(Editor’s note: MTN Sports began recognizing some of the best wrestlers in Montana history on Jan. 16 with the launch of the #MTTop20. Athletes will continue to be featured until Friday, Feb. 10 when No. 1 is unveiled.)
Top 20 rankings: No. 20 – Jarrett Degen; No. 19 – Luke Weber, No. 18 — Ben Stroh, No. 17 — Curtis Owen.
No. 16 – Chris Currier, Colstrip
From 1963 through 1993 only seven Montana athletes had ever won four consecutive state wrestling championships. In 1994, only one Treasure State grappler capped his career with a fourth championship – Colstrip standout Chris Currier.
Chris Currier stat sheet
Currier became the eighth Montana prep wrestler to win four consecutive titles, earning medalist honors at 112, 125, 125 and 135 pounds. He was widely considered a top five recruit in the nation at 135 pounds and attended the University of Southern Colorado, now CSU-Pueblo.
Currier posted a 21-8 record his freshman season with a second-place and fourth-place finish at the Cowboy Open and RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regionals, respectively.
After using a redshirt year the following season, he responded by tallying a 16-8 record as an individual at 142 pounds. He improved his finish at the RMAC/NCAA Division II West Regionals, placing third and wound up with national all-American honors after a seventh-place finish.
It was Currier’s junior year that turned him dominant in the collegiate scene. After winning three individual tournament titles and leading USC in wins, his 32-6 record would help him earn two outstanding wrestler achievement awards. Currier won his first RMAC/NCAA DII West Region championship and, with the national tournament being held at the University of Southern Colorado, he wrestled his way to the championship match. Referees were forced to call that title bout due to Currier suffering two broken ribs. He led the match 13-3 at the time of the injury default.
Motivated for his senior season, Currier went 26-6 and won four individual tournaments. In three of those tourneys he was named the most outstanding wrestler. He repeated as the RMAC/NCAA DII West Regional champion, guiding USC to its second team title, and became a national qualifier for the third year.
Currier pinned his way to the championship match, posting three falls in the early rounds and beat Olympic gold medalist John Smith and bronze medalist Lazaro Reinoso for his first national championship and third consecutive all-American honor. The victory helped Southern Colorado to a fourth-place team finish.
After leaving USC as a three-time all-American, national runner-up and national champion, as well as two-time USC male athlete of the year, Currier was inducted into the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame – Colorado Chapter in 2000. Eight years later he was inducted into the RMAC all-century wrestling team.
Currier ended his wrestling career with the high school championships, national title and awards such as Asics all-American and Dream Team Member before taking his turn in coaching. He is currently an assistant at CSU-Pueblo.
… on Currier:
Former Colstrip wrestling coach Dinny Bennett: “He was tough on his feet. He had a little dump, a little half fireman’s carry that he used all four years and nobody could stop it. He would get four or five on it every single time. He was just tough at that.
“The year Chris was a four-time state champion, we won a team championship too. His match solidified our state championship so it was kind of bread-and-butter right there.
“I think what he’s done speaks for itself and yes, others have done similar things. But the one thing Chris did was accept a challenge. He would wrestle anyone, whether he had to move down or move up (weight classes), he would take on whoever he could and that took off in college. I knew if I needed a win I could get one from Chris.”