By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
The Havre Blue Ponies have fared pretty well in the Mining City Duals tournament in Butte before. But never in the 17-year history of the tournament has a Class A school captured first place at the prestigious tournament. That is until Saturday.
The HHS wrestling team went undefeated in dual action on Saturday afternoon, including convincing wins over such Class AA stalwarts as Kalispell, Billings Senior and Billings Skyview as well as a rout of two-time Class A defending state champion Sidney to become the first Class A team to ever win the prestigious tournament.
"There have been Class A schools that had a chance to win this tournament in years past, but they didn't get it done for whatever reason," said an elated HHS head coach Scott Filius. "So it feels good to be the first to do it."
While the win may have shocked people in Butte, it didn't really come as too much of a surprise to Filius. He wasn't sure if his team would win the tournament when it began pool competition on Friday, but the lineup he brought to Butte did give him reason to believe his team would be right in the championship mix by Saturday night.
"I knew we had a pretty good dual team coming in there," Filius said. "Sure we have some young kids on our team, and some of them had never been there before. But every kid in our lineup really performed well on Saturday, and when you get that kind of performance out of your whole lineup, you're going to do well in a dual tournament."
On Friday, the Ponies opened up pool action with fifth-ranked Whitefish. Although it was a tough dual, Havre prevailed 43-30. Then came a meeting with the Class AA defending state champion Kalispell Braves. A couple of close matches cost the Ponies the dual as the Braves edged Havre 37-32, but the Ponies had already clinched a spot in the championship tournament. Havre finished pool play with a solid 48-19 win over Billings West.
On Saturday, the Ponies began tournament action against a familiar foe. Havre used six wins by fall to knock off the defending Class A champion Sidney Eagles, 49-32. In the dual the Ponies got pins from Nate Harada, Mike Sutherland, Billy Wagner, Evan Hinebauch, Chad Seely and Matt Schnittgen. Cody Seely and Dustin Haukenberry also picked up critical wins at 171 and 189 pounds, respectively.
"It is always nice to line up and beat Sidney," Filius said. "They have really dominated Class A wrestling the last couple of years and that says a lot about where we are at right now."
After a dominating 57-21 win over highly-touted Billings Senior, the Ponies found themselves in a rematch with Kalispell. And this time the Ponies got key wins from Lorren Mack at 112 pounds and Nate Harada at 119 pounds to get some redemption.
Havre also got pins in the final three matches from Haukenberry, Seely and Schnittgen. Schnittgen's win at 275 pounds over Brandon Hoffenbacker was especially important since Hoffenbacker is the top-ranked heavyweight in Class AA and is widely regarded as Montana's top high school football recruit.
The win over Kalispell put the Ponies in the championship match, where they faced one of the most storied wrestling programs in Class AA history in the Billings Skyview Falcons. The Falcons' prestigious resume did nothing to faze the young Havre team as it rolled to a relatively easy 46-29 victory.
Chad Ranes got Havre going with a win at 98 pounds and Wagner followed that up with a win at 105. Lorren Mack also picked up a win on an injury default at 112. At 125 pounds, Beau LaSalle recorded a quick win by fall over top-ranked 130-pounder Casey Malia, giving Havre a sizable lead. Mike Sutherland also picked up a key victory over Joe Binkeski at 140 pounds, and Evan Hinebauch picked up another crucial win at 160 pounds. The trio of Haukenberry, Schnittgen and Chad Seely finished the dual off with three straight pins to give Havre the championship trophy.
"I thought that Evan Hinebauch had a tremendous weekend," Filius said. "He and Matt Schnittgen went undefeated and that is pretty special considering the level of competition we faced. But the whole lineup stepped up this weekend.
"It is certainly nice to do so well against the Class AA schools," Filius added. "Hopefully, this sets the stage for us to have a lot of confidence for the rest of the season."
Havre's rigorous schedule will take them to the CMR Holiday Classic in Great Falls. The annual tournament will get under way Friday morning at the CMR Fieldhouse.
