Butte High sends 4 girls to semifinals

Butte High sends 4 girls to semifinals
Butte Highs Hayla Hoffman wins a match at the METRA on Friday at the State Tourney in Billings. (Photo by Logan Parvinen for Butte Sports.)


By: Logan Parvinen

At the end of day one, the Butte High girls’ wrestling team currently sits in 3rd place with 96 points. Just eight points ahead of them is Flathead High at 104. The current leader in the team rankings is Billings Senior at 119 points.

Coach Geno Liva had high praise for the performance of his team.

“Today felt pretty solid.” said coach Liva. “We went out and won crucial matches for us to stay in contention. We put our nose to the grindstone and made the most out of it.”

The four girls who remain unbeaten after day one of competition are senior Kaylee LaPier, freshman sisters Sophie Grunhuvd and Nevaeh Grunhuvd, and senior Hayla Hoffman.

After a first-round bye, 107 lb Kaylee Lapier would win her next two matches with late pinfalls. Kaylees’ first match was against Ava Shooks of Cut Bank. After controlling the early stages of each period, Kaylee would get the late pinfall victory. Rinse and repeat for her second match against Blake Follette of Poplar. Kaylee was able to keep her opponents grounded while staying consistently active for all periods.

Not only is she a great wrestler, but she is also a great cheerleader for her younger sister Jessie. Kaylees’ opponent in the semifinals is the 2022 runner-up at 103, Brooke Yeadon of Glacier High.

120 lb Sophie Grunhuvd has stuck to her tradition of winning. After going 27-2 on the season, Sophie is just one of many Grunhuvds who represent Butte on the wrestling mat, whether that be high school, middle school, or AAU youth. After a first-round bye, Sophie would face Temree Payne-Taylor of Glacier High. Sophie was able to get a quick takedown before getting the pin. Sophie would then go on to face Rebel Montanez of Frenchtown. Sophie got a takedown and a three-point near-fall before the end of the 1st period. With Sophie on top to start the 2nd period, Sophie was able to bring Rebel to her back for the pinfall quickly.

Sophie’s semifinal match is against Custer County eighth grader Grayle Fox.

Much like her sister, 132 lb Nevaeh was dominant on day one of the tournament. Nevaeh is the more aggressive wrestler while Sophie is more about fluency and technique. After a first-round bye, Nevaeh picked up a quick pinfall victory over Etta Wicks of Fort Benton. Nevaeh’s quarterfinal match was against Jocelyn Covington. After a takedown in the first period, Nevaeh would deliver one of the most brutal cross faces I’ve seen from a wrestler, both boys and girls. The cross face set the tone as she would win her match by a score of 13-2.

Nevaeh hopes to avenge the loss of her teammate Teya Edwards as she faces defending 2x champion Amaiya Kirn of Sidney/Fairview.

Returning 3rd place winner from last year’s 205 lb class is Hayla Hoffman. Now in the 165 lb class, Hayla has already guaranteed her spot on the podium for a 2nd consecutive year. This year, however, Hayla is not looking to end up on the consolation side of the bracket. After a first-round bye, Hayla would defeat Josie Stinebach of Powell County via pinfall in 46 seconds. Hayla would then face Logan Hughes of Darby in the quarterfinals. After getting taken down, Hayla would find a way to get the reversal and tilt her for a two-point near fall. Hayla would effectively get the pinfall victory to move onto the semis.

Hayla will face Rylee Kogolshak of Billings Senior in the semifinals. Rylee took 3rd place in last year’s state tournament at 170.

Three wrestlers remain in the tournament on the consolation side of the bracket.

132 lb senior Teya Edwards started her day with a bye. In her second-round match, Teya squared up against Tyaisha Dietz of Baker. A classic takedown and pin was the result for Teya, which advanced her to the next round. Teya would then face off against defending 2x champ Amaiya Kirn, where she would put up a valiant effort but eventually lose by pinfall. The loss did not slow her down one bit. Teya faced Lanie Russell of Helena High and walked away victorious by pinfall.

Teya will face off against McKenna McCarthy of Flathead High for a chance to qualify for the podium.

145 lb freshman Mattie Stephan took a similar route that her brother Will took to get to the consolation quarterfinals. A first-round bye was proceeded by a pinfall loss to Aubree Erickson of Havre. Mattie was then able to gather herself and flip a switch. Mattie went three for three in the consolations with all three coming by way of pinfall. The first pinfall was over Samantha Larson of Columbia Falls. The second pinfall was against Morgan Feist of Simms where she was down 15-7 in the third before a quick reversal and pin would help her advance. The third pinfall came against McKenna Jones of Conrad.

Mattie will face off against Paisley Jaeger of Billings Senior in the quarterfinals.

235 lb senior and returning 4th place winner from last year’s state tournament, Makenna Bazo used her viscous head-and-arm to help her make it to the consolation quarterfinals. A first-round bye would set her up to face Kittalla Wise of CMR in the second round. Makenna would come away with the pinfall while having to come from behind to get it. Makenna went on to face Evy Mackey from Billings West where one overextension by Makenna would help Evy come away with the pinfall. In what seems to be a good tune for the wrestlers of Butte High, don’t let your past interfere with your present. Makenna would then make short work of Teaka Mahlmeister of Billings Senior with a 46-second pinfall victory.

Makenna will go up against Haylee Fetters of Cutbank for a chance to advance to the consolation semifinals.


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