BOZEMAN – It was an uphill start for Butte High’s wrestling team, but the Bulldogs made the best of a tough situation at the first day of the annual Tom LeProwse Invitational Friday in Bozeman.
Butte High’s wrestlers faced No. 1 or No. 2 seeds in seven of the first 13 matches, as the seeding criteria favored wrestlers who did well at last year’s LeProwse tourney and wrestlers who fared well at state last spring. Butte High had neither, so they suffered a tough start, with just three first-round wins.
“We were behind the 8-ball right off,” Butte High head coach Cory Johnston said Friday night. “I told the kids that after that round they should look at it as a one-loss-elimination tournament.”
And yes, Butte High had a tough first round, but did have two wrestlers make it through the first day still in contention for a place on the podium. Ax Henningsen, who over the holidays dropped from 138 to 132 pounds, and Tyler Casey, who went down from 113 to 103, are both still in action in the wrestlebacks.
To give an indication of the level of competition – which includes teams from Wyoming, all 14 Class AA schools and some of the top teams from other classes around Montana – Butte’s Kaleb Ferriter’s only two losses on the day came at the hands of the No. 1- and No. 2- ranked wrestlers in his weight class.
“That was a tough way to start,” Johnston reiterated. “I teach math, and the odds of getting the draw we did is pretty slim. But overall we had a pretty good day. We got a bunch of kids in through the back door.”
Johnston noted that all his JV and varsity wrestlers get another shot at some competition Saturday with a second-chance tournament.
Wrestlebacks are slated to begin at 9 a.m. at the Bozeman High gym.