Bulldogs send six boys & three girls into semifinals

For some people, this weekend is meant for the Super Bowl. For Montana, this is the weekend where 904 high school wrestlers from all classes gather under one roof to compete and represent their school. The annual All-Class State Wrestling tournament kicked off on Friday and will continue until Saturday. During this two-day event, the answers to all the questions and the “See? I told you so!” to all the debates are settled.

As the night ended, the Butte High Bulldogs sat tight in 5th place for the Boys, with six in the semifinals and two in the consolation quarterfinals. The Butte High girls are in 7th place, with three in the semifinals and one in the consolation quarterfinals. Butte Central also has one wrestler in the consolations.

Girls

The girls’ team is currently tied with Cut Bank for 7th place. Four girls, all sophomores, will continue their season on Saturday. 126-lb Sophie Grundhuvd, 132-lb Nevaeh Grunhuvd, and 152-lb Mattie Stepan earned a guaranteed spot on the podium by trekking their way into the Semifinals. Peyton Liva has battled through a grueling consolation bracket to find herself in the consolation quarterfinals.

Sophie Grunhuvd started with a bye in the first round and then pinned Issabell Salois out of Cut Bank in the second round. She then pinned Emma Klingaman of Chinook to advance into the semis. Sophie will begin Saturday against Meadow Mahlmeister of Lockwood, who took 3rd place at state last year as an eighth grader.

Nevaeh Grunhuvd followed the same path as her sister. Her first match came in the second round when she pinned Aly Dinardi of Custer County (Miles City). Nevaeh then pinned Kaitlyn Johnson of Harlem in the third period to advance into the semis. Nevaeh will face a similar opponent in Makenzee Neal of Billings Senior. Nevaeh has faced Neal several times in the past year, most notably at the USAW Nationals in Omaha, NE, where Neal beat Nevaeh for fifth place.

Mattie Stepan ignited her warpath by pinning her two opponents in the first period. Her first pinfall was against Lidia D’Hooge of Fergus (Lewistown) in the second round after a first-round bye. Stepan’s quarterfinal pinfall came against 3rd-ranked Haven Ferguson of Billings Skyview. This pinfall was significant because it was a 42-second pinfall against an opponent ranked higher than Mattie. Stepans’ next opponent is against undefeated Hailey Sutton of Florence-Carlton.

Peyton Liva is the only Bulldog who will begin her Saturday on the consolation side of the bracket. After a first-round bye, Liva faced Gracie Murray of Huntley Project. Murray battled from a 9-6 deficit in the third period to beat Liva by a score of 12-9. Liva, however, battled back with three straight wins to run the consolation gauntlet. Peyton’s scorched consolation path was a forfeit win against Ciri Nice of Polson, A first-period pinfall against Lily Daniels of Red Lodge/Belfry, and a 15-5 major decision against 6th-ranked Emmalyn Miller of Baker. Liva will begin her Saturday against Serina Catt of Billings Senior.

Eight-grade 100-lb Berkli Salusso, senior 114-lb Aydin Gonzales, and freshman 185-lb Rylee Radcliffe were able to pick up wins for the Bulldogs. Billings Senior is currently in first place, followed by Custer County in second and Ronan in third. Butte High is fourth among class AA schools, trailing Billings Skyview (4th overall) and Flathead (6th overall).

The action continues Saturday, February 10th, at 9:30 a.m. with the semifinals and consolation quarterfinals. Go to trackwrestling.com for more scores, brackets, and stats.

Boys

The boys’ team is in a comfortable fifth place, but they hope to shake things up on Saturday. Flathead is sitting in first place, followed closely by Billings Senior, Great Falls High, and the reigning champs, Billings West. Six ‘Dogs have guaranteed themselves medals, with two others needing to punch through the consolation quarterfinals. 103-lb sophomore Keegan Hunt, 113-lb freshman Bradey Doyle, 132-lb sophomore Ryder McEwen, 152-lb junior Will Stepan, 160-lb senior Maverick McEwen, and 285-lb senior Kade Schleeman all advanced to the semi-finals have a chance to make it to the finals. 138-lb freshman Bode Hazlett and 113-lb eighth-grader Reveles McEwen have battled in the consolations and are one win away from a state placing.

