By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The 2005 Central A wrestling tournament may have been short, but it was definitely to the point. The No. 2-ranked Havre High wrestling team set a divisional record, scoring 388 points en route to its third straight Central A title on Saturday afternoon at the HHS gymnasium.
Besides scoring the staggering 388 points, which easily blew away second-place Lewistown and third place Belgrade, Havre also accomplished the feat of sending all 19 of its wrestlers to the state tournament.
The Ponies dominated the field on Saturday individually as well. Havre had 11 individual champions and seven second-place finishes as well as one third. In fact, the Ponies lost just one match before the finals en route to their record setting day.
"There isn't a whole lot you can say about what these kids did in this tournament," said HHS head coach Scott Filius. "They knew what we wanted to do, which was to get all of our kids to state and get them in the best possible brackets that we could. With how we finished this tournament, I think we got everything accomplished."
Indeed, Havre had 18 wrestlers in Saturday afternoon's finals with only senior Tyler Wheeler failing to reach the championship round. But Wheeler managed to come back to finish third at 215 pounds.
Of those 18 finalists, Havre wrestled in nine championship matches, which is because the Ponies doubled up at 98 pounds with Chad Ranes earning a forfeit over teammate Ryan Shelstad.
The Ponies did the same at 171 pounds where Cody Seely earned the forfeit over Dustin Haukenberry and at heavyweight where Matt Schnittgen got the win by forfeit over teammate Stephen Brown.
But there were still plenty of titles to be earned on the mat on Saturday afternoon.
Billy Wagner got Havre off to a dramatic start in the finals with a come-from-behind win over Livingston's Brady Burdick at 105. Wagner was in trouble nearly all of the match and Burdick had him nearly pinned several times. But Wagner persevered and came from three points down late in the third period to earn a 12-11 decision and a second straight trip to the state tournament.
"Billy did a great job of hanging in there in that match," Filius said. "It was a tough one for him to win, but he really gutted it out when things weren't going his way."
The drama did not end with Wagner's gutsy win. In the 112-pound final, sophomore Clint Bradbury also found himself in trouble in the first period. Despite holding a sizable lead in the first period, Bradbury was put to the mat by Belgrade's Joe Klemann and was then nearly pinned on two occasions in the second period. But Bradbury was able to escape both times and ended up pinning Klemann early in the third period to also earn his second trip to the state meet.
The Ponies' sophomore standouts continued their run through the finals with Nate Harada making short work of Lewistown's Toby Wahl in the 119-pound championship. Fellow sophomore Beau LaSalle followed that up by pinning Lewistown's Alan Moline in the 125-pound final. LaSalle's win made Havre four for four with wins early on in the final round.
"Our young kids wrestled really well," Filius said. "Their goals were to get in good shape for the state tournament and they did that. They are all going to have tough draws, but they are wrestling well right now and they did a good job on Saturday."
In the 130-pound final, the Ponies lost only their second match of the day as junior Gray Chagnon dropped a 10-2 decision to Livingston's Lance Wilson.
However, junior Mike Hipple got the Ponies right back on the winners' stand with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Lewistown's Jason French. While Hipple was heavily favored to win the divisional championship, it certainly did not come easy.
"That is a tough situation for Mike and he probably could have wrestled better," Filius said. "But he did a good job of fighting through it and he found a way to get it done."
Havre's streak of consecutive pins in the finals may have come to an end with Hipple, but Mike Sutherland got that streak going again when he pinned the Eagles' Dustin Lemmon just seconds into the second period of the 140-pound championship match. Sutherland won all three of his matches by fall on Saturday and none of those matches reached the third period, which earned him the quick pin award for the day.
There were no surprises at 145 pounds as No. 1-ranked Dustin Scotten of Lewistown earned a 15-4 major decision over Adam Burrington in the final. Scotten wrestled injured most of the day, but still found a way to capture the divisional championship, which was his second straight.
Havre also dropped the 152-pound final as Belgrade's Trevor Thomas pinned Dallas Thompson late in the match.
Evan Hinebauch got the Ponies back on track as he pinned Lewistown's Mitch Ritchey in the second period of the 160-pound championship.
Chad Seely earned his second straight divisional championship with a pin of Browning's Ryan Running Crane in the 189-pound final.
The day wrapped up with Bill Zuelke losing a tough match to Browning's Anthony Boyce in the 215-pound final.
For the day, the Ponies were as close to perfect as a wrestling team can be, losing only four matches the entire tournament. And while Filius was more than pleased with their efforts, his attention is now squarely focused on an even bigger prize, which is just a mere four days away.
"All of the kids did a great job in this tournament and they did exactly what we wanted them to do, so I am really pleased with how the tournament went," Filius said. "I think we should be set up pretty good for the state tournament. But they all know that they have to go out and do it on the mat and it will be tough."
Havre and its 19 wrestlers will now head to the all-class state wrestling tournament as one of the favorites to capture the Class A state championship. The tournament will get under way Friday morning and run through Saturday night at the Billings Metra Park.
