By: Logan Parvinen
The Butte High Girls had the best state finish of their young career. After a day of literal blood, sweat, and tears, The Butte High Girls would finish second in the team standings with a total score of 156. The only team ahead of them was Billings Senior with 202 points.
After being out-qualified by Flathead in the western divisionals, the Bulldogs beat Flathead High by 29 points (127). In association with their massive success at the state tournament is their bond as a team.
“We started out as a small team of just eight girls kind of lost in all the madness. I never thought that we’d become the family we are today,” said senior Kaylee LaPier.
“It truly feels great to know you have a team to rally around,” stated senior Teya Edwards.
“This year has been the closest this team has ever been. We have been with each other through so much, and I will never forget the times I had with the team.” said senior Makenna Bazo
“These younger girls are the future of the team, and they deserve so much for the amount of practice they put into the sport.” stated senior Hayla Hoffman
All three girls won their blood round, which means they were guaranteed a spot on the podium.
Four girls wrestled in the semifinals, and one made it to the final round.
120 lb freshman Sophie Grunhuvd started her quest against Grayle Fox of Custer County. Sophie would stick to her technical style of offense and maintain control from beginning to end. Sophie would win by a score of 17-4 to send her to the championships to potentially become Butte High’s first-ever girls’ champion. The only person stopping her was a determined Taylor Lay of Helena Capital. Unfortunately for Sophie, the clock was not in her favor this match. While down 7-1 in the closing seconds of the match, Sophie was able to sink in a half-nelson and put Taylor on her back at the same moment that the final whistle blew. Sophie would come away with 2nd place in her first year with the Bulldogs.
165 lb senior Hayla Hoffman began her day against Rylee Kogolshak of Billings Senior. The match was hard-fought, but Rylee would get the upper hand after a reversal and a two-point near-fall. After her 4-0 loss to Rylee, Hayla would move on to the consolation semis, where she faced off against Abi Dyba of Custer County. Hayla was able to bounce back with a pinfall victory. To set her up for a potential 3rd place finish. Knowing it was her final match for Butte High, Hayla was fighting away tears while trying to stay focused. In her match against Amilia Blackcrow of Harlem, Hayla would win by pinfall and jump into the arms of coaches Jarrett Rowling and Geno Liva.
145 lb freshman Mattie Stepan had a run that would challenge the gladiatorial run that her brother Will had in the 145 lb boys class. After losing her first match on day one, Mattie would attempt to run the consolation gauntlet. She made it to the consolation quarterfinals yesterday. Three more wins for her to successfully finish the consolation gauntlet. In her opening match against Paisley Jaeger of Billings Senior, Mattie would be down 3-2 before getting a reversal and pinning Paisley. Mattie would then face Jasmine Cartwright of Glacier high in the consolation semis. After a rough 1st period, Mattie took a fierce approach and used aggression to her advantage. Mattie would get a reversal and three near-fall points before pinning Jasmine. Up next was the final test of the gauntlet.
Ariana Ellison of Custer County was the only girl standing in her way. In a match where she remained aggressive, Mattie jumped out to a 5-2 lead at the end of two. Her aggressiveness would be her undoing, however. Ariana would take Mattie down with good positioning to keep Mattie on her back for the pin. Not the way Mattie would have wanted her season to end, but it was such an incredible run that she deserves all the praise.
107 lb senior Kaylee LaPier had a tall task ahead of her as she faced off against returning runner-up at 103 Brooke Yeadon of Glacier High. Kaylee could not outmatch Brooke, as she would lose by pinfall. Kaylee would then face Ava Krings of Conrad, where one gutsy move proved beneficial for Ava. Kaylee would get caught in a high-arm toss and taken down for a pin. Kaylee would bounce back with a pinfall win over Brinly Youso of Flathead High to finish in 5th place. Kaylee would take a moment to soak in her final time on the mat before giving hugs to her coaches and teammates.
As a 235 lb senior, Makenna Bazo kept to the phrase “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” in reference to her head-and-arm toss. She would wrestle her blood round against Haylee Fetters of Cut Bank. Makenna chose to stay neutral to begin the second period. Makenna threw a perfect head-and-arm toss to stick Haylee on her back for the pin. Makenna then faced Marika Bonner of Billings West in the consolation semis. In a battle of strength, Marika would get the best of Makenna and win by pinfall. For the 5th/6th place match, Makenna would win by forfeit. Makenna would finish her high school career as a two-time state placer.
132 lb Neveah Grunhuvd and Teya Edwards began their day in the depths of the most stacked weight class in the girls’ division. Neveah would start her day with a tough match against returning two-time champion Amaiya Kirn who beat Teya on day one of the tournament. Neveah could not overcome the technical fortitude of Amaiya and would lose via pinfall. Her second match was against Evija Cagle of Billings Skyview, where Neveah struggled to maintain her aggressiveness and lost by pinfall. Neveah would wrestle for 5th/6th against her teammate Teya Edwards.
Teya Edwards began her day with a pin in the blood round against McKenna McCarthy of Flathead High. Teya would remain in control of each minute of the match leading up to the pin. Teya would then face Brynn Courville of Ronan, who went 33-1 on the season before the tournament. Teya would put up a fight, but not enough to overcome Brynn’s lead. Teya would lose a well-fought match 9-2. It was time for a rematch of the western divisional championship where Teya and Neveah squared off.
Neveah would end up winning by late pinfall, but it was a match fought between two close teammates who battled as if they were rivals. Teya would finish her high school chapter with a 6th place finish, whereas Nevaeh would start her chapter with a 5th place finish.
The Butte High girls’ team shined bright and will continue to shine if they continue to build as a team.
Go to Trackwrestling.com for details, stats, results, and more.
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