Keegan Hunt started with a first-period pinfall against Dayton Alden of Billings Skyview. With just 7 seconds left in the third period, Hunt pinned Aiden Sweat of Glacier. The match was tied four all to begin the third period. Hunt started from the bottom position and got a surprise reversal, which stuck Sweat on his back. Hunt kept Sweat on his back for 67 seconds until the ref slammed his hand on the mat. Keegs now faces freshman juggernaut Danny Green of Billings Skyview in the semifinals. Danny Green is the grandson of former MT Tech Oredigger coach and Butte legend Bob Green.

Bradey Doyle, who has been on a tear since the AA duals in January, has continued his hot streak with a 17-1 tech-fall victory over Silas Reeves of Gallatin and a 44-second pinfall over Dayton Naldrett of Flathead. Doyle will wrestle Nolan Brown of Belgrade in the semifinals. Brown, who finished 8th at Junior Nationals last year, lost his first match of the year to Cael Floerchinger of Great Falls at eastern divisionals.

Ryder McEwen has adjusted well to the 132-pound weight class and added another state placing to his resume. A 17-second pinfall over Ethan Geagel of Great Falls and a second-period pinfall against Max DeWitt of Billings Senior have led him to the semis. Ryder faces 2022 state runner-up at 103 Tristan Vladic of Billings Senior. 

Will Stepan, who had a fantastic state tournament last year, continues to show his conditioning and technical abilities. After a major decision 15-3 victory over Carson Shaw of Gallatin, Stepan faced Gabe Rosales of Billings West. Rosales made Stepan earn his victory and pushed him to the limit. Stepan won a grueling 9-7 decision over Rosales to advance to the semifinals. Stepan will face undefeated Kale Baumann of Great Falls in the semifinals.

Maverick McEwen is looking to become a two-state champion. Last year, Maverick won the state championship in Washington. This year, he has returned to his home state to finish his inspiring story. Mav started with a 36-second pinfall over Andrew Sykes of Bozeman and followed that match with a pinfall over Colton Kuka of Flathead. Mav will now face Timmy Rodriquez of Billings Senior in the semifinals. Rodriquez gave McEwen his second loss of the season by defeating him at the AA duals by a score of 4-3.

Kade Schleeman is looking to continue the dynasty of Butte High heavyweights. Schleeman knocked off Brock Goff of Billings West and Brayden Wallace of Missoula Sentinal through second-period pinfalls. Schlee will now have a long-anticipated match against MSU Bobcats commit Hudson Wiens of Bozeman.

For the consolation bracket, eighth grader Reveles McEwen is making the most of his young career. Rev started with a pinfall victory against Quinten Maxwell of Billings Senior but was pinned in the second period by Cael Floerchinger of Great Falls. Rev then faced the 4th seed from the east, Tyler Hovland of Billings Skyview. After a late takedown in the first period, Rev took Hovland down again and pinned him midway through the second period. Rev will face Jayce Kolendich of Missoula Sentinal for a chance to make history.

Bode Hazlett is the other cardiac kid making a run through the consolation side. In the first round, Hazlett was defeated by Jack Ryan of Billings West (not the one from the Tom Clancy Book) by a score of 12-2. Bode answered back with a 35-second pin against Kai Richardson of Helena Capital. Hazlett then faced Connor Lamping of Helena High and won 9-6 as it went the distance. Hazlett will now go up against Jacob Hahner of Belgrade for a chance to stand on the podium.

120-lb freshman Bridger Garrison, 120-lb sophomore Colter Espelin, 120-lb sophomore Darryn Rossiter, 126-lb senior Grady Winston, 132-lb sophomore Joey Ward, 170-lb senior Adien Cuchine, and 182-lb sophomore Bridger Brancamp all notched a victory for the Bulldogs.

Butte Central’s 103-lb sophomore Marquise Abad hopes to be the first Maroon to stand on the podium since Clay Fisher took 5th place in 2018. Abad won his first match over Owen Wegner of Billings Central with a pinfall in the first period. Adab would lose his quarterfinal match to William Alves of Lockwood by a score of 10-7. Abad bounced back with a late first-period pinfall over Howie Gayle of Three Forks/Ennis. Tomorrow, Abad starts the event against Eli Erdahl of East Helena.

126-lb junior Devin Rossiter and 138-lb junior James Holmes each added wins, giving the Maroons their most points since 2018.

Go To trackwrestling.com for more results, stats, and scores.

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