Havre 43, Whitefish 30
98 - Chad Ranes, H, pinned Phillip Murphy, 0:33. 105 - Billy Wagner, H, won by forfeit. 112 - Danny Neff, W, pinned Lorren Mack, 1:48. 119 - Kevin Kaltschmidt, W, dec. Nate Harada, 9-7. 125 - Beau LaSalle, H, pinned Andre Graschupf, 0:23. 130 - Mike Hipple, H, maj. dec. Matt Starr, 15-4. 135 - Pete Starr, W, dec. Mike Sutherland, 10-8. 140 - Cody Mikesell, W, pinned Logan Reichelt, 3:33. 145 - Brad Watterud, W, pinned Adam Burrington, 3:32. 152 - Brad Kuntz, W, dec. Alex Leyba, 10-8. 160 - Evan Hinebauch, H, pinned David Lautaret, 4:37. 171 - Tim Lehner, W, dec. Cody Seely, 5-0. 189 - Dustin Haukenberry, H, pinned Matt Mangold, 5:35. 215 - Chad Seely, H, pinned Kyle Burns, 0:27. 275 - Matt Schnittgen, H, dec. Troy Parker, 2-1.
Kalispell 37, Havre 32
98 - Chuck Banes, H, pinned Brian Ham, 4:19. 105 - J.C. Decker, K, tech. fall Billy Wagner, 19-2. 112 - Ricky Janes, K, maj. dec. Levi Mack, 12-4. 119 - Nata Harada, H, maj. dec. Austin Zapata, 16-4. 125 - Beau LaSalle, maj. dec. Brandon Mitchell, 15-7. 130 - Mike Hipple, H, dec. Ryan Nelson, 5-3. 135 - Durgan Flaget, K, maj. dec. Mike Sutherland, 18-6. 140 - Luke Fisher, H, dec. Logan Reichelt, 4-0. 145 - Mikey Kuehne, K, pinned Adam Burrington, 2:36. 152 - David Lau, K, pinned Alex Leyba, 2:47. 160 - Evan Hinebauch, H, pinned Josiah Nelson, 3:28. 171 - Levi Holt, K, pinned Cody Seely, 1:11. 189 - Chris Thompson, K, dec. Dustin Haukenberry, 8-3. 215 - Chad Seely, H, pinned Garrett Wootson, 1:18. 275 - Matt Schnittgen, maj. dec. Brandon Hofenbacker, 14-3.
Havre 48, Billings West 19
98 - C. Ranes, H, won by forfeit. 105 - B. Wagner, H, won by forfeit. 112 - L. Mack, H, won by forfeit. 119 - Harada, H, pinned Plotner, 1:48. 125 - LaVelle, BW, pinned Moline, 5:49. 130 - Double forfeit. 135 - Schiero, H, dec. Sutherland, 4-1. 140 - Pryor, H, dec. Reichelt, 5-0. 145 - Hart, maj. dec. Buffington, 13-2. 152 - Leyba, BW, pinned Craig, 1:12. 160 - Hinebauch, BW, pinned Matz, 1:54. 171 - Cody Seely, H, dec. Berg, 11-7. 189 - Haukenberry, H, pinned Klaboe, 1:20. 215 - K. Klaboe, BW, dec. Chad Seely, 2-1. 275 - M. Schnittgen, H, dec. Schley, 6-4.
Havre 49, Sidney 32
98 - Chad Ranes, H, won by forfeit; 105 - Billy Wagner, H, pinned Chad Smith, 3:09; 112 - Jesse Obergfell, S, pinned Lorren Mack, :58; 119 - Nate Harada, H, pinned Lance Kiylen, 1:41; 125 - Ryan Hecker, S, pinned Beau LaSalle, 1:08; 130 - Byron Kuylen, S, won by forfeit; 135 - Mike Sutherland, H, pinned Craig Dunn, 1:23; 140 - Doug Copeland, S, maj. dec. Logan Reichelt, 13-2; 145 - Jordan Beidman, S, maj dec. Adam Burrington, 10-0; 152 - Dan Collins, S, pinned Alex Leyba, :27; 160 - Evan Hinebauch, H, pinned Gresh Melby, 3:43; 171 - Cody Seely, H, dec. Gussie Larson, 3-2; 189 - Dustin Haukenberry, H, dec. Cody Williams, 12-2; 215 - Chad Seely, H, pinned Trevor Getchall, :46; 275 - Matt Schnittgen, H, pinned Dustin Merritt, 4:41.
