By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
If the first weekend of the 2003-4 wrestling season is any indication of things to come, then the Havre Blue Ponies have a lot to look forward to, not only this season, but in the years to come.
The Ponies captured dual wins over Livingston and Belgrade on Friday night and then edged the Panthers on Saturday to win the Havre Invitational wrestling tournament.
Coming into the weekend, HHS head coach Scott Filius was well aware that he had plenty of young wrestlers who had virtually no varsity experience. But, he also knew that his young team had put in a very successful off-season and that they were going to surprise some people this season.
After a successful weekend at home, Filius was not just surprised with some of the results. He was elated.
"I was real pleased with how all of our kids wrestled this weekend," Filius said. "Our young kids got a lot of matches in, and I thought they performed very well.
"We have a long way to go and we have some things that definitely need to be addressed, but in all, I was really happy with our effort this weekend."
The Ponies started the weekend off with a rout of Livingston on Friday night, 49-4, in dual action. Livingston forfeited several weight classes while freshman Nathan Harada and Matt Schnittgen picked up wins at 112 and 275 pounds, respectively. Brett Michels and Guy Seely also captured wins in the short dual.
In the second dual the Ponies were able to hold off a very good Belgrade team, 47-28. Freshman Billy Wagner got the dual off to a good start by earning a technical fall over Dylan Payne. Fellow freshman Beau LaSalle also picked up a key win for the Ponies at 112 pounds, and Harada gained a huge come-from-behind win at 119 over Jim Klemann. Harada trailed 6-2 going into the third period, but outwrestled Klemann to a tough 9-7 decision.
After Havre's Scott Sheppard pinned Jesse Delong at 125, Jeff Hedges met Travis Kelly in a matchup of defending state champions. Even though he moved up in weight to challenge Kelly, Hedges made short work of the match by earning a fall at the 1:57 mark of the match.
Michael Sutherland followed up the Hedges win with a pin of Jared Delong. Belgrade rallied to pick up wins at 140, 145, 152 and 160 pounds.
Guy Seely got the Ponies back on track with a fall over Clayton Damjonovich at the 2:12 mark. Brother Chad Seely added another win by fall for the Ponies at 189 pounds. Junior Rick Houim, who was seeing his first varsity wrestling action, got a tough initiation against two-time defending state champion Jake Kallestad. Freshman Matt Schnittgen finished the dual with a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Nathan Clark.
"Belgrade is a very good team," Filius said. "They probably have one of the best teams they have ever had. So this was a nice win for us. I was really happy with how Harada and Beau LaSalle and a lot of our young kids really stepped up and competed hard in that dual."
On Saturday, the Ponies continued to battle with the Panthers in the Havre Invitational. In the end, Havre was able to edge Belgrade 238.5 to 232.5. Lewistown finished a distant third, while Malta and Chinook finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The Havre High junior varsity team also had a strong showing, finishing ninth.
Individually, the Ponies had six individual champions and also had a couple of second-place finishes.
Wagner captured his first varsity tournament by winning the 98-pound division, winning all three of his matches by fall. Cameron Overcast of Chinook finished fifth at 98 pounds.
Sophomore Gray Chagnon captured the 105-pound championship with a tough 15-14 decision over Belgrade's Joe Klemann. Justin McLeod also finished strong for the Ponies as he came in third place with an 11-3 win over Tyler Dejongh of Belgrade.
At 119 pounds, the Ponies were dominant, placing four wrestlers in the top six. The Ponies had three wrestlers in the semifinals, including Harada and LaSalle. Sheppard knocked off LaSalle before losing to Butte Central's Dustin Brown in the final. Harada rebounded to defeat teammate Kevin Velk for third place, while LaSalle wound up sixth.
"That was nice to see our JV kids do so well," Filius said. "Beau LaSalle wrestled really hard and came up short against Scotty Sheppard. And Nate Harada had a really good day too. It is nice to have that many kids wrestling well right now."
At 125 pounds, Jeff Hedges, as expected, claimed the title by defeating a solid freshman from Chinook in Matt Finley. Jeff Tibbals finished fifth for the Ponies.
Chad Seely picked up Havre's other title, looking dominant at 189 pounds as he steamrolled to the finals and then defeated nemesis Mike Burns from Browning in the final.
"Chad Seely has improved by leaps and bounds from last season," Filius said. "He beat a kid who had beaten him three times last year. Chad wrestled really well and he worked really hard in the summer and it is paying off for him."
