Panther

Former three-time state champion Bryce Weatherston has accepted an offer to become Belgrade’s new head wrestling coach.

The hiring is pending school board approval at the July meeting.

“I’m super stoked,” said Weatherston. “I just feel like there’s a lot that hasn’t been going the right path and I truly think this is going to be a great start to hopefully a long career there.”

Weatherston replaces Sean Dellwo, who recently resigned to take the head coaching job at Bozeman. Dellwo, a former assistant coach for the Hawks, had spent the past six years at the helm during which Belgrade placed in the top 10 as a team at state each season.

Weatherston won Class A championships for Belgrade at 105, 125, and 135 pounds as a freshman, junior and senior, respectively. He finished as the state runner up at 119 as a sophomore.

Weatherston spent three years at North Idaho College — a junior college in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho — and earned NJCAA All-American honors in 2015.

After two seasons of competition, Weatherston spent a third year serving as a graduate assistant for the wrestling program while finishing up school.

That led to coaching a club program in Lakeland, Idaho before Weatherston returned to Montana to take over the club program Legends of Gold Montana. He’s been the head coach for the past five years.

“As far as coaching goes with the club stuff, it’s just a whole new level,” Weatherston said. “We have 11 month seasons. We go four to five days a week depending on tournaments schedules, and we’ll be traveling to regional, national and local tournaments within that 10-month period on almost an every weekend basis.”

Weatherston will continue to coach Legends of Gold Montana.

“It’s going to be busy, but I definitely plan on doing both,” he said. “Obviously when the high school season’s rolling I won’t be able to be as involved as much, but I don’t plan on stopping.”

Weatherston said the priority will be turning Belgrade into a highly competitive program in Class AA.

“Belgrade has been pretty famous for having one to two tough wrestlers. There’s obviously talent everywhere, and that’s not me trying to downgrade any of those kids that are in there, but standout wrestlers, ones that are winning state titles, that’s always kind of been our downfall,” Weatherston, who helped Belgrade finish as the Class A runner up in 2010, said. “There hasn’t been a structured feeder program.”

Weatherston noted the hard work that coach Marshall Carpenter has been doing in building up the middle school program, as well as Legends of Gold Montana and Big Game Wrestling Club, for preparing wrestlers for high school.

“I think we’re going to be a powerhouse. It’s just going to take a little bit of time,” he said. “I think we’re going to have success this coming, season, but I can’t wait for two or three years down the road because it’s going to be something special.”