CHESTER — Reubin Swenson has already made a name for himself on the Montana high school wrestling scene.
As a sophomore last season, Swenson placed third in the 205-pound weight class at the Class B/C state tournament, one of two state-placers for the Chinook Sugarbeeters. Older, wiser, faster and stronger, Swenson is after another state medal this weekend in Billings, only this time for the Chester-Joplin-Inverness Hawks.
“Not a whole lot, just different coaches teaching different moves and different kinds of techniques,” Swenson said of the differences between the Chinook and CJI programs.
But there are aspects of his wrestling he’s seen improve his junior year.
“Definitely shooting. I’ve gotten better at it, faster at shooting and whatnot,” he said.
Swenson defeated Shelby’s Jacob Kingsolver in the Northern B/C heavyweight championship, a second-period pin that secured him one of four No. 1 seeds at the state tournament at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. He says he knows of some competitors in the heavyweight bracket, specifically Glasgow’s Mayson Phipps, who Swenson would face in the second round should each win their first match Friday morning.
It was the quarterfinals where Swenson fell last year, pinned in the opening period before rattling off four consecutive wins — a major decision followed by three pinfalls — to claim the third-place medal.
“What’s probably going to go through my head this year is, ‘Let’s not lose the (second) match right off the bat, let’s take off like I finished the season last year,'” he said. “Get my butt and gear and let’s take care of business, put Chester-Joplin-Inverness back on the map. … Just go out there with confidence and try my hardest, see what that does for me.”
Swenson credits his family’s support, specifically his mother, Misty, who is easily his biggest fan.
“He’s the little guy coming in at 206 pounds wrestling those heavyweight boys,” she hollered in the background.
It was a bit of a surprise to the Hawks’ coaches during weigh-ins at divisionals — Swenson nearly weighing in at last year’s weight class — but it’s the heavyweight division he’ll compete in this weekend, not afraid to throw down with Class B/C’s biggest and best.
He dreams of playing football for Montana State — “Kicker or nose guard,” he said — but off the field and mats you’ll find him enjoying the same activities as many high school boys his age.
“Hunting and fishing. Elk, anything really. I got my cow elk this year,” he beamed. “(My favorite fishing spot is) really anywhere where you can throw a lure.”
Whether it’s Chinook or Chester-Joplin-Inverness, maybe someday Bozeman, Reubin Swenson brings the same dedication and passion to everything he does.