RENO, Nev. — Bozeman’s Leif Schroeder and Missoula Big Sky’s Hunter Meinzen captured individual championships at the 2019 Flo Reno Worlds wrestling championships over the weekend at the prestigious tournament at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
Schroeder and Meinzen, who both won Class AA state championships at the Montana high school wrestling tournaments in Billings in February, led a strong Montana showing at the tournament. Seven Montanans in the 15U and 18U divisions were crowned all-Americans with top-eight finishes.
Schroeder, who won the State AA 132-pound championship with a perfect 32-0 record, according to the Montana High School Association brackets, won five matches in the Reno Worlds 18U 132-pound bracket, defeating Ryker Boyce of St. George, Utah with a 5-2 decision in the title match.
Schroeder opened the tournament with a victory by fall, then added a technical fall in his Round of 16 match, before posting consecutive pins to qualify for the championship against Boyce. It’s only the latest accolade for the Bozeman Hawks’ three-time state champion, who will seek to join the elite four-time champions list next February at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
“I was the only guy with a round of 64 match in my bracket and I was like kind of skeptical like, alright, so it should be fun,” Schroeder said. “So the first day I wrestled three pretty tough kids ended up winning them all. I got elbowed in the eye, got a huge black eye right away, then at that same match, got head butted and broke my nose. It was just bleeding pretty bad, I’m fine now but it was a battle, this kid was tough so it was fun.”
Meinzen, a sophomore who captured the State AA 145-pound championship for Missoula Big Sky in February, earned the 15U 145-pound championship in Reno. Meinzen defeated Vancouver, Washington’s CJ Hamblin with a 9-1 major decision in the finals.
A former Florence standout, Meinzen opened the tournament with a pair of pins, then escaped the quarterfinals with a 3-2 decision over Seth Dawkins of Washington, who placed third in the weight class. Meinzen added another major decision, 13-2, in the semifinals to advance to the championship against Hamblin.
Great Falls High sophomore Elijah Davis, who was crowned the Class AA 182-pound champion this season, placed third in the 15U 175-pound division. Davis fell in the Round of 16 but won six consecutive matches in the consolation bracket to secure third place. Davis dominated the consolation bout, winning 12-0 over Nicolas LeSieur of California.
Three Treasure State high school wrestlers earned fourth-place finishes: Bozeman’s Tayt Rogers and Billings Skyview’s Brenner Bushfield in the 18U age group and Great Falls High sophomore Ethan DeRoche.
DeRoche joined Davis as the latest Bison state champions, winning the Montana Class AA 285-pound championship in February. He fell in the quarterfinals of the 15U heavyweight division but fought back to the consolation match where he suffered a close 3-2 defeat.
Rogers, a junior, finished fourth in the Class AA 120-pound weight class at this year’s state tournament and finished the same in the 18U 120-pound bracket at Reno Worlds. He suffered a 6-4 defeat in the quarterfinals but won three straight bouts to qualify for the third-place match, where he fell 7-1.
Bushfield finished runner-up to Davis back in February, falling 3-1 to the Great Falls High sophomore in the Class AA 182-pound championship. The Billings Skyview all-stater had a bye in the opening round of the 18U 182-pound weight class, then won by fall and a 7-6 decision to move to the semifinals, where he was pinned by eventual runner-up Dax Bennett of Oregon. After winning a 3-2 decision to advance to the third-place match, Bushfield suffered a 9-7 defeat to secure the fourth-place honor.
Billings Senior freshman Thomas Klepps, younger brother of former four-time state champion and current Iowa State wrestler Charlie Klepps, lost in the 15U 157-pound quarterfinals but worked his way to the seventh-place match, earning a 4-3 decision.