George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
BILLINGS - All year the Havre High wrestling team has been working to try to climb the mountain that is Class A wrestling. It is a place where the Ponies used to be accustomed to sitting. But last season the Ponies finished outside the top 10 for the first time in recent memory.
During last weekend's 2004 Class A state tournament in Billings, Havre was within sight of the summit of that mountain only to fall back down, or be pushed back down, to be more exact.
Havre finished the 2004 Class A state tournament with 122 team points which was good enough for sixth place. Sidney ran away from the field, scoring 251 points to capture its second straight state championship. Polson finished a distant second with 143 points and Hardin captured third place with 139.5 points. Libby and Anaconda finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Although the Ponies made vast strides from last year's tournament to this year, things could have been much better. Havre raced out to take the team point lead after the first round. The Ponies placed 14 of 18 wrestlers in Friday afternoon's quarterfinals. But in the quarters, 10 out of those 14 wrestlers dropped into the loser-out bracket, leaving just four wrestlers in the semifinals.
Despite Friday afternoon's disappointment, Havre managed to battle back in the early wrestlebacks and was comfortably sitting in second place when the semifinals started on Saturday morning. That is where things really went badly for the Ponies as Havre would not have a wrestler qualify for the finals for the first time in nearly a decade.
"We were in good position to make a run at a trophy a couple of different times throughout the tournament," said HHS veteran head coach Scott Filius. "But we had some bad breaks and we also just didn't get it done when we needed it the most.
"Our finish wasn't for lack of effort," Filius added. "I am really proud of how all of our kids competed all week. We scored a ton of points early and we just couldn't capitalize on it when it mattered most. That happens sometimes."
One of the worst breaks that Filius spoke of came in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. Junior Colby Mader suffered a serious knee injury during his quarterfinal match and could not compete any further in the tournament. At press time the extent of Mader's knee injury had yet to be diagnosed officially.
The Ponies also got a tough break with Brett Michels at 160 pounds. Michels suffered an injury Friday afternoon and ended up losing out in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Individually, the Ponies placed six wrestlers in the top six. Blue Pony senior Jeff Hedges, who was gunning for his third-straight state championship and an undefeated season, suffered a stunning upset in Saturday morning's semifinal round. Leading 9-5 with 11 seconds remaining against Sidney's Byron Kuylen, Hedges got caught in a cradle by Kuylen and was pinned with just seconds remaining in the match.
The loss stunned the Billings Metra crowd and the Havre faithful. However, Hedges found away to gather himself and battle back to place third. The third-place finish was not the one Hedges was looking for when he came to Billings this week, but he remained composed throughout.
"I learned that losing a wrestling match is not the worst thing in the world," Hedges said. "I am really disappointed but these things happen. I had to come back and wrestle hard, because you never quit on your team and you never quit wrestling until the tournament is over.
"No matter what happened, I know have had a great high school career and it has been a great experience."
Hedges' head coach was also extremely proud of the way his star senior handled the adversity that came with being upset in the state semifinals.
"I know that the loss really tore Jeff up and it tore me up to," Filius said. "But Jeff is a great wrestler and one of the classiest kids I have ever coached. He has just been a pleasure to be around this last four years."
Havre only had one other wrestler win his final match on Saturday. Junior Chad Seely was able to recover from back-to-back losses in the semifinals and the consolation semifinals to capture fifth place at 189 pounds. In his final outing, Seely was able to dismantle Columbia Falls' David Ampudia 16-7.
The Ponies also garnered two fourth-place finishes on Saturday. Freshman Beau LaSalle put together a solid run at his first state tournament by finishing fourth at 112 pounds and freshman Matt Schnittgen also finished fourth at 275 pounds. Schnittgen dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Sean Latray of Anaconda in the consolation finals.
The Ponies also got three sixth-place finishes on Saturday. Freshman Clint Bradbury finished sixth at 98 pounds, sophomore Michael Sutherland finished sixth at 130 pounds and Guy Seely worked his way to a sixth-place finish at 160 pounds.
