Bulldogs send 15 to State

BOZEMAN — Butte High’s wrestlers capped off a good showing at the Eastern AA seeding meet Saturday in Bozeman, qualifying 15 Bulldogs for the State All-Class tourney next weekend in Billings – including a pair of individual champions at the marathon event.

Tommy Challeen captured the top spot in the 145-pound category, followed at 152 pounds where Bryce Armstrong earned a No. 1 seed for the big show Feb 8-9 at the Metra in Billings.

Jarret Rowling dropped a tight 6-5 championship match decision at 135 pounds to defending state 125-pound champion Justin Waterson of Billings Skyview, while Levi Renz roared to a third-place finish at 135 after falling to Waterson in a squeaker of a semifinal match.

Butte High’s Billy Robinson turned on the technique Saturday evening to score a well wrestled pin over Skyview’s Bobby Foster with just a second left in the fifth-place heavyweight match. Joey Blunt, a 125-pound senior for Butte High, also showed well with a fifth-place finish in his division.

Wyatt Merkel (160) and Lee Cannon (171) claimed sixth in their weight classes, while Ax Henningsen (119) and Cian Randall took seventh. Eighth-place finishes were recorded by Willy Shea (130), Kaleb Ferriter (140), Andre Vialpando (152), Johnny Walker (215) and Cameron Huston (285).

First-year Bulldog head coach Jim Bob Humphrey said he was pleased to be sending 15 wrestlers to State, but lamented some close matches that could have given the Bulldogs three or four more qualifiers.

“Early on I thought we had a hard time matching the intensity of our opponents,” Humphrey said, indicating that would be an area of focus in the final week of practice. “Guy St. John had a really tough draw. Nick Challeen and Andrew Anderson lost some heartbreakers on a tough day to lose matches the way they did.”

The Bulldogs came away with a relatively good draw from Friday night’s coaches meeting, led by Rowling and Renz, the No. 1 and 2 seeded wrestlers at 135 pounds. Butte High also got top seeds for Armstrong and Tommy Challeen. Humphrey explained that Rowling – Butte’s JV 135 wrestler – got the nod over Renz – the varsity Bulldog at that weight – because of winning percentages against Class AA wrestlers. Rowling recently dropped to 135 pounds.

The highlight of the tournament came in the 135-pound semifinal round, as Rowling and Renz faced off against Skyview’s Waterson and Brenton Buerkle. The matches were held on adjacent mats and began almost at the same time. Both pairs of wrestlers battled to 0-0 ties at the end of the first period, while Waterson scored an escape to break his deadlock with Renz. Buerkle turned a reversal on Rowling and held a 7-4 lead at the end of the second period.

Renz pulled an escape in the third period, and gave his all to finish a late-match double leg takedown of Waterson, but the move was ruled too late, and the grapplers went to overtime. Meanwhile, Rowling was trailing 9-6 late in his match, but his escape and late takedown sent his match into overtime as well. Rowling managed a takedown seconds into his overtime period, earning a trip to the finals. Renz shot as well, but his move was countered by Waterson, who earned the takedown and near-fall points to end the match.

The pairs traded partners for the championship and consolation finals, where Waterson held off a furious charge from Rowling to preserve the 6-5 title win. Renz, on the other hand, scored six third-period points en route to a 10-5 win over Buerkle for third place.

“Levi and Jarret haven’t had a lot of matches since coming back,” from injuries, Humphrey said, noting that the pair will be sitting relatively well with 2 and 3 seeds at State. “But they wrestled well and they have an opportunity to do something next week.”

Tommy Challeen, who is also coming back from a little time off due to rib injuries, didn’t seem to have much trouble cruising to the tournament win. Following his opening-round bye, Challeen posted wins of 8-3, 6-2 and 5-2, the last of which came against Bozeman’s Ty Johnson.

“Tommy showed a lot of focus and took care of business today,” Humphrey said. “I thought he was dominant and in control, but that’s just his style. He dished out some punishment to his opponents – they were on the defensive all day.”

Armstrong followed his 152-pound opening-round bye with a first-period pin, a 7-0 semifinal victory, and a 3-1 championship win over Max Miller of Skyview. Armstrong keyed the victory with a solid ride on top that allowed no second-period points following a first-period 0-0 deadlock. Miller allowed a free escape in hopes of gaining a takedown in the third, but Armstrong took care of that himself, hustling to gain the victory.

“Bryce’s toughness showed today,” Humphrey observed. “At times his matches didn’t allow a lot of offense. He did a nice job grinding through.”

