Falls 50.5
7. Huntley Project 50
8. Plains-Hot Springs 41.5
9. Florence-Carlton 41
10. Townsend 40
11. Circle 38
12. Forsyth 37
13. St. Ignatius-Charlo 37
14. Shepherd 35
15. Whitehall 32
16. Valier 25
17. Chinook 22
18. Columbus-Absarokee 22
19. Choteau 17.5
20. Fairfield 16
21. Cascade 15
22. Poplar 15
23. Superior-Alberton 15
24. Wolf Point 13.5