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the weekend came from freshman Matt Schnittgen in the 275-pound weight class. Schnittgen advanced to the finals of his first varsity tournament and then defeated Keil Kovash of Livingston 2-1 in double overtime. Over the course of two days, Schnittgen went a perfect 6-0.
At 130 pounds, the Ponies got a solid day from Michael Sutherland, who captured third place. Casey Barber of Chinook grabbed a fifth-place finish at 130 pounds. Freshman Logan Reichelt finished fifth at 135 pounds while Kris Parsons of Chinook finished fourth. Alex Leyba earned a fourth-place finish at 145 pounds for the Ponies and Cody Seely earned fifth place at 152 pounds. Evan Hinebaugh of Chinook had a solid tournament, placing second at 152 pounds in a close match with Belgrade's Jordan Stanhope.
Brett Michels worked his way to a hard-fought second-place finish for the Ponies at 160 pounds, and Guy Seely added a third-place finish at 171 pounds with a win over Riley DeVries of Chester. As expected, Kallestad captured the 215-pound championship, but he had to defeat a very game Brian Chapman of Chinook in the finals.
The Ponies will head to the prestigious Mining City Duals in Butte on Friday and Saturday. Havre will also dual Dillon and Butte Central Thursday night in Butte.
Havre 238.5, Belgrade 232.5, Lewistown 166, Malta 115, Chinook 112, Shelby 84, Browning 76, Livingston 75, Havre JV 59, Butte Central 53, Belgrade JV 53, Chester 40, Shelby JV 29, Valier 27.5, Malta JV 15, Lewistown JV 8, Chinook JV 0, Livingston JV 0, Browning JV 0.
Finals - Billy Wagner, HAV pinned :45 Brett McLellan BELJV
Third Place - Brady Burdick, LIV pinned 4:16 Dylan Payne, BEL.
Semifinals - Billy Wagner, HAV pinned 2:55 Brady Burdick, LIV; Brett McLellan, BELJV pinned 4:32 Hannah Trask, LEW
Quarterfinals - Billy Wagner, HAV pinned :46, Mario Bartoletti , BC; Brady Burdick, LIV pinned 2:56 Dylan Payne, BEL; Brett McLellan BELJV pinned :20 Tom Lizotte LIVJV; Hannah Trask, LEW pinned 1:52 Kyle Ritterbush, LIVJV;
Consolation Semifinals - Brady Burdick, LIV maj. dec. 14-3, Cameron Overcast, CHI; Dylan Payne, BEL dec. :37 Hannah Trask, LEW.
Fifth Place - Cameron Overcast, CHI pinned 2:05 Hannah Trask, LEW.
Finals - Gray Chagnon, HAV dec. 15-14 Joe Klemann, BEL.
Semifinals - Gray Chagnon, HAV pinned :33 Brandon Hemsath, LEW; Joe Klemann, BEL dec. 14-12 Justin McLeod, HAVJV.
Third Place - Justin McLeod, HAVJV maj. dec. 11-3 Tyler Dejongh, BELJV.
Fifth Place - Chase Hannon, BRO pinned 1:52 Brandon Hemsath, LEW.
Finals - Dustin Brown, BC pinned 1:33, Scott Sheppard, HAV
Third Place - Nate Harada, HAVJV dec. 11-4, Kevin Velk, HAVJV.
Semifinals - Dustin Brown, BC pinned 4:09, Nate Harada, HAVJV; Scott Sheppard, HAV maj. dec. 11-0, Beau LaSalle, HAVJV.
Quarterfinals - Dustin Brown, BC dec. 2-1 Kevin Velk, HAVJV; Nate Harada, HAVJV pinned 5:00, Ryan Whitford, LIV; Beau LaSalle, HAVJV pinned 3:34, Jim Klemann, BEL; Scott Sheppard, HAV pinned 1:13, Kris Nicholson, CHI.
Consolation Semifinals - Nate Harada, HAVJV maj. dec. 14-4, Jim Klemann, BEL; Kevin Velk, HAVJV maj. dec. 12-3, Beau LaSalle, HAVJV.
Fifth Place - Jim Kelmann, BEL pinned 2:04, Beau LaSalle, HAVJV.
Finals - Jeff Hedges, HAV pinned 3:06, Matt Finley, CHI.
Third Place - Jesse Delong, BEL maj. dec. 10-2 Nick Luciano, BRO.
