BILLINGS — Jeff Thompson and Kalispell Flathead are on top of the Class AA wrestling world once again.
Thompson and the Braves crowned three individual champions Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena — Payton Hume at 170 pounds, Tucker Nadeau at 182 and Michael Lee at 285 — en route to racking up 288 total points, besting runner-up Bozeman by 66 points.
Hume started the string of champions for the Braves, defeating Billings Skyview’s Brock Bushfield 11-1, a major decision. It was the first state title for Hume, who finished runner-up last season.
Nadeau capped an undefeated season by winning the 182-pound championship, a 3:30 pinfall over Missoula Sentinel’s Dylan Goforth.
But it was the Flathead heavyweights that helped seal the team championship. Alex Paull’s semifinal victory over defending champion Jeff Queer of Butte set up the all-Brave finale. The championship bout went to overtime with Lee earning the win.
Flathead’s Tilynne Vasquez set a state wrestling female record, finishing fourth in the 103-pound bracket. It’s believed to be the highest finish from a female wrestler in Montana state tournament history. Vasquez fell to Bozeman’s Tayt Rogers in the consolation match.
The Hawks sent six athletes to the championship round, the most of any team in the tournament, but couldn’t overcome Flathead’s team total. Bozeman saw three of its six athletes win state titles — Sterling Quinn in the 120-pound finale, Leif Schroeder a bracket up at 126 and Chance McLane capped a near-perfect season at 145 pounds.
Keegan Mulhill (152 pounds), Coy Cohenour (160) and Jaiden James (113) all finished runner-up for Bozeman.
History was also made Saturday, as Billings Senior’s Charlie Klepps became the 32nd member of the prestigious four-time champion club. Klepps won the 132-pound title over Flathead’s Jaden MacNeil, drawing an ovation from the crowd of thousands.
Klepps’ teammates Alejandro Madrid (103) and Jarret Leinwand (205) also won individual titles for the Broncs.
Helena High’s Isaac Romero and Great Falls High’s Jordan Komac each won their second individual championships, Romero at 113 and Komac at 160.
Other champions included Great Falls CMR 138-pound wrestler Kai Stewart, a runner-up last season, and Billings West’s Jace Rhodes, also a two-time champion.
The Class AA team scores can be found below. For complete results, please click here. App users, please copy and paste this link into your mobile web browser: http://bit.ly/state-wrestling
Class AA team scores
1. Kalispell Flathead 288
2. Bozeman 222
3. Billings Skyview 181.5
4. Billings Senior 141.5
5. Great Falls High 140
6. Missoula Sentinel 113
7. Helena Capital 112
8. Butte 104
9. Missoula Big Sky 94
10. Billings West 74.5
11. Helena High 63
12. Great Falls CMR 62
13. Kalispell Glacier 45.5
14. Missoula Hellgate 13