By Bruce Sayler
Butte Central goes into the 2018-19 high school wrestling season as a party of five with longtime head coach Robin Moodry ably manning the program controls.
The Maroons will crack the seal on the new campaign this weekend at the Havre Invitational tournament, which has its first round set for 1 p.m. on Friday and second-day action starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in the Havre High School gymnasium.
“After Havre, we’ll know what we need to learn,” Moodry said.
What the BC coach knows already is that he has at least one bona fide state championship contender in the locker room with senior Clay Fisher on the roster. Fisher is a two-time state Class A place-winner, a runner-up as a sophomore and fifth place last year at 126 pounds. Fisher is also coming off a football season that saw him earn All-State first-team honors at running back. Moodry has him penciled in at 138 pounds, right now.
Fisher and sophomore 145-pounder Cale Stillwagon are the only Butte Central wrestlers with previous high school mat experience. Stillwagon made his varsity debut last season.
“Clay and Cale were with us last year and they’re back in and doing well,” Moodry said. “All are doing well. It’s a learning process. “We’re working on technique and conditioning in the beginning of the year. We’ll be busting it in the middle. Getting in shape is the goal, right now.”
Fisher and Stillwagon have company. Sophomore 205-pounder Ian Williams turned out for the team this year, and a pair of freshmen — 113-pounder Gunnar Yelenich and 126-pounder Brayden Keane — also joined.
Moodry said neither Fisher nor Stillwagon will be available to wrestle this weekend.
“My new guys are going to wrestle,” Moodry said, adding that Keane and Yelenich both trained at him in the Butte Central Junior High program last season.
“One way to find out what it’s about is to go out and wrestle,” the coach said about his young team members’ looming debuts. “Then, we can zone in after the first competition and work on things where and as we need. I don’t know if the new guys know what to expect, but they’re going to find out.”
He said the newcomers are good prospects with Williams’ athletic ability he showed as a starting varsity lineman in football, and the work both Keane and Yelenich began at the junior high level.
“I’m proud of the kids working hard in practice,” Moodry said. “They’re doing everything they’re supposed to — the mental side, the technique side. It takes time to put it all together.
“They’ll get to see and wrestle some good kids this weekend. We’ll go from there.”
Andrew Holmes is back for another year assisting Moodry with the Maroons.