Bryce Weatherston wasn’t making excuses, but Belgrade’s first-year head coach acknowledged that injuries played a major factor in a disappointing performance at the state Class AA tournament.
Three of the team’s top contenders were hit with some bad luck, and only one wrestler made the finals, as the Panthers finished 12th in the team standings with 57 points at Flathead High School in Kalispell.
“Started off on a pretty good high note,” Weatherston said. “Everybody was winning the matches they needed to all the way up to the injury. At the end of the day no excuses, it is what it is, it’s part of the sport.”
Oden Currier (145) was the first to go down, while Xaden Cunningham (205) and Carter Schmidt (132) followed. All three were expected to earn individual medals and Schmidt was the only one who still managed to place.
The team’s lone finalist was Colton Gutenberger, who placed second at 113. The sophomore pinned Flathead’s Aden Kleinhenz in the second round Friday and then won a 5-0 decision against Billings Senior’s Demetrious Salarias in the quarterfinals.
“Mason wrestled really tough all the way through the semis,” noted Weatherston.
Gutenberger beat Butte’s Maverick McEwen in the semifinals Saturday morning before losing to Billings West’s Jase Van Pelt 4-2 in the championship match. Weatherston noted that Gutenberger lost the match after twice being penalized for stalling, but praised his effort.
“Colton rose to the occasion,” Weatherston said. “He didn’t even place last year and he made the finals this year, so he definitely rose to the occasion and won the matches he needed to win.”
Prior to the finals, Belgrade’s hard luck struck in the quarterfinals. Currier suffered a high ankle sprain in a 14-4 defeat to Butte’s Anthony Liva, and then he was pinned in the wrestlebacks by Billings West’s Gavin Stodmeister.
“It’s unfortunate, things happen,” said Weatherston. “In my opinion, I think Oden’s the second toughest kid in that weight class and it’s a bummer when it doesn’t go your way.”
Schmidt pinned his first two opponents, Helena’s Ian Mehrens and Butte’s Kip Pumnea, but entered the tournament dealing with a muscle strain in his back that kept him out of practice for several days. The injury caught up with the sophomore in the semifinals as he lost a 6-5 decision to Flathead’s Asher Kemppainen.
Schmidt was then forced to withdraw from the tournament and would up placing sixth. He was the state runner up at 113 pounds as a freshman.
“We knew that it was going to be tough and tried to push him through it, and you could tell,” said Weatherston. “He wasn’t wrestling like his normal self.”
Xaden Cunningham was also forced to withdraw following a quarterfinal loss in a controversial match against Billings Skyview’s Dillen Barrington. Cunningham had missed much of the season due to a concussion and suffered another after being thrown on head and shoulders twice in the bout.
“It was a crazy match. A little bit of foul play honestly,” said Weatherston. “We (Cunningham) got thrown into a few chairs, we got thrown into the table scorecard, there were just so many scenarios that I just couldn’t believe were happening. The kid wasn’t getting any repercussions from what was going on.”
Mason Gutenberger placed fourth at 126 after going 3-2 in the tournament, while 11 of Belgrade's 13 wrestlers won at least one match.
Flathead won the team title with 247 points, while Billings Senior (239.5) and Great Falls (192) rounded out the top three.
Cohenour, Linville win Class ‘B’ titles
Brayden Linville became the first-ever state champion at Three Forks Saturday and less than an hour later Coy Cohenour became the second. The duo completed unbeaten seasons, too, which was another first for the fourth-year program.
Linville finished with a 22-0 record en route to winning the 103-pound title at the state Class B-C tournament in Shelby. Cohenour boasted a 20-0 record en route to winning the 160-pound crown.
Led by those two, Three Forks placed third in the team standings with 91 points. Glasgow won a second consecutive championship with 181 points, while Huntley Project was second with 151. Manhattan finished with seven points.
Linville pinned his first opponent in 18 seconds and then won a 6-0 decision against teammate Cole Rogers in the quarterfinals. The freshman defeated Conrad’s Logan Van Dyke in the semifinals 9-4, and then beat Jefferson’s Leo Anderson 7-1 in the finals.
Cohenour pinned his first two opponents and then won by injury default in the semifinals. He capped the tournament with a 7-5 victory against Huntley Project’s Wylee Lindee in the finals.
Four of Three Forks’ six wrestlers placed in the tournament with Levi Wagner and Rogers taking fourth at 138 and 103 pounds, respectively. Rogers pinned three of his opponents and Wagner had two.
While they didn’t place, Chase Kirkland (126) and Dylan Kamps also each won a match for the Wolves.
Rogers, who finished the season with an 18-9 record, went 4-2 over the weekend, while Wagner (21-6) had a 3-2 record.
Manhattan had just two wrestlers compete in Cyrus Richardson and Mathias Holen at 160 and 285, respectively. Richardson was forced to pull out of the tournament due to an injury, while Holen finished 2-2 with a pair of pins.
