By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sports/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It is no secret that the Havre Havre High wrestling team is youthful. And while that may be a tag that follows head coach Scott Filius' troops this entire season, another secret was revealed last weekend in Havre. The young Havre Blue Ponies are talented, too.
That fact that became evident after they captured a pair of Central A dual wins over Belgrade and Livingston last Friday night in Havre. The Ponies also outlasted Belgrade and Lewistown to claim first-place honors at the Blue Pony Invitational. The Ponies placed 16 wrestlers in the tournament and had five individual champions. Included in those five champions were a pair of freshman in Billy Wagner at 98 pounds and Matt Schnittgen at 275 pounds, as well as sophomore Gray Chagnon at 105.
Now the Ponies will prepare to embark on a treacherous regular season schedule that gets under way tonight in Butte when Havre duals Central A foes Dillon and Butte Central. But the real eye-opening experience for many of the Havre High youngsters will come Friday morning, when the Ponies begin pool action at the tough Mining City Duals, also held in Butte.
"This will be a good weekend for some of these kids to get the feel for wrestling very good competition," Filius said. "We have some great competitors on this team. This tournament will help them in developing the confidence that they can wrestle with the best competition in the state."
The Ponies begins action at the Mining City Duals Friday morning when they square off against Southern B-C powerhouse Huntley Project at 10 a.m. The Ponies will then dual the Class AA defending state champion Butte Bulldogs at 1 p.m. and then take on CMR at 5 p.m. Havre's Saturday opponents will depend on how it does in the three duals in pool competition on Friday.
"I really think that we can go 2-1 in our pool if we wrestle well," Filius said. "Butte was very good last year and they are going to be strong this season, but I think these kids will compete hard and do very well in our pool."
Havre's lineup for Friday and Saturday will see Clint Bradbury at 98 pounds and Gray Chagnon at 105. Freshman Beau Lasalle will wrestle at 112 followed by Scott Sheppard at 119 pounds and two-time state champion Jeff Hedges at 125. Hedges will see a defending state champion from Butte in Havre's dual with the Bulldogs. Michael Sutherland will go at 130 pounds for the Ponies followed by freshman Logan Reichelt at 135. The Ponies will likely forfeit the 140-pound class. Alex Leyba will wrestle 145 and Cody Seely will be at 152. Brett Michels will compete at 160 pounds with Guy and Chad Seely at 171 and 189, respectively. Rick Houim will be at the new 215 pound division for the Ponies and freshman Matt Schnittgen will compete at heavyweight.
Tonight, the Ponies will take on Dillon and Butte Central and while Filius is unsure of what to expect from the Beavers, he does know that Butte Central is not a deep team and will forfeit several matches. The Maroons did have two wrestlers win individual titles this past weekend in Havre.
Filius will change his lineup for tonight's duals, implementing Wagner into the 98-pound spot and fellow freshman Nate Harada at 119 pounds.
Tonight's duals get underway at 6 p.m.