Kip Pumnea and Mason Christian reach semifinals

Kip Pumnea and Mason Christian reach semifinals


By: Logan Parvinen

Day one of the All-Class State Wrestling tournament is complete. A day that ended with kids falling asleep in their parent’s arms and coaches waiting for their second wind. The final whistle for the Bulldogs blew at 9:05 pm.

On the boys’ side, it was a day filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

“We did alright today,” said Butte High head coach Cory Johnston. “It was a day filled with ups and downs. We had some matches that went down to the wire that didn’t go our way. I’m proud of how these kids performed today either way.”

Coach Johnston clapped and praised each one of his wrestlers regardless of whether or not they won.

Butte High currently sits in 6th place in the team standings with 76 points. Flathead High currently leads with 150.5 points. Close behind them is Billings West with 145 points.

The Butte High boys have Kip Pumnea at 132 and Mason Christian at 285, the two unbeaten wrestlers heading into tomorrow’s semifinals.

Kip Pumnea began his day with a pinfall victory over Jacob Wagner of Billings Skyview. He ended his day with a 14-4 major decision over the 3rd seed in the east, Colby Reichenback of Billings West. Kip was ahead 4-1 going into the 3rd period. After a reversal to start the round, he got three straight takedowns after letting Colby up three times. Kips’ semifinal match is against the one-seeded Jace Komac of Great Falls High.

Mason Christian, at 285, was in control in both matches. Mason’s first match against JD McWalter of Gallatin High by way of pinfall after being ahead 17-5 at the time of his pinfall. Mason’s next match was against Paul Mousel of Helena Captial. Mason was able to pick up another second pinfall victory. Mason with start his second day against Maxx Lee of Billings Senior.

Eight more Butte High boys are still kicking in the consolation quarterfinals.

103-pound freshman Keegan Hunt opened his day with a pinfall victory over Griffin Fosdal. His second-round matchup was against the 4th seed for the east Cody Westlake. Keegan was up 6-4 in the 3rd period when Cody got a fast takedown to tie it up six each. With both kids gassed, Cody got an overtime escape to win the match. Keegan finished his night with a pinfall win over Aiden Sweat of Glacier High to advance to the consolation quarterfinals. Keegan kicks off tomorrow’s action against Eli Frisino of Bozeman.

113-pound freshman Ryder McEwen started his day with a pin over Jackson Roby of Billings West. Ryder would end up facing Logan Younkin of CMR in the second round. Logan, who took 3rd at state last year at 113, ended up getting the best of Ryder and defeating him 11-2. Ryder would bounce back with a pinfall over Zane Gehring of Helena High. Ryder starts his second day against Jayden Simmons of Helena Capital.

132-pound senior Reid Whitlock faced Jaxsyn Baker of Billings Skyview. Baker would get the best of Reid and win by a score of 14-5. Reid would win his consolation match over Colin Mehrens of Helena High in a 6-5 nailbiter. Reid then faced the western 5th seed Cash Corbally. Cash had Reid beaten 12-4; however, Cash would pick up three penalties leading to a DQ win for Reid. The Butte senior starts his quarterfinals against Gannon Wisher of Flathead High. Gannon beat Reid at the western divisionals to pick up the western 3rd seed.

138-pound senior Bryton Hardesty defeated Eli Oakland in the first round by a score of 8-4. After a late pinfall loss to the 2022 126 3rd-placer Demitri Saliaris of Billings Senior, Bryton would pick up a pinfall against Boston Lay of Helena Capital. Bryton faces Jack Montoya of Bozeman in his consolation quarterfinal.

145-pound sophomore Will Stepan lost to Great Falls Highs Kale Baumann, a returning state placer, in the first round by a 3rd period pinfall. Will would bounce back and pick up a 14-4 victory over Teancum Palmer of Great Falls High. Will would then go on to defeat the much taller Ethan Jarrett of CMR after an escape with 9 seconds left in the 3rd and final period to win 8-7.

160-pound junior Trey Hansen would start his day with a hard-fought win over Cayden Doran of CMR after a last-second takedown would break the tie giving him an 8-6 decision victory. Trey would then face last year’s runner-up at 160 Gabe Lake of Flathead High. Gabe would end up getting the best of Trey by way of pinfall. Trey would keep his second-day hopes alive after a pinfall win over Tucker McKay, the 6th seed from the east out of Gallatin High. Trey will start his day two against the 4th seed from the west, Tynan Krause from Flathead High.

205-pound senior Cohen Grunhuvd had a day that started roughly but got better as the day progressed. After a first-round loss to Tayshawn Eagle Feathers of Billings West, Cohen battled back by pinning Terran Brose of Missoula Big Sky. Cohen would face off against Tuff Adams in a rematch from last week. Cohen would find his groove by defeating Tuff 11-6. Cohen will face Conor Leduc of Flathead High in the consolation quarterfinals.

285-pound junior Kade Schleeman would win by forfeit in round one. Kades’ first official match was against the 2nd seed in the east, Maxx Lee of Billings Senior. Kade and Maxx would go into overtime with the score tied 1-1. Maxx would then score a two-point near fall, but not before Kade would score a reversal. Maxx would find a way to score an escape with two seconds remaining in the first OT. Maxx would start from the bottom, escape and hang on to win a hard-fought battle between two strong and conditioned heavyweights. Kade would put the second-round match in his rearview as he defeated Brayden Wallace of Missoula Sentinal via pinfall. Kade will face off against a familiar foe in Paul Mousel of Helena Capital in the conso-quarterfinals

103 lb sophomore Tyrese LeProwse, 126 lb junior Grady Winston, 160 lb sophomore Jake Bailey, and 205 lb senior Kale “Red” Schonsberg would each pick up victories to help in Butte’s scoring. These four kids wrestled their hearts out and gave it everything they had. Unfortunately, their state tournament was cut short.

113 lb freshman Joey Ward, 120 lb freshman Colter Espelin, 120 lb sophomore Ben Tierney, 126 lb eighth-grader Jaeger Hansen, 145 lb sophomore Karson Pumnea, and 152 lb junior Derek Averyt all participated in the big one and show that there’s a bright future in store for Butte High.

Butte Central had Jack Holmes at 103, and James Holmes at 132 participate in class A. These two also show a bright future for the Maroons.

Go to Trackwrestling.com for more results, details, and tournament stats.

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