By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
The Havre High wrestling team hasn't suffered any ill-effects from its second-place finish in Miles City last weekend - mentally that is.
But as the Ponies prepare to head to Belgrade on Friday for the Class A duals, they are suffering a little on the health side.
Havre had several key wrestlers sick last weekend at the Cowboy Invitational, a tournament in which the Ponies still placed 12 wrestlers and scored 236 points, which was second to Class A rival Sidney.
However, the flu and sickness that started last weekend has continued to plague the Pony wrestlers well into this week, according to Havre High head coach Scott Filius. As a result, Filius will have to deal with some serious line-up issues for this weekend at what should be a very competitive dual tournament.
"We have had several kids miss days of school and practice this week," Filius said. "Right now, we are really shuffling our lineup, and it is tough to say who is going to be able to go at this point."
Filius was already planning to make some changes to his lineup this week and debut the new order at the tournament in Belgrade, but because of the various illnesses besetting his team, those plans will have to wait.
"I wanted to try some different things this week with a couple of different kids moving up a weight," he said. "But with where we are right now, we aren't going to be able to do that this weekend because we have just enough healthy kids to fill our lineup for the weekend."
As of today, four of the Ponies varsity wrestlers are listed as doubtful to compete this weekend. Included in that list is senior 171-pounder Dustin Haukenberry and top-ranked heavyweight Matt Schnittgen. The Ponies may also be without 140- and 145-pounders Logan Reichelt and Adam Burrington. And those are just the wrestlers that Filius is sure of right now, he said that several more kids were held out of practice at some point because of sickness.
While the timing isn't ideal for the Ponies to lose wrestlers for a week, Filius does admit that it is better to have this now and not before the state tournament. He also said that wrestlers are especially susceptible to illness during the cold winter months.
"We deal with this sort of thing every season," Filius said. "Your never sure when it will hit but it always seems to."
Still, the tournament must go on. Havre will see nothing but dual action from here until the Central A divisional tournament in February. The Ponies come into the Class A duals with a sparkling 10-1 dual record. Their only loss came at the hands of defending Class AA champion Kalispell back in December. The following day the Ponies avenged that loss en route to taking home the Mining City Duals championship.
This weekend's tourney in Belgrade will feature 18 Class A schools, but neither Sidney or Polson will be in attendance. Still, there will be plenty of stiff competition for Havre during the two-day event. Hardin, Libby, Corvallis, Anaconda and Dillon are the top teams that will join all five Central A conference schools this weekend. Colstrip, Laurel and Miles City will also join the fray.
"This will be a very good tournament," Filius said. "There are several teams that I am anxious to see even if we don't face them. It will be a good weekend for us."
Havre will enter the tournament as the top seed and will face the Belgrade junior varsity team at 2 p.m. on Friday. The Ponies also have duals at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. but seeding for the tournament is not complete so those opponents are still in question. Depending on how the Ponies fare in their pool, they will then be seeded into the elimination dual tournament on Saturday.
The Class A Duals will get under way Friday morning and continue through Saturday evening. The championship dual is scheduled for 6 p.m. and all of the action will take place at the Belgrade Special Events Center.