By Pat Ryan
With just a week to go before wrestlers travel to their respective divisional tournaments, Butte Central hosted a six-team mixer Friday night at the Maroon Activities Center.
Plenty of wrestling was on tap for the fans, as athletes worked on perfecting their technique as the season nears its end.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” said Butte Central head coach Robin Moodry of his small, but talented wrestling team. “We’re healthy and ready to go.”
Moodry said his team will spend the next week working mainly on the mental aspect of the sport.
“Technically and physically, they are where they are,” he said. “But I think they are a lot further along than they were at the beginning of the year.”
Butte High head coach Cory Johnston was just happy to have a place to wrestle after Billings canceled the event that had been scheduled for this weekend. He gave his varsity wrestlers the night off, though a few asked to compete.
“This is nice and laid back,” Johnston said. “It’s a good opportunity for some of our guys to get their last matches, and for some of our guys coming off injuries, it’s a good way to get back into it. Gabe Tierney has been out for two weeks, and this is good so his first match back isn’t at divisionals.
“Also, it’s tough to put our jayvees against their varsity guys, but we need that experience because our jayvees are going to be our varsity.”
And the jayvee squad takes on extra importance this time of year, as each team may bring two wrestlers at each weight to the divisional meet.
Butte Central’s divisional meet is next Friday and Saturday in Whitefish, while Butte High travels to Bozeman next Saturday for the Eastern AA meet.
On another note, the season – and career – came to an end for Kevin McCaughey, who decided to hang it up after 15 years of officiating.
“My knees and hips were telling me it was time,” said McCaughey, who “Officiated from USAW up through the Double A, and everything in between.”
McCaughey said the relationships he developed over the years has been the best part of the job.
Now he can sit back and watch, right?
“Yeah, that and now I can yell at the referees,” he said with a smile.