Armstrong also did it with a little less hair than he had to start the day. Tournament officials ruled his locks were too long, so smiling coaches attacked the trainer’s bag for tape scissors, which were used by assistant coach Nick Haynes to trim the senior’s mane. Armstrong didn’t seem happy with the cut, but didn’t let it affect his wrestling, which is in top form at the right time.

Butte heavyweight Billy Robinson has been through a tough stretch of winless matches, but the senior reversed that problem to some degree Saturday – especially in his final match where he utilized a beautiful arm throw that sent Skyview’s Bobby Foster to his back. Robinson went 3-2 on the day.

“Billy and I worked on that throw briefly,” Humphrey said. “We were a little shocked when he used it, but he nailed it.”

“It was beautifully executed,” Butte assistant coach Cole Dallaserra agreed.

“The timing was good in that there was no self-inflicted damage today,” Humphrey said of his varsity heavyweight. “We’ve been preaching all year to let the matches come to him instead of forcing things and leaving himself at a disadvantage.”

Joey Blunt also scored a fifth-place finish, as he worked his way through a talented group of wrestlers at 125 pounds, including third-place finisher Jace Holman of Skyview.

“Joey put together a nice tournament,” Humphrey said. “He’s really starting to wrestle with much more consistency. I think he’s peaking at the right time.”

Humphrey also had high praise for junior Wyatt Merkel and freshman Cian Randall, both of whom qualified at 160 pounds.

“Wyatt’s had a few varsity matches, but Cian wrestled his first varsity today,” Humphrey said. “I’m tickled to death to see them perform and get to go to State.”

In addition to Butte’s 15, Great Falls High led the charge with 22 wrestlers with four champions, while Skyview had 21 qualifiers and two champions. Senior got 18 into the dance, including five champs, while CMR has 12 wrestlers and one champ. Bozeman has 17 wrestlers without a champ while West has 15 and one titlist.

Humphrey said his freshmen got key experience, while his seniors saw some hard work pay off.

“Now we have four more practices,” Humphrey said, indicating three at Butte High and a fourth Thursday in Billings. “We’ll iron out some wrinkles and try to get fired up for Friday and Saturday.”

