BILLINGS — Garrett Graves is getting used to this winning thing.
The Eureka senior has only suffered one loss in the last two years of his high school football and wrestling career, a 28-18 football defeat against Shelby at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, where Graves will continue his collegiate career next season.
Since that loss, Graves and his Eureka teammates rattled off 20 consecutive wins, including a pair of Class B state titles, with Graves’ now-famous Hail Mary helping the Lions shock Missoula Loyola in 2016. It was the first Class B state title in school history.
Graves followed that performance with a perfect 43-0 junior campaign on the wrestling mats, winning the 182-pound championship, while guiding the Lions to the team title in Class B, securing the school’s second state championship trophy to hang in the halls.
This fall, the Lions went 12-0 on the gridiron, recording their 20th consecutive win, and again took home the Class B football state championship, giving Graves his fourth title in less than two years. He added his fifth on Saturday, defending his 182-pound wrestling championship after another perfect season, 39-0.
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s bittersweet my team didn’t win, that hurts a little bit,” Graves said, as the Lions finished runner-up to Colstrip in the team standings. “My best friend (160-pound Jonathan Schmidt) got hurt and didn’t win a state championship, which he was picked to and he would have if he wasn’t injured. All that hurts a little bit, but I feel great ending it this way. It’s a good feeling to go out there after 13 years of wrestling and working hard and being able to cap it on a positive. That’s a good feeling.”
Five total championships, three undefeated seasons, a pair of wrestling gold medals and numerous all-state accolades later, Graves now turns his attention to his final prep season in track and field. Last year, he competed in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, threw the javelin, and participated in the long, triple and high jumps.
More titles are certainly feasible this spring, but Graves says he is more than pleased with all he has already accomplished.
“It’s easy to believe for me because my teammates, we’ve worked so hard. We know what it took to get there. We sacrificed and we did what it took,” he said. “I would be disappointed if it wasn’t that way.”
Montana Grizzly football fans, who are also accustomed to winning, are going to be quite pleased with their incoming freshman.