By Bruce Sayler
Host Butte High roared into the winners’ bracket of its showcase wrestling tourney as The Mining City Duals/Jim Street Classic event flew its Friday rounds.
The 30th holding of the tournament is going o in the Butte High School gyms this weekend. The young Bulldogs will continue their quests for a title Saturday morning against undefeated and impressive Havre at 9 a.m .on Saturday.
Competition will continue throughout Saturday in the 24-tam field, culminating with the 4:30 p.m. dual meets for the championship and third place.
Butte High went 2-1 in Friday’s rounds, suffering its only loss in an exciting tussle with Bozeman. Havre, the four-time defending champion in this tournament and on the campaign to add its fifth consecutive state Class A title in February, went 3-0 on Friday, winning 35 of 39 bouts. Two of its individual match losses were on forfeits.
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The 9 a.m. winners’ bracket round will also have Billings Skyview against Polson, and Missoiula Sentinel against Columbia Falls. The 10:15 round matches Havre against Missoula Big Sky, Flathead against Skyview and Bozeman against Great Falls High. At 11:30, Butte High wrestles Big Sky, Sentinel vies with Billings Senior and Bozeman takes on Frenchtown. The last championship pool matches at 12:45 p.m. pit Flathead against Polson, Senior against Columbia Falls, and Great Falls High against Frenchtown.
Semifinals will be at 2 p.m.
The consolation pool layout matches Kalispell Glacier against Billings West, and Great Falls Russell against Belgrade at 9, Lewistown against Capital and Missoula Hellgate against Ronan at 10:15, Glacier against Helena High and Russell against Huntley Project at 11:30, Lewistown against Dillon and Hellgate against Conrad at 12:45, and West against Helena High, Be;grade against Huntley Project and Capital against Dillon at 2. Ronan and Conrad are to wrestle at 3”15. Also at 3:15 are to be consolation matches for teams losing out of the winners’ bracket.
Friday saw Butte High beat Missoula Hellgate 57-15 and Helena High 60-18 before the narrow 31-30 loss to Havre.
Freshman Keagan Gransbery varsity debuted for Butte High with a 33-second pin over Hellgate’s Jordan Tack and the Bulldogs were on the way to the victory over the Knights. Wil Queer and Gabe Tierney followed with pins as Butte High led 18-0. After a loss at 126, Anthony Liva performed the team’s and maybe the day’s greatest individual comeback. The Bulldog was also wrestling his first varsity match and trailed Hellgate 132-pounder Conner May 13-7 after two periods.
Liva worked back into the match, giving up only an escape point while countering with a near-fall and takedown. His three-point near-fall at the buzzer completed the rally and broke what had been a 14-all stalemate. Quinn Sullivan pinned at 145 to start a parade that saw falls scored by Kole McGrath at 152, Carl Anderson at 160, Kobe Moreno at 170 and Kameron Moreno at 182. Undefeated defending state heavyweight champion jeff Queer took Drekin Kelley enough times to set up a 1-minute, 47-second pin,
A bevy of forfeits by Helena High helped ease the pressure for Butte High a little bit in its second dual meet of the day. The Bengals forfeited at five weight classes while the Bulldogs left 126 pounds empty. Butte High gave little relief even with less stress. The Moreno twins both scored pins as did Wil Queer and Gabe Tierney.
The matches with Bozeman were fierce and loudly supported by a big crowd throughout a team matchup that was held in Butte High’s old gym. The bouts started at 145 pounds and the Hawks built a 12-0 lead to launch the battle. Carl Anderson’s 8-3 decision win got Butte High on the team scoreboard and then Kobe Moreno tallied a pin in 5:09 to fire up the crowd and further inspire the contestants. Moreno trailed 10-7 in the bout before flipping out of a hold for a reversal he turned into the pin.
Bozeman won a close one-point match next before Kyle Harding was workmanlike in grinding out a 9-4 win for the Bulldogs at 205 pounds. Jeff Queer put the Bulldogs ahead 18-15 with a 3:25 pin in his familiar take-him-down, let-him-up style in hunt of pin points. Wil Queer’s 1:21 pin at 103 expanded the margin to 24-15. Bozeman got a technical fall and then Tierney toughed out an 8-7 decision for Butte High. He held leads of 2-1 and 4-2 at period breaks and threw two takedowns around an escape by Bozeman’s Sterling Quinn. Bozeman was awarded three more points before the buzzer sounded with Tierney still ahead.
The score was 27-20, Butte High leading, when the Hawks gained a forfeit victory at 126 pounds and seemed to narrow the gap to a point. However, the Hawks incurred a team-point loss due to what was judged by the referee to be an unsportsmanlike action. So, the Bulldog lead was 27-25. Scout Allen was an 8-6 decision for the Bulldogs for a 30-25 advantage.
Presto Innis then tallied his pin at 1:34 against tough opposition as the Hawks edged out the win in a strong, well-contested dual meet.