Semifinals - Jeff Hedges pinned 1:42, Jesse Delong, BEL; Matt Finley, CHI pinned :55 Calvin West, LEW.
Fifth Place - Jeff Tibbals, HAVJV, dec. 17-13 Calvin West, LEW.
Finals - Travis Kelly, BEL dec. 13-8 Michael French, MAL.
Third Place - Michael Sutherland, HAV pinned 1:56 Mike Rutherford, BRO.
Semifinals - Travis Kelly, BEL dec. 12-6, Michael Sutherland, HAV; Michael French, MAL, dec. 7-4, Mike Rutherford, BRO.
Fifth Place - Casey Barber, CHI pinned :26 Blake Thacker, SHE.
Finals - Austin Anderson, BC pinned 1:40 T J Wanken, SHE.
Third Place - Steve Watson, SHE dec. 8-4 Kris Parsons, CHI.
Semifinals - TJ Wanken. SHE dec. 11-6 Kris Parsons, CHI; Austin Anderson, BC ma. dec. 11-2 Steve Watson, SHE.
Quarterfinals - Kris Parsons, CHI pinned :42 Mitch Ereaux, MAL; T J Wanken, SHE pinned 2:46 Logan Reichelt, HAV; Austin Anderson, BC pinned 3:00 Jared Delong, BEL, Steve Watson, SHE pinned 1:37 Ryan Flatt, MAL.
Consolation Semifinals - Kris Parsons, CHI pinned 1:41 Jared Delong, BEL; Steve Watson, SHE pinned :53 Logan Reichelt, HAV.
Fifth Place - Logan Reichelt, HAV pinned :36 Jared Delong, BEL.
Finals - Dustin Scotten, LEW dec. 4-0 Joren Bonderud, SHE.
Third Place - Jeff Trafelet, VAL maj. dec. 8-0 Jay Blunt, MAL.
Semifinals - Dustin Scotten, LEW maj. dec. 15-2 Jeff Trafelet, VAL; Joren Bonderud, SHE dec. 3-0 Jay Blunt, MAL.
Quarterfinals - Jeff Trafelet, VAL pinned 1:57 Vern Wagner, BRO; Dustin Scotten, LEW pinned 1:14 Jason Spencer, MAL; Jay Blunt, MAL pinned 4:38 John Peterschiek, LEWJV; Joren Bonderud, SHE dec. 9-2 Trevor Thomas, BEL.
Consolation Semifinals - Jeff Trafelet, VAL t-pinned 15-0 Trevor Thomas, BEL; Jay Blunt, MAL dec. 9-4 Jason Spencer MALJV.
Fifth Place - Jason Spencer, MALJV dec. 5-3 Trevor Thomas, BEL.
Finals - Phil Rinaldi, LEW dec. 6-3 Tyler French, MAL.
Third Place - Trey Lucas, BEL maj. dec. 11-1 Tony Tomscheck, SHE.
Semifinals - Phil Rinaldi, LEW pinned 1:46 Wes Sarrazin, BELJV; Tyler French, MAL dec. 4-2 Tony Tomscheck, SHE.
Fifth Place - Alex Leyba, HAV dec. 5-3, Wes Sarrazin, BELJV.
Finals - Jordan Stanhope, BEL dec. 3-2, Evan Hinebaugh, CHI.
Third Place - Chase Musick, LEW pinned :09 Jared Pankratz, MAL.
Semifinals - Jordan Stanhope, BEL pinned 1:20 Jared Pankratz, MAL; Evan Hinebaugh, CHI pinned :28 Clint Dean, VAL.
Quarterfinals - Jordan Stanhope, BEL dec. 14-7 Chase Musick, LEW; Jared Pankratz, MAL dec. 8-1 Roger Mad Plume, BRO; Clint Dean, VAL pinned 1:12 Cole Monroe, MALJV; Evan Hinebaugh, CHI pinned :48 Rodney Collins, BROJV.
Consolation Semifinals - Jared Pankratz, MAL dec. 6-2 Cody Seely, HAV; Chase Musick, LEW pinned 2:56 Clint Dean, VAL.
Fifth Place - Cody Seely, HAV dec. 4-3 Clint Dean, VAL.
Finals - Jack Arcand, BEL maj. dec. 9-1 Brett Michels, HAV.
Third Place - Tom Flynn, SHE maj. dec. 10-1 B J Brown SHEJV.
Semifinals - Jack Arcand, BEL pinned 1:33 Tom Flynn, SHE; Brett Michels, HAV pinned :56 Chase Hill, MAL.