Havre 48, Kalispell 36
98 - Brian Ham, K, dec. Chad Ranes, 6-3. 105 - T. C. Decker, K, pinned Billy Wagner, 2:19. 112 - Lorren Mack, H, pinned Ricky Janes, 5:40. 119 - Nate Harada, H, pinned Austin Zapata, :53. 125 - Beau LaSalle, H, pinned Brandon Mitchell, 4:42. 130 - Ryan Nelson, K, maj. dec. Mike Hipple, 11-2. 135 - Druan Flaget, K, won by forfeit. 140 - Sutherland, H, pinned Luke Fischer, 1:19. 145 - Mikey Kuehne, K, maj. dec. Adam Burrington, 21-4. 152 - David Lau, K, pinned Alex Leyba, 2:27. 160 - Evan Hinebauch, H, won by forfeit. 171 - Levi Holt, K, pinned Cody Seely, 1:52. 189 - Dustin Hinebauch, H, pinned Chris Thompson, 1:00. 215 - Chad Seely, H, pinned Casey Poler, 1:47. 275 - Matt Schnittgen, H, pinned Brandon Hoffenbacker, 2:19.
Havre 51, Billings Senior 27
98 - Chad Ranes, H, pinned Michael King, :12; 105 - Darren Palver, B, dec. Billy Wagner, 9-5; 112 - Lorren Mack, H, pinned Casey Berish, 3:59; 119 - Nate Harada, H, pinned Billy Barker, 1:05; 125 - Trent Sprenkle, B, pinned Beau LaSalle, :47; 130 - Mike Hipple, H, pinned Jeff Pacheco, :25; 135 - Mike Sutherland, H, pinned Chad Ludwig, :56; 140 - Logan Reichelt, H, pinned Ryan Allen, :57; 145 - Josh Beeman, B, pinned Adam Burrington, 2:56; 152 - Alex Leyba, H, won by forfeit; 160 - Even Hinebauch, H, dec. Cory Schilanek, 7-2; 171 - Danny Neiter, B, pinned Cody Seely, 1:10; 189 - Dustin Haukenberry, H, dec. Shilhanek, 6-1; 215 - William Wine, B, pinned Chad Seely, 1:57; 275 - Matt Schnittgen, dec. Preston Lyles, 6-2.
Havre 46, Billings Skyview 29
98 - Chad Ranes, H, pinned Alex Garnett, :43; 105 - Billy Wagner, H, dec. Seth Goodell, 11-4; 112 - Lorren Mack, H, inj. def. Brenden Halsten; 119 - Jeff Jones, S, pinned Nate Harada, 3:39; 125 - Beau LaSalle, H, pinned Casey Malia, 1:24; 130 - Vince Salminen, S, won by forfeit; 135 - Andy Kohn, S, dec. Mike Hipple, 5-3; 140 - Mike Sutherland, H, dec. Joe Binkeski, 7-3; 145 - Jordan Duttield, S, pinned Logan Reichelt, 3:57; 152 - Mike Hitt, S, pinned Alex Leyba, :37; 160 - Evan Hinebauch, S, pinned Darrin Williams, 2:48; 171 - Derek Maciel, S, maj. dec. Cody Seely, 14-4; 189 - Dustin Haukenberry, H, pinned Zach Jones, 3:03; 215 - Chad Seely, H, pinned Erick Meyer, :42; 275 - Matt Schnittgen, H, Corey Richardson.