Butte High’s new-look wrestling team will see its first competition of the season Friday afternoon, as the Bulldogs play host to Kalispell Glacier and Kalispell Flathead in a pair of dual meets.
Wrestling in the Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gymnasium, the Bulldogs take on Flathead at 2 p.m, then entertain defending state Class AA champion Glacier at 4 p.m.
“It’s a great challenge for us,” first-year Butte High head coach Jim Bob Humphrey said Wednesday. “Glacier will be back strong and coach Fisher does a great job with them. Flathead’s always tough too, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Butte High, which is still getting wrestlers out following the football team’s championship success, is looking for a number of athletes to join the wrestling team. Between that and the early season stages of weight adjustment, Humphrey said the lineup will likely look much different as the season progresses.
Other than an open slot at 105 pounds this weekend, Butte High has all the varsity positions filled for Friday’s double dual.
Humphrey said he looks for a high level of toughness, and expects his team to be the best conditioned squad in the state. Conditioning and strength training come from a different route than what’s usually seen.
Humphrey, who moved back to Montana following a run in Texas, brought with him a few tricks for getting wrestlers in shape.
“I took a job at an inner city school in San Antonio,” Humphrey recalled. “We didn’t have any budget or backing for equipment, so we started scrounging.”
They came up with old, discarded tires and sledgehammers, and found ways to use them to get in shape. When Humphrey took the job in Butte, he brought the workouts with him, where they found a home with the football team.
“I asked coach Grey if we could use some of the things we tried down there,” Humphrey said.
Soon, the Bulldogs were flipping big tires around the football practice field, and throwing smaller ones at each other. They were swinging sledge hammers at the tires, and getting tough in the process.
“It’s a cheap way to get some extra workouts,” Humphrey said. “The kids don’t get bored with it because we don’t usually do the same thing twice. It’s a good method to develop explosive strength.”
Humphrey, who hails from Lingle, Wyo., starred at linebacker at Western in the 1990s. It was there he received his teaching degree, and from Dillon he moved to Texas. He and his wife Jamie saw the chance to come back to Montana with the wrestling coaching position, and were happy when the plan worked out.
“I wrestled my whole life, but most of the time that took a backseat to football,” Humphrey said, adding that he was in contact with current assistant coach Eric Dunmire before he even had the job.
“Eric gave me Cole (Dallaserra) and Nick Haynes’ numbers and I reached out to them immediately. He also added Dan Larson to the mix, and looks to a very knowledgeable group of assistants for the season.
“We’ll be competitive every time we go out on the mat,” Humphrey promised. “We’re going to give 100 percent every time, and if we can do that, we’ll be OK.”
Butte High’s varsity is on the road Saturday at the Helena Duals, while the Bulldog JV squad is competing this weekend at the Cascade Invitational.
Butte High’s varsity lineup vs. Glacier and Flathead
98 – Blake Bowen, so.
105 – open
112 – Kelly Merrick, fr.; Bridger Mooney, so.
119 – Braxton Henningsen, fr.
125 – Joey Blunt, sr.
130 – Willy Shea, jr.
135 – Gage Weston, sr.
140 – Levi Renz, so.
145 – Jarret Rowling, sr.
152 – Tommy Challeen, sr.
160 – Bryce Armstrong, sr.
171 – Lee Cannon, so.
189 – Blake Kraus, sr.
215 – Brad LaFromboise, jr.
285 – Billy Robinson, sr.