By Bruce Sayler
Butte Central entered only three contestants in its high school wrestling mixer, but none was lost in the crowd Thursday night in the Maroon Activities Center (MAC).
Gunnar Yelenich went 2-1, Brayden Keane 1-1 and Ian Williams 1-0. All three are first-year high school wrestlers with Yelenich and Keane being freshmen and Williams, a sophomore, trying the sport after giving basketball a whirl last year. Injuries kept the Maroons’ only returnees from last year’s squad — two-time state place-winner Clay Fisher, a senior, and sophomore Cale Stillwagon on the sidelines.
“They’re young,” BC head coach Robin Moodry said of the Butte Central first-year contestants. “All three are in their first year of wrestling and they’re improving a lot. They improved a lot tonight from last week. That’ll be the name of the game until divisionals.”
Wrestlers from Stevensville, Hamilton and vaunted programs Havre and Corvallis also attended the mixer. No team scores were kept and most wrestlers got in two matches. Williams’ second one was canceled due to his opponent being injured in the previous round.
“I was happy with Ian Williams,” Moodry said after the 205-pounder scored a quick pin . “I just wished he had a second match.”
His sentiments were similar for the Maroon freshmen.
“Gunnar is an athletic kid,” Moodry said. “He hasn’t had a lot of mat time, but every time he wrestles, he improves. Brayden was pretty solid in his first match, but he came out and made a mistake in his second match and got caught. That happens. He’ll improve with experience.”
Yelenich was dominant in his win over Michael Loranger of Hamilton had 113 pounds. Yelenich led 4-1 after scoring two early takedowns and held a 6-2 advantage when he broke the Bronc in 1 minute, 35 seconds for a first-period fall. His second match didn’t go as well. Yelenich took an early lead on Hamilton freshman Hannah Hurst and grew it to 11-5 through two periods. However, Hurst was able to wear him down, caught him in a pinning combination and won in 4:39. Yelenich rebounded strongly against Hunter Velk of Havre. He never trailed in the bout. He grabbed a 4-1 lead in the first period and worked it into a 7-3 margin through two stanzas. Velk fought off pins, but Yelenich piled up points before the buzzer sounded a 13-3 win for Yelenich as he had Velk locked in a near-fall at the buzzer.
Keane methodically topped Isaiah Tracy of Havre at 126 pounds. Keane first scored a takedown, then worked it into a half-nelson for a three-point near-fall. Keane clamped down on the hold and secured the pin at 1:50. In his second match, however, Keane was caught quickly and pinned in 1:56 by Dominic Perkins of Havre.
All are still learning the consequences of not heeding coaching advice, or understanding the methods, like in positioning, Moodry noted. He said sometimes it just takes absorbing some non-success to see the message. The learning process is only natural.
The coach likes what he hopes he sees ahead for the group.
“We’ve got some scrappers,” he said, smiling. “They don’t mind getting their noses dirty. They’ll go do their bit and then they’ll come back and talk to us after the matches about what they did wrong, or to get congratulated on their success. It’s great to have athletes with open ears.”
The Butte Central wrestlers will vie in the Whitehall Duals tournament Friday and Saturday in Whitehall. Matches are to begin on Friday at 10 a.m.
Following are individual results from the Butte Central mixer (there was no team scoring):
103 pounds — Andrew Carmody, Hamilton, pinned Mark Spencer, Corvallis, 1:17. 113 — Hunter Velk, Havre, major dec. Hannah Hurst, Hamilton, 19-6. Dante Venema, Corvallis, pinned Cameron Pleninger, Havre, 5:45. 126 — Kellen Robbins, Stevensville, pinned Dominic Perkins, Havre, 3:20. 132 — Carter Brown, Corvallis, pinned Treven Mertens, Stevensville, 1:20. 132 — Randy Tommerup, Havre, pinned Joe Doane, Hamilton, 2:56. 138 — Wyatt Hanson, Havre, pinned Aaron Springer, Stevensville, 1:15. 145 — Cole Anson, Hamilton, pinned Shawn Head, Havre, 2:52. 152 — Connor Harris, Havre, pinned Bridger Williams, Hamilton, 3:30. 160 — Dylan James, Stevensville, pinned Ben Holtzen, Corvallis, 1:14. 170 — Taylor Gopher, Havre, pinned Derek Weisweaver, Corvallis, :22. 205 — Cadagen Wheat, Hamilton, pinned Bogee Zatko, Stevensville, 1:17. 285 — Josh Johnson, Havre, pinned Harley Wise, Corvallis, 3:35. 285 — Jake Woods, Stevensville, pinned Reece Buchanan, Hamilton, 1:30. 205 — Ian Williams, Butte Central, pinned Sebastian Driver, Stevensvill, :28.