Editor’s note: In addition to crowning the program’s first-ever state champions, Three Forks brought home its first-ever trophy from the state tournament.
State AA Tournament
(at Kalispell Flathead High School)
Team scores: Kalispell Flathead 247, Billings Senior 239.5, Great Falls 192, Billings West 186, Butte 147, Helena Capital 128, Billings Skyview 98.5, Missoula Sentinel 81.5, Great Falls CMR 78, Kalispell Glacier 68, Missoula Big Sky 62.5, Belgrade 57, Helena 40, Bozeman 35.5, Bozeman Gallatin 28, Missoula Hellgate 8.
103 - Championship: Keyan Hernandez, West, m.d. Trey Whitlock, Butte, 8-0. Third place: Junior Madrid, Senior, p. Caleb O’Shae, Helena, 1:58. Fifth place: Canyon Mullaney, Butte, d. Cooper Samson, Great Falls, 8-7.
113 - Championship: Jase Van Pelt, West, d. Colton Gutenberger, Belgrade, 4-2. Third place: Demetrious Salarias, Senior, def. Holden Howe, Senior. Fifth place: Maverick McEwen, Butte, m.d. Hunter Rahn, Capital, 9-0.
120 - Championship: Teegan Vasquez, Glacier, m.d. Jalen Vladic, Senior, 8-0. Third place: Hunter Ketchem, Skyview, p. Cade Gardner, Flathead, 1:41. Fifth place: Kyle Ard, Senior, p. Logan Stansberry, Flathead, 3:35.
126 - Championship: Ethan Freund, Flathead, d. Jesse Aarness, West, 5-3 OT
Third place: Logan Cole, Senior, d. Mason Gutenberger, Belgrade, 4-2, OT. Fifth place: Keagan Gransberry, Butte, d. Bryson Danzinger, Sentinel, 6-3.
132 - Championship: Izzy Moreno, Big Sky, d. Asher Kemppainen, Flathead, 10-3. Third place: Idren Peak, Senior, d. Talen Barrington, Skyview, 6-2. Fifth place: Kip Pumnea, Butte, won by injury default over Carter Schmidt, Belgrade.
138 - Championship: Carson DesRosier, Capital, d. RJ Lowdog, West, 3-1. Third place: Mason Huber, Great Falls, m.d. Anders Thompson, Flathead, 11-0. Fifth place: Dylan Emborg, Skyview, p. Jackson Bakken, Sentinel, 1:00.
145 - Championship: Avery Allen, Bozeman, p. Irish Furthmyre, Great Falls, 2:13. Third place: Gabe Lake, Flathead, p. Cade Troupe, Flathead, 1:38. Fifth place: Anthony Liva, Butte, d. Jesse Horner, Sentinel, 8-4.
152 - Championship: Drake Rhodes, West, d. Fin Nadeau, Flathead, 7-2. Third place: Paolo Salminen, Skyview, d. Felix Petersen, Gallatin, 6-5. Fifth place: Calvin Carroll, Great Falls, d. Wyatt Schneider, Capital, 9-3.
160 - Championship: Hunter Meinzen, Big Sky, d. Noah Poe-Hatten, Flathead, 5-1.Third place: Shawn Miller, Senior, p. Isaiah Murch, Senior, 4:20. Fifth place: Archie Lafurge, CMR, m.d. Donovan Mahoney, Great Falls, 11-0.
170 - Championship: Thomas Klepps, Senior, d. Brendan Lockart, Great Falls, 11-4. Third place: Chase Youso, Flathead, p. Gabriel Price, CMR, 3:25. Fifth place: Dylan Graham, Capital, d. Justice Seamons, Helena, 10-4.
182 - Championship: Liam Swanson, Great Falls, md. Chris Garcia, Wesr, 16-3. Third place: Mason Christian, Butte, m.d. Nick Bodge, CMR, 21-11. Fifth place: Kristopher Musick, Sentinel, won by injury default over Ryan Nelson, Flathead.
205 - Championship: Noah Kovick, Capital, d. Elijah Davis, Great Falls, 5-1. Third place: Zac Crews, Sentinel, d. Dillen Barrington, Skyview, 4-3. Fifth place: Charlie Desmarais, Senior, p. Gaige Winter, Flathead, :52.
285 - Championship: Ethan Deroche, Great Falls, p. Jaydn Hoff, West, 1:23. Third place: Keaton Pouliot, Capital, won by injury default over Zack Tierney, Butte. Fifth place: Rocco Beccari, Glacier, won by forfeit over Talon Marsh, Capital.
