VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Eleven Montanans will be taking to the mats this weekend at the 2019 National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) national wrestling tournament.
Five wrestlers — Jahzriel Peak of Billings Senior, Michael Weber of Forsyth, Levi Malcolm of Billings West, John Mears of Belgrade and Cooper Birdwell of Lewistown — will be seeded at the NHSCA High School Nationals, one of the of most prestigious high school events in the country.
More than 4,000 wrestlers will be in Virginia Beach March 29-31, competing against wrestlers in their age groups.
Peak will enter the 145-pound senior bracket as a No. 11 seed after winning a state championship in February. Peak earned an 11-3 major decision of Helena Capital’s Lee Lambrecht for the Class AA title at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
Weber joined Montana’s four-time state champion club in February, defeating Shelby’s Wyatt Brusven, 14-6, in the 152-pound Class B/C championship. Weber will be the No. 4 seed in the 152-pound senior bracket at nationals. He finished second in the 145-pound junior bracket at the 2018 NHSCA High School Nationals.
Malcolm, a third-place finisher at February’s state meet, will be a No. 5 seed in the heavyweight senior bracket at nationals.
In the junior bracket, Mears will be a No. 13 seed at 138 pounds. Mears wrestled at 152 pounds during his high school season in Montana, defeating Polson’s Bridger Wenzel 5-0 in the Class A championship match. It was Mears’ third state title, giving him the chance to compete for a fourth title during his senior season at Belgrade next year when the Panthers will be competing in Class AA.
Birdwell will wrestle in the 126-pound sophomore bracket. Birdwell won his second Montana state wrestling title with a pin of Belgrade’s Oden Currier in the 126-pound championship in February.
Billings Senior’s Matthew Dewitt (126 pounds), Idren Peak (126) and Peyton Morton (170), Billings West’s RJ Lowdog (120) and Columbus’ Cooper and Tanner Cook (both 120) will also compete at at the national tournament.
Fans will be able to stream the NHSCA High School Nationals at www.flowrestling.org .