103 — Mark Spencer, Corvallis, pinned Logan Bratsch, Hamilton, 2:54.113 — Hannah Hurst, Hamilton, pinned Gunnar Yelenich, Butte Central, 4:39. 125 — Dominic Perkins, Havre, pinned Brayden Keane, Butte Central, 1:56. 126 — Keegan Martin, Hamilton, pinned Isaiah Tracy, Havre, :48. 132 — Randy Tommerup, Havre, pinned Ethan Cramer, Hamilton, 1:39. 132 — Carter Brown, Corvallis, pinned Joe Doane, Hamilton, :52. 145 — Allen Allred, Corvallis, pinned Shawn Head, Havre, 2:53. 152 — Connor Harris, Havre, dec. Kyler Pancake, Stevensville, 11-5. 182 — Taylor Gopher, Havre, pinned Aidan VanOstrand, Stevensville, 4:14. 285 — Jake Woods, Stevensville, pinned Harley Wise, Corvallis, :43. 205 — Cadagen Wheat, Hamilton, pinned Austin Ratliff, Stevensville, :14. 285 — Reece Buchanan, Hamilton, pinned Josh Johnson, Havre, 1:08. 113 — Gunnar Yelenich, Butte Central, major dec. Hunter Velk, Havre, 13-3.
103 — Eiley Pleninger, Havre, pinned Logan Bartsch, Hamilton, :57. 113 — Gunnar Yelenich, Butte Central, pinned Michael Loranger, Hamilton, 1:35. 126 — Kendall Pleninger, Havre, pinned Deegan Martin, Hamilton, :22. 126 — Brayden Keane, Butte Central, pinned Isaiah Tracy, Havre, 1:51. 132 — James Wissenbach, Corvallis, pinned Ethan Cramer, Hamilton 1:14. 138 — Mark Ramirez, Havre, pinned Tristan Riel, Stevensville, 5:41. 138 — Lane Paulson, Havre, dec. Michael Golden, Hamilton, 6-3. 152 — Orion Thivierge, Havre, pinned Randon Weidow, Corvallis, 2:42. 152 — John Pruszinski, Stevensville, pinned Zach Morgan, Corvallis, :57. 160 — Kyler Pancake, Stevensville, dec. Noah Hurst, Hamilton, 7-5. 182 — Aidan VanOstrand, Stevensville, dec. Brayden Stadel, Havre, 2-0.
103 — Riley Pleninger, Havre, pinned Andrew Carmody, Hamilton, 1:06. 113 — Hunter Velk, Havre, major dec. Michael Loranger, Hamilton, 16-2. 126 — Kellen Robbins, Stevensville, pinned Kendall Pleninger, Havre, 2:04. 138 — Dante Venema, Corvallis, major dec. Mark Ramirez, Havre, 10-0. 132 — Treven Mertens, Stevensville, pinned James Wissenbach, Corvallis, 1:58. 138 — Wyatt Hanson, Havre, pinned Triston Riel, Stevensville, 5:03. 145 — Cole Anson, Hamilton, pinned Randon Weidow, Corvallis, 1:16. 152 — Orion Thivierge, Havre, pinned Bridger Williams, Hamilton, 4:32. 160 — Ben Holtzen, Corvallis, pinned John Pruszinski, Stevensville, 4:23. 160 — Noah Hurst, Hamilton, pinned Dylan James, Stevensville, 3:23.