State B-C Tournament
(at Shelby High School)
Team scores: Glasgow 181, Huntley Project 151, Circle 96, Three Forks-Ennis 91, Fairfield-Augusta 78, Cut Bank 73, Eureka 72.5, Colstrip 72, Thompson Falls-Noxon 70, Jefferson 68, Malta 55.5, Columbus-Absarokee-Park City 55, Whtiehall 53.5, Plains-Hot Springs 48, Anaconda 44, Cascade 42, Conrad 41, Fort Benton-Big Sandy 40.5, Chinook 32, Simms 32, Florence-Carlton 31, Forsyth 30, Poplar 30, Red Lodge 27, Bigfork 23, Choteau 23, Broadus 20, Shepherd 20, White Sulphur Springs 20, Baker 18, Shelby 18, Superior-Alberton 16, Harlem 10, St. Ignatius-Charlo 10, Wolf Point 9, Townsend 7, Manhattan 7, Arlee 5, Great Falls Central 0, Deer Lodge 0.
103 - Championship: Brayden Linville, Three Forks-Ennis, d. Leo Anderson, Jefferson, 7-1. Third place: Logan Van Dyke, Conrad, d. Cole Rogers, Three Forks-Ennis, 8-6. Fifth place: Trevor O’Hara, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, p. Riley Davis, Baker, 4:30.
113 - Championship: Gavin Nedens, Huntley Project, d. Jake Kuka, Glasgow, 4-0. Third place: Nathan Blodnick, Anaconda, p. Dylan Mikesell, Jefferson, 4:59. Fifth place: Max Giles, Fairfield-Augusta, p. Jacob Prescott, Florence-Carlton, 4:43.
120 - Championship: Cooper Lane, Huntley Project, m.d. Riley Devries, Red Lodge, 15-6. Third place: Tugg Taylor, Circle, d. Decker Milender, Superior-Alberton, 6-0. Fifth place: Jase Frederick, Poplar, d. Drew Carey, Plains-Hot Springs, 5-1. 126 - Championship: Kyle Durden, Eureka, d. Miguel Ramos, Fairfield-Augusta, 9-5. Third place: Krayle Stormer, Circle, d. Peter Casey, Plains-Hot Springs, 10-4. Fifth place: Dayne Sullivan, Simms, p. Cameron Mikesell, Malta, 1:24. 132 - Championship: Trae Thilmony, Thompson Falls-Noxon, d. Gunnar Smith, Eureka, 7-4. Third place: Tommy Sawyer, Anaconda, d. Bryson Bartelson, Circle, 8-1. Fifth place: Dawson Powers, Whitehall, won by forfeit over Tyler Niles, Shepherd.
138 - Championship: Camron Reilly, Forsyth, d. Roper Mycke, Conrad, 10-5. Third place: Cooper Cook, Columbus-Absarokee-Park City, p. Levi Wagner, Three Forks-Ennis, 3:22. Fifth place: John Armstrong, Jefferson, d. Weston Timberman, Columbus-Absarokee-Park City, 3-1.
145 - Championship: Zach Valdez, Colstrip, d. Canyon Casterline, Circle, 11-5. Third place: Brady Ellison, Columbus-Absarokee-Park City, p. Eli Ratliff, Thompson Falls-Noxon, 3:52. Fifth place: Mathwe Larson, Cut Bank, m.d. Devon Nesbitt, Glasgow, 14-3.
152 - Championship: Colten Fast, Glasgow, m.d. Cole Becker, Circle, 12-2. Third place: Dallen Hoover, Whitehall, p. Garrett Sholley, Huntley Project, 2:07. Fifth place: Ty Curry, Cut Bank, won by injury default over Jonny Chamberlin, Florence-Carlton.
160 - Championship: Coy Cohenour, Three Forks-Ennis, d. Wylee Lindeen, Huntley Project, 7-5. Third place: Camryn Mears, Malta, p. Max Hannum, Thompson Falls-Noxon, 1:26. Fifth place: Miguel Perez, Fairfield-Augusta, won by injury default over Damien Nesbitt, Glasgow.
170 - Championship: Austin Vanek, Cut Bank, p. Kyler Hallock, Glasgow, 3:57. Third place: Cylar Taylor, White Sulphur Springs, d. Tyler Schoen, Chinook, 9-3. Fifth place: Connor Sawyer, Cascade, p. Dakota Holbrook, Broadus, 2:11.
182 - Championship: Rylin Burns, Colstrip, p. Stran Selman, Huntley Project, 1:22. Third place: Cameron Brusven, Shelby, p. Cooper Larson, Glasgow, 3:51. Fifth place: Dane Chojnacky, Thompson Falls-Noxon, d. Mason Garfield, Wolf Point, 6-3 OT.
205 - Championship: Dylan Nieskens, Glasgow, p. Cade Buchanan, Huntley Project, 1:22. Third place: Carter Morgan, Choteau, p. Kolter Bouma, Fairfield-Augusta, 1:54. Fifth place: Lane Hinderager, Simms, p. Johnny Fehr, Eureka, 2:14.
285 - Championship: Mayson Phipps, Glasgow, p. Caden Crowell, Cascade, 1:46. Third place: Jaden Keeling, Malta, p. Wyatt Dunbar, Chinook, 4:14. Fifth place: Brock Hanford, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, m.d. Jacob Berger, Poplar, 8-0.