Butte Central hosted their final mixer before the divisional qualifier rounds next week in Hamilton. First-year coach Andrew Holmes has helped guide the path for his small group of wrestlers.
“Our boys have come a long way since the beginning of the season and have done nothing but improve as the season went on.”
Coach Holmes replaced long-time coach Robin Moodry after he announced his retirement in June 2023. The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” applies quite well to this year’s Butte Central team.
“I’ve coached with (Robin) Moodry for a long time, and I know he has done so much to help establish the wrestling program here at Central,” said Coach Holmes. “I didn’t want to change how the practices were run, and I didn’t feel like anything needed to be immediately changed.”
Four Maroon wrestlers represented Butte Central in a mixer held at the MAC on Friday, January 26th. Dillon, East Helena, and Whitehall/Harrison also traveled to Butte to participate.
The 120-lb freshman Jack Holmes split even by winning and losing one for the Maroons. Jack faced Gavin Cloninger of East Helena in his opening match, winning by pinfall after a swift single-leg takedown. Jack’s second match was a grueling 5-2 loss against Cale Hoover of Whitehall/Harrison. Jack battled through a severe nosebleed and fatigue but scored the final takedown of the match.
126-lb junior Devin Rossiter finished 2-0, with both wins coming off first-period pinfalls. In his first match, Devin pinned Gabe Ruth of East Helena in 37 seconds. Devin then faced Andrew Frecker of Dillon, and a swift takedown from Devin would send Frecker directly onto his back for the pinfall.
132-lb junior and team captain James Holmes added two wins to his evergrowing stat line, with both wins coming by pinfall. James’ first match was against Kaiden Davis of East Helena. James scored five points in the first period after a nice arm drag takedown and near-fall points. James would start on top in the second period and would tilt Kaiden on his shoulders for the pinfall. James’ second match was against Reilly Slater of Whitehall/Harrison. James used all but one second on the time clock to finish Slater.
285-lb junior Jonathan Cox faced off against two tough opponents and finished 0-2 on the evening. Jonathan’s first match was against Layne Powers of East Helena, ranked 5th in class A according to the latest coaches poll. However, Jonathan would not allow himself to get pinned on the first opportunity, which showed that he had some fight. Jonathan’s second match against Beaudry Payne of Dillon was similar to the first match, where he put up a fighting chance but could not keep up with Paynes’ speed.
Butte Central’s 103-lb sophomore Marquis Abad, 100-lb 8th grader Kherington Adams, and 132-lb freshman Conan Holmes did not participate in the mixer but should be ready for divisionals. Coach Holmes has one week to prep the kids for a chance to make it to the big one in Billings.
“This year has been challenging with injuries and illnesses, but we’ve improved so much as a unit, and we’ve been able to make do with the different circumstances.” Coach Holmes said. “We just need to stay focused this week and have some good practices for our team to be ready.”
Class A western divisionals occur in Hamilton, MT, on February 2nd and 3rd. Go to trackwrestling.com for brackets and results for the divisional rounds.