BILLINGS — The potential 33rd, 34th and 35th four-time Montana high school state wrestling champions are all still in pursuit of their goals.
Colstrip’s Jackson Currier, Havre’s Martin Wilkie and Forsyth’s Michael Weber each won a pair of matches on Friday to advance to Saturday morning’s semifinals at the all-class state wrestling tournaments inside Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
Currier, brother of former Colstrip four-time champion Clayton Currier, won his opening match in 52 seconds, pinning Alberton-Superior’s Hunter Haskins to advance to the quarterfinals. Currier bested that mark in the quarters, defeating Conrad’s Ron Barnhill by fall in just 38 seconds.
“I’ve been preparing a lot. I’ve only wrestled a handful of matches this season and just trying to get my mental ability higher here, because I’ve had back problems and stuff,” Currier said after his win over Barnhill. “I have to protect myself, but to make the semis again feels great. I feel good.”
All three wrestlers are heavy favorites in their weight classes, but Currier says he knows the crowd can change a match with one wrong move, though he doesn’t expect that to be an issue.
“It’s in the back of my head. If I make a mistake, the crowd is going wild, I already know,” he said. “If Martin makes a mistake, the crowd is going wild. If Michael makes a mistake, the crowd is going to go wild. But I have confidence in myself and Michael and Martin. Over the years of wrestling, summer wrestling and everything we’ve done to prepare to get where we are, I have confidence to keep going and we’re not going to make a mistake.”
Weber agreed: “It kind of takes care of itself in a way. We all travelled together, we all put in the work and that’s kind of what made us so close together, because we all have the same goal and we all put as much work in, time in as everyone else. The level of respect we all have for each other, I consider all those guys to be brothers. I mean, we even went to a different country (Japan) together, so that’s a pretty close-knit group.”
The fifth of the Weber brothers, Michael also won his two matches by pinfall — a second-period pin over Bigfork’s Archie Brevik, then another fall in 1:18 against Cut Bank’s Austin Vanek, who accidentally sent a finger to Weber’s left eyeball, lighting a fire in the Dogies’ standout.
“The first move he kind of (got me) right in the eye. I was like, ‘Great.’ I was not happy about it, but that’s all right. I don’t like getting poked in the eye at all. I don’t think anybody likes getting poked in the eye, but especially me,” Weber said.
None of the three needs extra incentive this weekend, but Wilkie’s first match saw Whitefish junior Carlito Bertelsen put the Blue Pony on his back, though it lasted only seconds before Wilkie turned Bertelsen, pinning him 23 seconds in.
He added a 46-second fall against Browning’s Chance Kittson to advance to the semifinals.
“Same as always, just staying confident, getting ready for the next day and taking it one match at a time,” Wilkie said. “(The state tournament is) always a different experience and it’s always full of fun. Fun times.”
Currier, Weber and Wilkie will join the rest of the semifinal wrestlers on Saturday morning, with matches scheduled for 9:30 a.m.