Quarterfinals - Jack Arcand, BEL pinned 3:46 B J Brown, SHEJV; Tom Flynn, SHE pinned :21, Chandler Salois, VAL; Chase Hill, MAL dec. 5-2 Scottie Woods, CHE , Brett Michels, HAV pinned :51 Cory Kingsland, LEW.
Consolation Semifinals - Tom Flynn, SHE pinned :48 Cory Kingsland, LEW; B J Brown, SHEJV pinned :53 Chase Hill, MAL.
Fifth Place - Cory Kingsland, LEW pinned :24 Chase Hill, MAL.
Finals - Skippy Sims, MAL dec. 3-1 Grant Terry, LEW.
Third Place - Guy Seely, HAV pinned 4:20 Riley DeVries, CHE.
Semifinals - Skippy Sims, MAL pinned 1:42 Riley DeVries, CHE; Grant Terry, LEW pinned 5:08 Guy Seely, HAV.
Quarterfinals - Skippy Sims, MAL pinned 1:41 Zach Vigil, LIV; Riley DeVries, CHE pinned 4:34 Clayton Damjanovich, BEL; Guy Seely, HAV pinned 3:22 K. C. Small, BC; Grant Terry, LEW pinned :24 Mike Miller, CHI.
Consolation Semifinals - Riley DeVries, CHE pinned :48 Mike Miller, CHI; Guy Seely, HAV pinned 2:16 Zach Vigil, LIV.
Fifth Place - Zach Vigil, LIV pinned 2:03 Mike Miller, CHI.
Finals - Chad Seely, HAV pinned 5:43 Mike Burns, BRO.
Third Place - Dustin Brown, LEW dec. 5-1 Lance Flesch, SHE.
Semifinals - Mike Burns, BRO pinned 1:41 John Postma, SHEJV; Chad Seely, HAV t-pinned 17-2 Dustin Brown, LEW.
Quarterfinals - Chad Seely, HAV pinned :47 C.J. Caven HAVJV; Dustin Brown, LEW pinned 2:54 Lance Flesch, SHE; John Postma SHEJV pinned 1:12 Kaleb Kovash, LIV; Mike Burns, BRO pinned :33 Spencer Steinman, BEL.
Consolation Semifinals - Lance Flesch, SHE pinned :59 John Postma, SHEJV; Dustin Brown, LEW maj. dec. 12-3 Spencer steinman, BEL.
Fifth Place - Spencer Steinman, BEL pinned :54 John Postma, SHEJV.
Finals - Jake Kallestad, BEL t-pinned 23-8 Brian Chapman, CHI.
Third Place - Shane Gagnon, CHE pinned 2:11 Tanner Swift, LEW.
Semifinals - Jake Kallestad, BEL pinned 3:05 Anthony Boyce, BRO; Brian Chapman, CHI pinned 3:04 Adam Bachmeier, MAL.
Quarterfinals - Jake Kallestad, BEL pinned 3:34 Shane Gagnon, CHE; Anthony Boyce, BRO dec. 9-8 Rick Houim, HAV; Adam Bachmeier, MAL pinned :19 Steve Weber, BC; Brian Chapman, CHI pinned 3:23 Tanner Swift, LEW.
Consolation Semifinals - Tanner swift, LEW pinned :59 Anthony Boyce, BRO; Shane Gagnon, CHE pinned 2:43 Adam Bachmeier, MAL.
Fifth Place - Anthony Boyce, BRO pinned :48 Adam Bachmeier, MAL.
Finals - Matt Schnittgen, HAV dec. 2-1 2 OT Keil Kovash, LIV.
Third Place - Nathan Clark, BEL pinned :20 Robert Haderlie, BELJV.
Semifinals - Matt Schnittgen, HAV dec. 7-3 Nathan Clark, BEL; Keil Kovash, LIV pinned 3:23 Robert Haderlie, BELJV.
Quarterfinals - Keil Kovash, LIV pinned :75 Jordan McClure, BRO; Robert Haderlie, BELJV pinned 2:37 Bryan Burt, BEL; Matt Schnittgen, HAV pinned 3:16 Jed Burnahm, LEWJV; Nathan Clark, BEL pinned 1:20 Dale Walker, LEWJV.
Consolation Semifinals - Robert Haderlie, BELJV pinned 2:21 Lance Lee, MAL; Nathan Clark, BEL pinned 2:11 Bryan Burt, BELJV.