"As always, we had some kids that we thought would maybe finish a little higher than they did," Filius said. "We lost to some kids that we had beaten before and that is something that seems to happen every year at this tournament.
"But we also had some kids go a little deeper than we expected and that helped us out a lot," Filius added. "Michael Sutherland, Dallas Thompson and Billy Wagner all came out and competed very well."
Aside from the aforementioned six wrestlers, the Ponies had eight others score points in the tournament. Thompson, Wagner, Bill Zuelke and Scott Sheppard were each one match away from placing.
At 119 pounds, Sheppard dropped a heartbreaking and somewhat controversial 6-3 decision in the third round of the consolation bracket. Thompson wrestled in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament in the same round at 171 pounds. Thompson fell 5-4 in overtime to the 171 pounder from Columbia Falls. Zuelke also lost in the same round at 215 pounds. Wagner was knocked off by Bradbury in the third-round consolation bracket.
At 105 pounds, sophomore Gray Chagnon went 1-2 on the weekend as did Michels at 160 pounds and Mader at 189 pounds.
"I am not disappointed in where we finished as a team," Filius said. "These kids really came to compete. I don't think we wrestled as well as we could have in every match, but the effort and desire was there this weekend.
"We have shown that we have a real good group of young kids," Filius added. "Now it is on them to get better in the offseason and if they are willing to work like they have shown that they are, the future looks good for our team."
State wrestling tournament: Class A
Sidney 251, Polson 143, Hardin 139.5, Libby 130.5, Anaconda 126, Havre 122, Corvallis 108.5, Laurel 107.5, Whitefish 104, Columbia Falls 96.5, Frenchtown 81, Belgrade 75.5, Lewistown 71.5, Dillon 59, Colstrip 45, Miles City 41, Glendive 38, Browning 32.5, Livingston 32, Ronan 29, Hamilton 18, Billings Central 17.5, Butte Central 12.
98 - B. Nordahl, FTN, d. C. Bradbury, HAV, 10-7.
105 - T. Nagel, COR, d. M. Cellmer, LAU, 10-4.
112 - K. Fischer, ANA, p. J. Hyde, HAR, 2:58.
119 - K. Ames, LIB, p. J. Henderson, FTN, 2:28.
125 - J. Richman, ANA, d. T. Vezina, DIL, 12-5.
130 - K. Zetterberg, POL, d. M. Sutherland, HAV, 7-1.
135 - A. Anderson, BUC, md. J. Carter, GLE, 14-3.
140 - Z. Nordahl, DIL, d. J. LaForge, HAR, 7-6.
145 - G. Wood, LIB, d. G. Jessop, COR, 3-1.
152 - J. Stanhope, BEL, d. J. Caddell, ANA, 4-2.
160 - T. Jolley, COR, md. G. Seely, HAV, 12-3.
171 - G. Terry, LEW, d. D. Verhasselt, SID, 3-1.
189 - C. Seely, HAV, md. D. Ampudia, CFS, 16-7.
215 - J. Lewis, HAM, p. T. Swift, LEW, 2:11.
Hwt - D. Sybrant, COR, d. T. Parker, WFH, 7-1.
98 - D. Neff, WFH, d. C. Bick, FTN, 5-2.
105 - B. Uffelman, HAR, p. D. Hanson, ANA, 1:52.
112 - D. Solan, ANA, d. B. LaSalle, HAV, 9-4.
119 - B. Carpenter, SID, d. J. Carlson, GLE, 10-8.
125 - J. Hedges, HAV, md. B. Kmetz, MCY, 14-4.
130 - L. Pluhar, MCY, d. S. Cummings, WFH, 8-6.
135 - S. Dellwo, POL, d. D. Britz, WFH, 10-7.
140 - J. Andreoli, ANA, d. Z. Fox, LAU, 7-0.
145 - P. Rinaldi, LEW, md. J. Spencer, LIB, 10-2.
152 - M. Fox, LAU, d. C. Musick, LEW, 8-2.
