Braves remain atop Duals, Bulldogs place fourth

Braves remain atop Duals, Bulldogs place fourth

By Bruce Sayler

Flathead repeated is seeming to be quite repetitious these days.

The Braves have won the last two state Class AA high school wrestling championships and now have added their second Mining City Duals crown in a row. Flathead of Kalispell beat AA rival Billings West 53-28 Saturday to successfully defend its throne in the Mining City Duals-Jim Street Classic tournament held this year at Butte High School.

Both gyms at Butte High were used and the home team, the Butte High Bulldogs, made a good showing, too, with a fourth-place finish. Butte High lost 52-19 to three-time reigning Idaho 3A champion South Fremont of St. Anthony in the third-place meet, the consolation final.

Semifinal outcomes of Flathead over South Fremont 37-24 and Billings West over Butte High 46-24 set up the finals.

All four teams were represented on the team of tournament Outstanding Wrestlers chosen by a selection committee at the meet, which was being held for the 34th straight year. Flathead, how a four-time winner of the Butte marquee tourney, was led by Aiden Downey at 126 pounds, Cade Troupe at 152 and Gabe Lake at 160. Billings West placed Zach Morse at 113 pounds and Keyan Hernandez at 120 on the team.

South Fremont, competing in the tournament for the first time, landed 145-pounder Tuffy Briggs and 182-pounder Hunter Hobbs. Hobbs is a three-time Idaho state champ and one of several reigning titlists on the South Fremont squad. Heavyweight Zack Tierney represented Butte High, while others chosen to the list were Cody Westlake of Belgrade at 103 pounds, Gage Clothier of Great Falls High at 132 pounds and Brendan Lockart, also of Great Falls High, at 205, Fortino Silva of Ronan at 138, and Paolo Salminen of Billings Skyview at 170.

“Obviously, you want to get out undefeated,” Butte High head coach Cory Johnston said of his team’s performance in the meet, “but, you also want to find out how you respond when times are tough. We preach to our kids that this is all practice until February. You can’t simulate live wrestling in the practice room.

“That might’ve caught up with a couple of our kids who might’ve been trying to get away with some things in practice.”

He was, though, happy with the response of a Bulldog squad that is younger, lesser experienced at the varsity level, than in recent years.

“We took on some tough teams today,” he said. “We took a big shot at Great Falls (High) and things got even tougher from there. Our kids (attitudes) are great. They bounced back.”

The Bulldogs edged Great Falls High 35-31 in their first bouts of the day to gain a spot in the semifinals. The Butte High second team was 2-0 for the day in the consolation field with wins against a pair of Class AA varsities, 48-24 over Missoula Hellgate and 42-30 over Bozeman High.

“I love the grit of the young dudes,” Johnston said, “and the other guys, too. You can’t teach that. Toughness. So, if you have that, the rest will come. Grit, toughness, not caring what the score is, and the rest.

“Our young guys wrestled really well in the Great Falls dual and it was our seniors in the West dual. They’re a really complementary group.”

Huge wins at different times from Kip Pumnea, Trey Hansen and Reid Whitlock were mentioned among the key moments for Butte High during the day.

A Kale Schonsberg pin at 182 pounds gave the Bulldogs the lead for good against Great Falls High. One by Pumnea at 132 pounds and in the first period cut West’s lead to 22-18 and kept Butte High in the contest. Whitlock followed with one at 138 when he responded from a 9-2 deficit for a third-period fall after a short break to tend to a cut. The win put the Bulldogs ahead 24-22, but they were unable to hold the edge against a powerful West lineup.

The dual with Great Falls High also saw Butte 120-pounder Colter Espelin rally from an 11-3 deficit to score a second-period pin. So, a variety of Bulldogs had big moments.

A longtime backstage Bulldog did, too. School administration employee and sports backer Pat Powers was presented the Jim Peltomaa Lifetime Service Award by the Butte Wrestling Club for her decades of work behind the scenes on the tournament and in so many other programs for the school and community. She was working the tournament for the 34th consecutive year, too. The presentation allowed her a large ovation from the crowd.

Butte High will wrestle at Belgrade on Tuesday in a non-conference dual meet, then is booked into two tournaments next weekend – the CMR Holiday Tournament in Great Falls, and the Gillette (Wyoming) Duals.

Saturday tournament results for Butte teams follow:

Butte High 35, Great Falls High 31

160 – Trey Hansen, Butte, pinned Luke Aakre 1:27. 170 – Ryder English, Great Falls, pinned Aiden Cuchine. 182 – Kale Schonsberg, Butte, pinned Daniel Mann 1:43. 205 – Brendan Lockart, Great Falls, dec. Mason Christian 13-6. 285 – Zack Tierney, Butte, pinned Ethan Bunton 1:44. 103 – Keegan Hunt, Butte, pinned Gage Hartnell 3:32. 113 – Ryder McEwen, Butte, tech. fall Cash Clark 19-3 (6:00). 120 – Colter Espelin, Butte, pinned Luke Allen 2:48. 126 – Samuel Elliott, Great Falls, major dec. Grady Winston 12-2. 132 – Gage Clothier, Great Falls, dec. Kip Pumnea 9-7. 138 – Gavin Cotton, Great Falls, dec. Reid Whitlock 2-1. 145 – Kale Baumann, Great Falls, pinned Will Stepan 2:38. 152 – Irish Furthmyre, Great Falls, won by forfeit.

