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Western Montana crowns several state champion wrestlers

Posted: 8:36 PM, Feb 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-12 17:28:18-05

BILLINGS – Hundreds of wrestlers gave their best on the mats in front of thousands of fans this weekend in Billings. And now a select few can always call themselves state champions. We celebrate the champs in this week’s KPAX Youth Sports Spotlight.

Bozeman, Sidney, Colstrip and Circle topped each classes standings. So no team titles are heading to the west side of the divide. But a couple trophies did. Alberton-Superior finished in second in Class C. And Polson edged out Frenchtown for third in Class A to earn some hardware.

The Pirates strong showing in the Magic City was highlighted by Hunter Fritsch, who couldn’t believe he won the 170-pound bracket.

“I was in Utopia for a little while,” said Fritsch shortly after his dramatic 3-0 win over Glendive’s Nelson Crisafalli. “I got up and I was pinching myself after the match, thinking I was dreaming or something. Just cause to describe it you can’t really put it into words. I’ve been wrestling since I was in 2nd grade. For my last match ever, cause I’m not wrestling in college, for my last match ever to be a state title, it’s everything.”

Joining Fritsch as individual state champs in Class A are a couple of Frenchtown star juniors. Walker Dyer and Jake Bibler each finished undefeated seasons. Dyer won the 113-pound class, beating Sidney’s Kaiden Cline 11-0 in the championship match. Bibler now has three titles in three years after he pinned Havre’s Cameron Pleninger in only 51 seconds.. Taylor Gladeau of Columbia Falls won in the 285-pound division, beating Browning’s Wacey Zuback with a third period pin in 5:36.

Missoula and Kalispell only combined for one Class AA champion — Big Sky’s Hunter Meinzen at 145 pounds. The Eagle held off Great Falls CMR’s Kai Stewart 8-7 in a thrilling match.

Eureka’s Gunnar Smith and Spencer Jones of Florence each captured titles in the B/C bracket. Smith won at 120 pounds over Roman Sparks of Thompson Falls, 8-0. Jones is the first Falcon to win state since 1980. He beat Colstrip’s Beau Peterson, 8-2.