160 - R. Jessop, COR, d. J. Muhlbeier, HAR, 9-6.
171 - M. Burns, BRW, md. N. Caron, CFS, 11-2.
189 - B. Glennon, CEN, d. B. Henderson, FTN, 1-0.
215 - A. White, RON, p. T. Hjort, LIB, 2:29.
Hwt - C. Latray, ANA, d. M. Schnittgen, HAV, 3-2.
98 - J. Obergfell, SID, md. C. Benson, POL, 10-0.
105 - A. Tarr, CFS, md. C. Wainwright, WFH, 12-4.
112 - B. Stedman, FTN, d. C. Pete, CFS, 5-3.
119 - R. Hecker, SID, p. C. Wolfenden, POL, 2:34.
125 - C. Myers, LAU, d. B. Kuylen, SID, 6-5.
130 - D. Copeland, SID, d. T. Kelly, BEL, 3-1.
135 - D. Fritz, SID, d. J. Nesbitt, DIL, 7-5.
140 - J. Bauer, COL, d. B. Nagel, COR, 7-1.
145 - G. Melby, SID, d. J. Brokaw, HAR, 5-1.
152 - L. Kugler, POL, d. M. Maxwell, HAR, 5-1.
160 - C. Williams, CFS, d. K. Owen, POL, 7-6.
171 - J. Erickson, LIB, md. B. Owen, POL, 14-0.
189 - C. Willis, LAU, d. G. Melby,, SID, 8-6.
215 - J. Kallestad, BEL, d. K. Biermann, HAR, 7-4.
Hwt. - K. Bertleson, LIB, p. K. Kovash, LIV, 1:48.
98 Pounds - ClLINT BRADBURY
1st rd. - Bradbury, HAV, tf. J. Bierer, COR, 18-1
quarterfinals - C. Benson, POL, d. C. Bradbury, HAV, 4-1
2nd rd. consolation - Bradbury, HAV, p. Austin, MCY, :29.
3rd rd. consolation - Bradbury, HAV maj. dec. Wagner, HAV, 11-2.
98 Pounds - BILLY WAGNER
1st rd. - B. Nordhal, FTN dec. Wagner, HAV, 7-0
1st rd. consolation - Wagner, HAV, pinned M. Bertoletti, BC
2nd rd. consolation - Wagner, HAV, dec. D. Payne, BEL, 12-7
3rd rd. consolation - Bradbury, HAV maj. dec. Wagner, HAV, 11-2.
105 Pounds - GRAY CHAGNON
1st rd. - Chagnon, HAV, pinned T. Nelson, Col. Falls, 1:55
quarterfinals - T. Nagel, Crovallis, dec. Chagnon, HAV, 8-2.
2nd rd. consolation - J. Klemann, BEL, pinned Chagnon, HAV, 2:53.
112 Pounds - BEAU LASALLE
1st rd. - LaSalle, HAV, dec. M. Roberts, LIB, 8-7
quarterfinals - LaSalle, HAV, pinned K. Stoddard, Dillon, 3:34
semifinals - C. Pete, Col. Falls, maj. dec. LaSalle, HAV, 13-4
Consolation semis - LaSalle, HAV, dec. J. Hyde, HAR, 7-5.
119 Pounds - Scott Sheppard
1st rd. - Sheppard, HAV, dec. J. Carlson, 15-9
quarterfinals - J. Henderson, FRE, pinned Sheppard, HAV, 3:12
2nd rd. consolation - Sheppard, HAV, pinned R. Jones, LAU, 2:19
3rd rd. consolation - K. Ames, LIB, dec. Sheppard, HAV, 6-3.
119 Pounds - Nathan Harada
1st rd. - C. Clowdus, WHI, pinned Harada, HAV, 3:47
1st rd. consolation - R. Jones, LAU, pinned Harada, HAV, :57.
125 Pounds - Jeff Hedges
1st rd. - Hedges, HAV, pinned D. Carpenter, LIB, :52
quarterfinals - Hedges, HAV, tech. fall K. Walters, Col. Falls, 19-4
semifinals - B. Kuylen, Sidney, pinned Hedges, HAV, 5:49
consolation semis - Hedges, HAV, dec. J. Richman, ANA, 10-3.
