Despite competing with just eight wrestlers, Manhattan placed fifth Saturday at the Southern B/C Divisional tournament in Cascade.
The Tigers tallied 91 points and qualified four grapplers for the state tournament. Whitehall won the team title with 203 points, while Townsend and Columbus/Absarokee/Park City rounded out the top three with 173 and 159, respectively.
Leading the charge for Manhattan was Forrest Fairbanks and Coltin Siphakis, who won divisional championships at 126 and 145 pounds, respectively.
Fairbanks pinned all three of his opponents en route to the title, while Siphakis won his first three matches by fall before notching a 6-1 decision against Whitehall’s Dallen Hoover in the finals.
The Tigers’ other state qualifiers were Garrit Weeda and Cyrus Richardson, who placed third and fourth, respectively at 160.
“We had a good week of practices leading up to divisionals and everyone wrestled with a lot of heart. Coltin and Forrest in particular showed how technically sound they are,” Manhattan coach Patrick Hutchins said. “There were some very close matches, particularly with Porter (Blanchard), that if they would have gone in the other direction would have vaulted us even further up the team rank. Both Porter and his opponents wrestled tough, but they edged him out this weekend.”
Blanchard placed sixth at 126, while Isaac Richardson was sixth at 152. The top four in each weight class advanced to state Feb. 14-15 in Billings.
“My only expectations for state are that these guys believe that they can be champions and then put everything they have into their matches. I believe they can do it and good things generally come out of that mentality,” said Hutchins. “Regardless of what happened this weekend or what will happen next weekend, I am extremely proud of the whole team for how hard they have worked and I know that, regardless of the achievements, nothing can take away the personal growth that they have undergone these past few years.”
In other action at the tournament, Three Forks finished ninth in the team standings with 43 points and qualified two for state.
Levi Wagner placed third at 132, while Dylan Kamps was fourth at 126. Chase Kirkland was fifth at 120.
Kamps went 4-2 on the day with three victories by fall, while Kamps was 3-1 with three pins.