Every season the Havre High wrestling team puts together one of the more daunting schedules in the state, in any class. But this weekend kicks off the toughest stretch the Central A Blue Ponies will see.
ual Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic wrestling tournament in Missoula always brings in the top teams in the state. And with that said, Missoula is where the No. 2 Class A Ponies will be wrestling Friday and Saturday.
Last season, the Ponies finished in fourth place with 152 points in Missoula. Wrestling very well all season long this year, the Ponies will look to better that finish this weekend. It won’t be easy to do against a pool of talent that includes teams like Great Falls High, Mead of Spokane, Kalispell Glacier, Corvallis, Bozeman, University High of Spokane, Central Valley of Spokane, Missoula Sentinel, Helena High, Butte, Belgrade, Polson, Columbia Falls, Missoula Big Sky, Helena Capital, Libby, Kalispell Flathead, Frenchtown, Lake City, Clarkston, Lewistown, Ronan, CMR, Ferris of Spokane, Missoula Hellgate, Hamilton and Superior.
But the Ponies will be limited in what they can do team-wise, as they are open at several weights, and have only a couple returning placers.
“We have prepared no different for this than any other tournaments,” Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. “We have been pounding all week in practice. We kind of backed off today (Wednesday), but we will probably go one more week like this, where we just keep pushing it.
“But we just want these guys to do as well as they can,” Filius added. “We aren’t too concerned with the team aspect as much as I am concerned with each individual. I think that with the guys we have, we will make some noise. We will be too short in the long run because we have too many holes, but you always want to maximize your output.”
Last season, the only HHS wrestler to win an individual title was current MSU-N freshman Eli Hinebauch. Grayson Brenna and Grant Pattison are the only two returning placers for the Ponies. Brenna placed third at 98 pounds, while Pattison placed fourth at 171 pounds. Currently, Brenna is ranked No. 2 in the state at 105 pounds and Pattison is ranked No. 1 at 189-pounds.
Brenna and Pattison should have another standout weekend, while the rest of the HHS lineup should also look for statement wins and places.
Joining Brenna and Pattison will be Keegan Kennelly (98), Dylan Stewart (112), Gunnar Aageson (135), Kody Pribyl (140), Jordan Schroeder (152), JT Belcourt (160), Jake Williams (171), Tyler Adams (215), and Dustin Odegard (HWT). HHS will be open at 119, 125, 130 and 145 this weekend.
This tournament comes at a crucial time in the Ponies’ season. Next weekend, the Ponies will compete in the Class A Duals, and just around the corner from that comes a handful of duals, then divisionals and state. And depending on how the Ponies do this weekend, coach Filius should have a very good idea of where his team stands, and what they have to work on moving forward. More importantly, this weekend, as well as the next few weekends coming up, HHS should get a very good look at the teams that are going to give them the biggest fun for their money at the Class A state tournament in Billings.
“We do see a lot of kids from western Montana,” Filius said. “That is why we travel all the way down there, for that exposure. We will see them at state, and I would love to have our guys compete well against them.”
The Ponies will compete in Missoula at the annual Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic Friday and Saturday.