130 Pounds - Michael Sutherland
1st rd. - Sutherland, HAV, pinned D. Averill, Col. Falls, :51
quarterfinals - D. Copeland, Sidney, maj. dec. Sutherland, HAV, 14-1
2nd rd. consolation - Sutherland, HAV, maj. dec. L. Wilson, LIV, 14-2
3rd rd. consolation - Sutherland, HAV, dec. M. Rutherford, BRO, 14-7
consolation semis - L. Pluhar, Miles City, dec. Sutherland, HAV, 15-10.
135 Pounds - Logan Reichelt
1st rd. - J. Carter, GLE, pinned Reichelt, HAV, 1:58
1st rd. consolation - D. Britz, WHI, pinned, Reichelt, HAV, 2:07.
140 Pounds - Adam Burrington
1st rd. - J. Bauer, COL, pinned Burrington, HAV, 1:10
1st rd. consolation - C. Mikesell, WHI, tech fall Burrington, HAV, 17-2.
152 Pounds - Cody Seely
1st rd. - M. Maxwell, HAR, pinned Seely, HAV, 1:01
1st rd. consolation - R. Olsen, Ronan, pinned. seely, HAV, :43.
160 Pounds - Guy Seely
1st rd. - Seely, HAV, pinned J. Wilkins, COL, 2:50
quarterfinals - T. Jolley, COR, dec. Seely, HAV, 11-4
2nd rd. consolation - Seely, HAV, pinned J. Racine, BRO, 4:18
3rd rd. consolation - Seely, HAV, pinned, S. Holt, Dillon, 4:18
consolation semis - R. Jessop, COR, dec. Seely, HAV, 5-0.
160 Pounds - Brett Michels
1st rd. - Michels, HAV, dec. T. Neff, HAM, 9-6
quarterfinals - R. Jessop, COR, pinned Michels, HAV, 3:35
2nd rd. consolation - C. Williams, Col. Falls dec. Michels, HAV, 3-1.
171 Pounds - Dallas Thompson
1st rd. - Thompson, HAV, dec. R. Kinney, GLE, 4-3
quarterfinals - J. Erickson, LIB, pinned Thompson, HAV, 1:58
2nd rd. consolation - Thompson, HAV, dec. K. Hart, LAU, 5-0
3rd rd. consolation - N. Caron, Col. Falls, dec. Thompson, HAV, 5-4.
189 Pounds - Chad Seely
1st rd. - seely, HAV, pinned J. Weigle, HAM, :50
quarterfinals - Seely, HAV, pinned Graham, LIB, 2:22
semifinals - C. Willis, LAU, pinned Seely, HAV, 5:36
conosolation semis - B. Glennon, Bill. Central, dec. Seely, HAV, 9-4
189 Pounds - Colby Mader
1st rd. - Mader, HAV, pinned R. Steen, Miles City, 1:26
quarterfinals - B. Henderson, FRE, pinned Mader, HAV, 1:27
2nd rd consolation -D. Brown, LEW won by default, injury.
215 Pounds - Bill Zuelke
1st rd. - Zuelke, HAV, pinned E. Laforge, HAR, 1:22
quarterfinals - A. White, Ronan, pinned Zuelke, HAV, :51
2nd rd. consolation - Zuelke, HAV, maj. dec. A. Boyce, BRO, 19-6
3rd rd. consolation - J. Lewis, HAM, dec. zuelke, HAV, 8-4.
275 Pounds - Matt Schnittgen
1st rd. Schnittgen, HAV, pinned T. Goff, LIB, 2:55
quarterfinals - Schnittgen, HAV, dec. N. Ellestad, LAU, 3-2
semifinals - K. Bertelsen, LIB, dec. Schnittgen, HAV, 6-3
consolation semis - Schnittgen, HAV, dec. D. Sybrant, COR, 1-0.