98
First place
Brendon Vladic, BSR dec. Harrison Howe, BSR, 7-0
Third place
Tyler Meyer, GFH pinned Taylor Rambin, West, 0:50
Fifth place
Mason Misner, West dec. Jacob Gunter, Bozeman, 3-2
Seventh place
Blade Massey, GFH pinned Gavin Martin, CMR, 0:59
Semifinals
Vladic dec. Meyer, 3-1
Howe dec. Rambin, 7-6
105
First place
Jarren Komac, GFH pinned Kale Evenson, Bozeman, 0:45
Third place
Tyger Frye, BSR dec. Dillon Hoppe, West, 3-2
Fifth place
Quintel Fuchs, BSR pinned Tim Garcia, Skyview, 4:33
Seventh place
Austin Furr, GFH pinned Sam Lyda, Skyview, 1:53
Semifinals
Komac major dec. Garcia, 14-2
Evenson dec. Frye, 4-3
112
First place
Brett Ness, BSR dec. Tommy McMillen, GFH, 4-1
Third place
Trayson Marker, West dec. Kyle Taylor, Bozeman, 5-4
Fifth place
Stetson Hinebauch, Skyview pinned Riley Wavra, CMR, 0:45
Seventh place
Devyn Harris, Boz major dec. Kooper Marquart, CMR, 11-1
Semifinals
Ness major dec. Wavra, 8-0
McMillen dec. Hinebauch, 7-6
119
First place
Matt Schmidt, BSR dec. Kenton Evans, GFH, 11-4
Third place
Shylo Rambin,West win by injury default over Evan Turnquist, BSR
Fifth place
Vito DeGidio, Boz dec. Caleb Shigley, GFH, 7-0
Seventh place
Braxton Henningson, Butte win by injury default over Jake Burkhalter, Sky
Semifinals
Evans major dec. Turnquist, 10-0
Schmidt dec. Rambin, 4-0
125
First place
Casey Dobson, GFH dec. Seth James Boz, 8-4
Third place
Jace Holman, Sky pinned Nate Richardson, West, 2:15
Fifth place
Joey Blunt, Butte pinned Dylan Vies, BSR, 1:58
Seventh place
Brennon Vies, BSR pinned Danny Bennyhoff, CMR, 2:31
Semifinals
Dobson pinned Richardson, 2:59
James dec. Holman, 6-4 OT
130
First place
Austin Shupe, GFH, win by injury default over Silas Hopkins, Boz
Third place
Christian Duke, West dec. Seth Noyes, Sky, 9-3
Fifth place
Johnny LaFountain Sky pinned Cory Wegner, BSR, 4:25
Seventh place
Ben Manion, Boz major dec. Willy Shea, Butte, 13-5
Semifinals
Shupe pinned Duke, 1:36
Hopkins pinned Noyes, 2:22
135
First place
Justin Waterson, Sky dec. Jarett Rowling, Butte, 6-5
Third place
Levi Renz, Butte dec. Brenton Buerkley, Sky, 10-5
Fifth place
Jesse Johnson, CMR pinned Cole Lomas, GFH, 4:48
Seventh place
Justin Meyer, CMR pinned Tristan Gradney, West, 0:33
Semifinals
Rowling dec. Buerkley, 11-9
Waterson dec. Renz, 3-1, OT
140
First place
Seth Ehlang, Sky dec. Kessler Leonard, GFH, 6-1
Third place
Dakota McMann, GFH dec. Isaiah Yates, CMR, 8-7
Fifth place
Tyler Cortez, BSR win by injury default over Koby Reyes, West
Seventh place
Aaron Gordon, Boz pinned Kaleb Ferriter, Butte, 1:41
Semifinals
Ehlang major dec. Cortez, 12-1
Leonard wins by default over Reyes
145
First place
Tommy Challeen, Butte dec. Ty Johnston, Boz, 5-2
Third place
Gage Bentley, GFH dec. Joe Malchuski, Sky, 14-12, OT
Fifth place
Jared Dickson, CMR pinned Jace Cooley, Sky, 3:16
Seventh place
Jacob Luckey, Boz dec. Andre Vialpando, Butte, 9-2
Semifinals
Challeen dec. Malchuski, 6-2
Johnston dec. Dickson, 8-1
152
First place
Bryce Armstrong, Butte dec. Max Miller, Sky, 3-1
Third place
Hunter Gerth, West major dec. Brandon Bilbrey, GFH, 12-2
Fifth place
Walker Ferda, GFH pin Jake Marmon, CMR, 3:59
Seventh place
Ian Emborg, Sky dec. Brad Gossett, Boz, 6-2
Semifinals
Armstrong dec. Ferda, 7-0
Miller major dec. Bilbrey, 9-0
160
First place
Payton Sexe, CMR major dec. JR Slotsve, West, 14-5
Third place
Matt Dillon, Sky dec. Devin Maua, BSR, 4-1
Fifth place
Lance Massey, GFH pinned Wyatt Merkel, Butte, 2:35
Seventh place
Cian Randall, Butte won by injury default over Thomas Gutierrez, Sky
Semifinals
Sexe dec. Dillon, 13-7
Slotsve pinned Maua, 3:18
171
First place
Luke Paine, BSR major dec. Randy Keesler, GFH, 18-7
Third place
Cody Wiers, Boz dec. Jordan Jacobsen, West, 8-3
Fifth place
Travis Brugman, CMR dec. Lee Cannon, Butte, 10-9
Seventh place
Spenser Johnson, West pinned Hunter Crawford, CMR, 1:15
Semifinals
Paine pinned Brugman, 3:30
Keesler dec. Wiers, 7-6
189
First place
Jake Leinwand, West wins by injury default over Keavon Buckley, Boz
Third place
Reece Quade, Sky pinned Eric Weaver, GFH, 4:12
Fifth place
Colter Krebil, BSR dec. Matt Welch, Sky, 6-0
Seventh place
Mateo Ammatto-Cattaneo, GFH won by injury default over Jake Foster, BSR
Semifinals
Leinwand major dec. Weaver, 9-0
Buckley dec. Krebil, 9-6
215
First place
Andreas Geranios, GFH dec. Thomas Walsh, Sky, 6-5
Third place
Keyten Andersen, Boz pinned Koby Jeffers, BSR, 0:20
Fifth place
Roberto Smith, GFH won by injury default over Nick Jackson, West
Seventh place
Hunter Hart, Boz pinned Johnny Walker, Butte, 2:19
Semifinals
Walsh pinned Andersen, 1:38
Geranios dec. Jeffers, 2-1
285
First place
Chris Scott, BSR dec. Josh Felicia, Boz, 12-8
Third place
Lane Urick, GFH dec. Riley Rutschke, Sky, 6-5
Fifth place
Billy Robinson, Butte pinned Bobby Foster, Sky, 0:59
Seventh place
Kael Giebink, BSR pinned Cameron Hutson, Butte, 0:38
Semifinals
Felicia pinned Rutschke, 2:05
Scott dec. Urick, 4-3, OT 1 comment



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1 Comment

  • Old Lady Shea
    February 2, 2013, 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the coverage, PR!

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