Billings West 46, Butte High 24

205 – Mason Christian, Butte, pinned Solomon Stortz 2:44. 285 – Zack Tierney, Butte, pinned Brandon Cole 1:01. 103 – Michael Aguayo, West, pinned Keegan Hunt 3:46. 113 – Zach Morse, West, major dec. Ryder McEwen 12-0. 120 – Keyan Hernandez, West, pinned Jeremiah LaPier :45. 126 – Tristin Blomquist, West, pinned Colter Espelin 3:48. 132 – Kip Pumnea, Butte, pinned Colby Reichenbach :33. 138 – Reid Whitlock, Butte, pinned Carter Sanderson 4:40. 145 – Dash Nugent, West, pinned Will Stepan 1:58. 152 – double forfeit. 160 – Devin Humphrey, West, pinned Trey Hansen 3:59. 170 – Boden Bentley, West, pinned Aiden Cuchine 3:06. 182 – Chris Garcia, West, pinned Kale Schonsberg 1:08.

South Fremont 52, Butte High 19

285 – Zack Tierney, Butte, dec. Conrad Miller 4-2. 103 – Keegan Hunt, Butte, pinned Simon Eddins 2:10. 113 – Boden Banta, South  Fremont, pinned Ryder McEwen 3:31. 120 – Jaxton Packer, South Fremont, pinned Colter Espelin 1:19. 126 – David Green, South Fremont, pinned Grady Winston 1:06. 132 – Kip Pumnea, Butte, pinned Ryker Simmons 2:51. 138 – Sione Tavarez, South Fremont, major dec. Reid Whitlock 10-1. 145 – Tuffy Briggs, South Fremont, pinned Will Stepan 1:21. 152 – Raiden Whitmore, South Fremont, won by forfeit. 160 – Jesse Vargas, South Fremont, pinned Trey Hansen 1:03. 170 – Dillon Gneitling, South Fremont, pinned Aiden Cuchine :17. 182 – Hunter Hobbs, South Fremont, pinned Kale Schonsberg :32. 205 – Mason Christian, Butte, major dec. Max Clark 17-9.

Butte High Two 48, Missoula Hellgate 24

160 – Jake Bailey, Butte, pinned Ethan Preston 2:50. 170 — Charles Hughes, Hellgate, won by forfeit. 182 – Garrett Henson, Butte, won by forfeit. 205 – Cohen Grunhuvd, Butte, won by forfeit. 285 – Kade Schleeman, Butte, won by forfeit. 103 – Tyrese LeProwse, Butte, pinned Max Martin 1:13. 113 – Darryn Rossiter, Butte, won by forfeit. 120 – Jacob Reagon, Hellgate, pinned Ben Tierney 3:25. 126 – Jeremiah LaPier, Butte, won by forfeit. 132 – Grady Caton, Hellgate, pinned Devin Rossiter 4:33. 138 – Mason Armstrong, Butte, won by forfeit. 145 – double forfeit. 152 – Dillon Gunlock, Hellgate, pinned Bridger Brancamp 3:55.

Butte High Two 42, Bozeman High 30

103 – Tyrese LeProwse, Butte, pinned Griffin Fosdal :32. 113 – Darryn Rossiter, Butte, pinned Stetson Tripp :43. 120 – Christian Steele, Bozeman, pinned Ben Tierney :43. 126 – Devin Rossiter, Butte, pinned Marcus Howlett 1:25. 132 – Bode Hazlett, Butte, pinned Elijah Carroll, 3:45. 138 – Dawkin Schmidt, Bozeman, pinned Mason Armstrong 3:58. 145 – Avery Allen, Bozeman, won by forfeit. 152 – Pi Taylor, Bozeman, pinned Bridger Brancamp 1:43. 160 – Jake Adams, Bozeman, pinned Jake Bailey 1:53. 170 – double forfeit. 182 – Garrett Henson, Butte, won by forfeit. 205 – Cohen Grunhuvd, Butte, pinned Hector Gallegos :55. 285 – Kade Schleeman, Butte, pinned Cooper Wright :45.

Saturday Consolation Scores

Butte High Two 48, Missoula Hellgate 24

Missoula Big Sky 48, Browning 12

Helena High 39, Lewistown 33

Havre 40, Columbia Falls 36

Helena Capital 40, Bozeman High 25

Bozeman Gallatin 48, Missoula Sentinel 24

Havre vs. Helena Capital (n/a)

Missoula Sentinel 48, Browning 18

Columbia Falls 45, Helena High 30

Lewistown 42, Missoula Hellgate 15

Bozeman Gallatin 69, Missoula Big Sky 6

Butte High Two 42, Bozeman High 30

Frenchtown 37, Billings Skyview 34

Great Falls CMR 40, Billings Skyview 29

Great Falls High 42, Frenchtown 32

Billings Senior 41, Kalispell Glacier 28

Belgrade 39, Ronan 36

Great Falls High 48, Great Falls CMR 22

Belgrade 36, Billings Senior 22

Winners’ Bracket Scores

Belgrade 46, Billings Skyview 30

South Fremont (ID) 60, Frenchtown 3

Great Falls High 40, Billings Senior 34

Great Falls CMR 45, Ronan 24

Kalispell Flathead 51, Belgrade 21

South Fremont (ID) 54, Kalispell Glacier 16

Butte High 35, Great Falls High 31

Billings West 58, Great Falls CMR 7


Kalispell Flathead 37, South Fremont (ID) 21

Billings West 46, Butte High 24

Third Place

South Fremont (ID) 52, Butte High 19


Kalispell Flathead 53, Billings West 18




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