1. Havre 388; 2. Lewistown 187; 3. Belgrade 137; 4. Browning 96; 5. Livingston 88; 6. Butte Central 10.
98 - Chad Ranes, Havre,won by forfeit; 105 - Billy Wagner, HAV dec. Brady Burdick, LIV 12-11; 112 - Clint Bradbury, HAV pinned Joe Klemann, BEL 4:17; 119 - Nathan Harada, HAV pinned Toby Wahl, LEW 1:12; 125 - Beau LaSalle, HAV pinned Alan Moline, LEW 3:51; 130 - Lance Wilson, LIV dec. Gray Chagnon, HAV 10-2; 135 - Michael Hipple, HAV dec. Jason French, LEW 2-1; 140 - Michael Sutherland, HAV pinned Dustin Lemmon, 2:08; 145 - Dustin Scotten, LEW dec. Adam Burrington, HAV 15-4; 152 - Trevor Thomas, BEL pinned Dallas Thompson, HAV 5:28; 160 - Evan Hinebauch, HAV pinned Mitch Ritchey, LEW 3:55; 171 - Cody Seely, HAV won by forfeit; 189 - Chad Seely, HAV pinned Ryan Running Crane, BRO 3:14; 215 - Anthony Boyce, BRO pinned Bill Zuelke, HAV 3:22; 275 - Matt Schnittgen, HAV won by forfeit.
Third place matches
98 - Mario Bartloettii, BC dec. Brett McClellan, BEL 7-4; 105 - Kyle Ritterbush, LIV won by forfeit; 112 - Brandon Hemsath, LEW pinned Danica Burgess, LIV 1:53; 119 - Alberto Getz, BEL pinned Doug Joppa, BC 2:37; 125 - Rehhon Stoddard, LIV won by forfeit; 130 - Kyle Sweeney, LEW pinned Lee Goodwyn, LEW 2:21; James Armstrong, BEL dec. Luke Jesson, LIV 4-2; 140 - Brendon Lemmon, LEW dec. Steve Yurish 13-8; 145 - Vern Wagner, BRO pinned Coy Harwood, BRO 1:28; 152 - Allen Mad Plume, BRO pinned John Pererschick, LEW 2:34; Jesse Kjelsrud, BEL pinned Chuck Blake, BEL 3:06; 171 - Ryan Langley, BEL pinned Dave Cash, BEL 3:59; 189 - Justin Taliaferro, LIV pinned Ed Self, BEL 4:14; 215 - Tyler Wheeler, HAV pinned Andrew Uptain, BEL 1:17; 275 - Coley Potts, BRO pinned Kody Dyson, LEW 2:44.
98 - Chad Ranes, HAV pinned Shane Kelly, LEW, :22; Ryan Shelstad, HAV dec. Mario Bartoletti, BC, 10-6; 105 - Billy Wagner, HAV tech fall Kyle Ritterbusch, LIV, 23-5; Brady Burdick, LIV bye; 112 - Clint Bradbury, HAV pinned Danica Burgess, LIV, :26; Joe Klemann, BEL pinned Brandon Hemsath, LEW, :58; 119 - Nate Harada, HAV pinned Doug Joppa, BC, 1:05; Toby Wahl, LEW dec. Alberto Getz, BEL, 6-5; 125 - Beau LaSalle, HAV bye; Alan Moline, LEW pinned Rehnon Stoddard, LIV, 1:56; 130 - Lance Wilson, LIV pinned Lee Goodwyn, LEW, 2:14; Gray Chagnon, HAV pinned Kyle Sweeney, LEW, 5:33; 135 - Mike Hipple, HAV pinned James Armstrong, BEL, 4:00; Jason French, LEW dec. Luke Jesson, LIV, 8-6; 140 - Mike Sutherland, HAV pinned Brandon Lemmon, LEW, 1:43; Dustin Lemmon, LEW pinned Steve Yurish, BEL, 3:55; 145 - Dustin Scotten, LEW major dec. Coy Harwood, BRO, 14-3; Adam Burrington, HAV pinned Vern Wagner, BRO, 1:23; 152 - Dallas Thompson, HAV dec. Allen Mad Plume, BRO, 4-0; Trevor Thomas, BEL pinned John Petershick, LEW, 2:29; Evan Hinebauch, HAV Tech fall Chuck Blake, BEL, 18-3; Mitch Ritchey, LEW major dec. Jesse Kjelsrud, BEL, 14-1; 171 - Dustin Haukenberry, HAV pinned Dave Cash, BEL, 3:09; Cody Seely, HAV major dec. Ryan Langley, BEL, 11-2; 189 - Chad Seely, HAV pinned Ed Self, BEL, :45; Ryan Running Crane, BRO pinned Justin Taliaferro, LIV, :43; 215 - Bill Zuelke, HAV pinned Andrew Uptain, BEL, 4:35; Anthony Boyce dec. Tyler Wheeler, HAV, 4-3; HWT - Matt Schnittgen, HAV pinned Kody Dyson, LEW, 2:56; Stephen Brown, HAV major dec. Jordan McClure, BRO, 21-12.