Bulldog wrestlers open strong at Rocky Mountain Classic

MISSOULA – Butte High capped off a good first day at the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic wrestling tournament in Missoula Friday, tallying 82 team points to hang in for sixth place.

Butte 170-pound senior Kadon Queer is Butte High’s lone wrestler remaining in the championship bracket, as he cruised to a pair of pins and a major decision en route to the semifinals where he’ll face Missoula Sentinel’s Bryar Newbary.

Havre placed six wrestlers in the semifinal round and leads the tourney with 107.5 points. Sentinel is second with just two wrestlers in the semis, but nine more in the wrestlebacks. Great Falls High is third with 89.

Butte High was able to stay in the top 10 teams Friday thanks to a great first round and a solid bit of wrestling in the consolation brackets, where the Bulldogs still have seven in action. Of the original dozen, only four are of contention, but not before recording some valuable team points.

“We had a heck of a day,” said Butte High head coach Cory Johnston. “We’re a lot better off than we were last week at this time.”

Butte had just two wrestlers in action after the first day of last week’s Tom LeProwse Invitational in Bozeman, where Butte saw an inordinate amount of one- or two-seeds in the first round. That led Johnston to institute a new team rule.

“On Thursday we made the rule that nobody gets to look at the brackets until after the first round,” Johnston said. “Last week we were walking around with our heads hanging before we even wrestled. We did a lot better this time around.”

Tyler Casey reached the quarterfinals at 103 pounds but ran into a snag when he faced Bozeman’s Chance McLane, who won by pin. He registered two falls in his first two matches, and will now take on CMR’s Carter Carroll in the wrestlebacks.

Butte 132-pounder Braxton “Ax” Henningsen won his first two then lost a rematch of a bout last week with Jake Hegel of Sentinel. Henningsen fell 10-4 in the quarterfinal¬† meeting, and will now face fourth-seeded Asa Hoerner in the consolation bracket.

“Hegel did some different things, and so did Ax,” Johnston said. “But I think it was good for us to see him one more time before state. He kind of threw the kitchen sink at us, and now we have a better idea what to prepare for.”

Ty Vetter got off to a tough start, losing 4-2 in his opener, but has since registered a pair of pins and a win by default at 126 pounds. Kadin Schonsberg got off to a similar start at 152, suffering a pin in the opener, but later rallied for a pin, a major decision and a decison to remain alive.

Save a loss to Kaleb Gravelin of Columbia Falls, Kaleb Ferriter won his remaining three matches Friday, two by pin and another by major decision. He’s got his work cut out in the wrestlebacks with Sentinel’s Jace Kovalicky Saturday morning.

Taran Bennett also started out with a win before dropping a tough 6-2 decision to to third-seeded Braxton Wilcox of Missoula Big Sky. He responded with a major decision and a decision win, and now looks to a match with Bozeman’s Brandon Cooper.

Butte sophomore heavyweight Jeff Queer knocked off the eight seed before dropping a 9-7 decision to Eli Horn of Glacier. He then bumped the seven seed before pinning Columbia Falls’ Kyler Koski. Queer will take on Sentinel’s Jake Reskin in the wrestlebacks.

Willie Anderson and Quinn Cunneen each posted a pair of wins before bowing out in the wrestlebacks, while Kole McGrath registered a win as well. Freshman 205-pounder Kyle Harding continued improvement at a tough weight for a young wrestler.

“The kids are upbeat,” Johnston said. “There aren’t any teams with all state champions, and we need to learn how to come in through the back door. But we don’t want to be content where we are. We want to see eight guys on the podium Saturday.

4 p.m. update

MISSOULA – A tough second round dropped Butte High’s wrestlers from third to sixth place at the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic Friday afternoon in Missoula.

The Bulldogs advanced three wrestlers into the semifinals of the 32-team tournament, as Tyler Casey (103), Ax Henningsen (132) and Kadon Queer (170) each won their first two matches. Butte’s nine other wrestlers are all still alive in the wrestlebacks.

Casey pinned Carter Brown of Corvallis to move on, while Heningsen stuck Kyle Tabbert of Helena High to set up a quarterfinal meeting with second-seeded Jake Hegel of Missoula Sentinel. Also remaining undefeated was 170-pound Bulldog Kadon Queer, who recorded a major decision of Neftali Lopez of University High School of Spokane.

More to come.


2 p.m. update

MISSOULA – Butte High’s wrestlers charged out of the gate in the first round of the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic Friday in Missoula.

Butte High is tied with Havre in third place with 32 points. Great Falls leads the pack with 44 points while Missoula Sentinel is second with 34. Thirty-two teams from Montana, Idaho and Washington are competing.

The Bulldogs won eight of 10 matches and saw two additional wrestlers make it to the second round of the championship bracket via byes. Two unseeded Butte High wrestlers knocked off seeded opponents to advance.

At 103 pounds, Butte High’s Tyler Casey, who was seeded seventh in his bracket, went into the second period of his match with Missoula Sentinel’s Dakota Thomas before finishing the Spartan off via pin.

Braxton Henningsen advanced at 132 pounds, where he’s seeded seventh, with a second-period pin of Shawn Bouchard of Helena Capital. Kaleb Ferriter scored a 100-second pin over Grady Gilpatrick of Fergus at 138, while Willie Anderson posted a 7-1 win over Caleb Sherrill of Flathead at 145.

Taran Bennett pinned Cameron Guinn of Clarkston, Idaho, in the third period of their 160-pound match. Kadon Queer then went on to pin fourth-seeded Cole Jones of Frenchtown in 3:39 at 170 pounds.

Quinn Cunneen held on for a 12-9 victory over Bozeman’s Colton Chepulis at 182, and Butte High heavyweight Jeff Queer pinned Lewiston, Idaho’s eighth-seeded Justin Chase in the second period.

More results to follow.


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