By: Logan Parvinen
Some people consider the Billings Metra to be the Mecca of Montana wrestling. One thing is for sure, The All-Class State Wrestling Tournament is a two-day Christmas for Montana wrestling fans.
The Butte High Bulldogs and girls head coach Geno Liva will be sending 16 girls to the state tournament which starts on Friday Feb. 10th and ends on Saturday Feb. 11th.
For girls wrestling, the bracket format is completely different from the boys. A 24-person bracket will be assigned to all 12 weight classes. Schools from all classes will be facing off against each other. This means, for example, a girl from Butte High has the potential to face a girl from Poplar High in the finals. Seedings for each weight class will be determined early in the week before the tournament kicks off.
In terms of the western AA divisionals, Butte High had three girls finish in 1st place for their respected weight classes.
Freshman Neveah Grunhuvd (132) took 1st place over teammate senior Teya Edwards by way of pinfall. Neveah also defeated McKenna McCarthy of Flathead High by pinfall in the semifinals.
Freshman Mattie Stepan (145), whose brother qualified 5th at 145 pounds, fought hard for her 1st place victory over Jasmine Cartwright of Glacier High. In a match that came down to the wire, Mattie escaped by a score of 4-3.
Senior Hayla Hoffman (165) also had to fight to earn her 1st place win. In a match that tested their conditioning, the returning state placer faced Bryton Kipp of Helena Capital. Hoffman was able to hang on to a 4-3 victory.
The Bulldogs saw five wrestlers finish in second place.
Freshman Peyton Liva (100), daughter of head coach Geno Liva, won her semifinal bout over Katelyn Sphuler of Glacier High. Peyton would end up losing in the finals to Reina Koehler of Flathead by way of pinfall.
Senior Kaylee Lapier (107) defeated Brinly Youso of Flathead High via pinfall to move on to the finals. Kaylee would face Brooke Yeadon of Glacier High in the finals. Kaylee gave the 2022 state runner-up a fight after a 4-2 first period in favor of Brooke. The Glacier High sophomore would end up taking Kaylee down and tilting her on her back for a pinfall victory.
Freshman Sophie Grunhuvd (120), who has two other family members qualifying for state (Cohen and Neveah), beat Temree Payne-Taylor of Glacier High by pinfall to reach the finals. In the finals it was Sophie, who was 27-1 before the match, going up against Flathead High’s Bella Downing who was 23-1 before the match. It looked to have been it for Bella. However, stoppage time took away the opportunity of a pin for Sophie. Instead, it was a 6-5 lead in favor of Sophie going into the 3rd period. After a late takedown by Bella, the Flathead High freshman handed Sophie her second loss on the season by a score of 7-6 in a match that could have gone either way.
Senior Teya Edwards (132), who lost to fellow Bulldog Neveah Grunhuvd in the finals, beat Autumn Thompson in the semifinals by way of pinfall.
Senior Makenna Bazo (235) was up 5-1 in the final match until a risky hip toss backfired. Makenna would lose via pinfall to Lucille Libby of Flathead High.
The only Bulldog to take third place was that of junior Aydin Gonzales. After a pinfall loss to the 1st placer Kaura Coles of Glacier in the semifinals, Aydin defeated Adi Siegel of Flathead High to make it to the consolation finals. She then finished her Flathead High sweep by beating Skye Shelmerdine by a score of 4-1.
Senior Ashlee Wilcox (235) finished in 4th place where she lost to Boston Howell of Flathead by pinfall. Ashlee fought hard throughout the match but it was a match where the first one to make a mistake would pay. Ashlee, unfortunately, made the first mistake.
Sophomore Jessie LaPier (107) and eighth-grader Rylee Radcliffe (152) each took 5th place at their respective weight classes.
Jessie would defeat Dylan Culwell of Helena Capital by way of pinfall to claim 5th place.
Rylee defeated Alli Buls of Glacier High by late pinfall to secure 5th place as well.
Other divisional placers who will see action in Billings are:
Senior Maria Hanson (126) who finished 6th. Maria would defeat Lucy Andrew of Missoula Hellgate due to an injury stoppage to make it to the consolation semifinals.
Freshman Lauren Warren (107), freshman Jessica Blow (126) and eighth-grader Rylan O’Connell (120) all finished in 8th place.
Coach Geno Liva was happy with the overall work from his team.
“Overall I’m very proud of the way we continued to wrestle sharp. We had 8 of the 10 girls in the semifinals make it into the finals”
“We’ve had a lot of redemption matches where girls would beat other girls who they lost to early in the season.” Coach Liva stated. “The girls listen well, they ask questions, and they are teachable. All the things you ask for as a coach.”
Go to Trackwrestling.com for full details, results, brackets and more. 2 comments
Geno LivaFebruary 5, 2023, 8:12 am
While all 16 girls we entered into the divisional tournament placed in the top 8, 13 of them qualified for the state tournament.REPLY
Geno@Geno LivaFebruary 5, 2023, 4:26 pm
Sorry I meant to type 12 will be I gthe state tournament.REPLY