Havre Daily News
The Havre High wrestling team this weekend will head toward the Rocky Mountains and, more importantly, the wrestling-rich town of Butte.
The Ponies are coming off a dominating performance in the season-opening Havre Invitational, in which they had 19 wrestlers place and nine wrestlers take home individual titles.
Now, the Ponies will head to Butte in search of a new challenge, and they should get one at the always-tough Class AA Mining City Duals. The competition should be a little stronger this weekend as the Mining City Duals always command some of the top teams in the state.
“It's a good tournament because all our kids get to wrestle a lot of matches, not just our better kids,” HHS head coach Scott Filius said. “It is a great chance for the younger guys to get some experience and some mat time, and it's good for our better wrestlers because it gives them a chance to showcase their abilities.”
The No. 2-ranked Class A Blue Ponies will look to showcase what they can do against some of the best teams in Class AA, but first the Ponies will have to get through the likes of Colstrip, Great Falls High and Corvallis in pool competition on Friday, with GFH probably being the Ponies' toughest challenge out of the three.
“Great Falls High is a tough, young team,” Filius said. “They are always in great condition and they are always very competitive. Corvallis is also always a tough team. Whether they are talented or not, they are always very strong.”
The Ponies will also wrestle in Butte tonight as they will dual both Butte Central and Belgrade in an early-season match-up of Central A rivals. Both teams competed last weekend in Havre.
The Ponies are led by their two top-ranked wrestlers. Evan Hinebauch, who wrestles at 171 pounds, will look to build on his solid start as he captured the individual title last weekend. Top-ranked and defending state champion Matt Schnittgen, who will wrestle in the heavyweight division, will also look to keep his streak of dominance intact this weekend.
The Ponies will also bring quite a few other very highly ranked wrestlers into Butte this weekend, including Ryan Shelstad, who took first place last weekend and will wrestle at 98 pounds. Freshman Myles Mazurkiewicz, who will wrestle at 105 pounds, is also coming off a first-place showing last weekend.
Beau LaSalle will man the 125-pound weight class for the Ponies and will look to continue the momentum he picked up after defeating Class B state champion Egan Black twice last weekend in Havre. At 140 pounds, the Ponies will have Logan Reichelt, who earned a dramatic victory last weekend and will look to continue his solid start to the season.
Some other Ponies who come into the weekend ranked and looking to do well include: Chad Ranes at 119 pounds, Nate Harada at 130 pounds, Cody Seely at 215 pounds, and freshman Phillip Sutherland at 145 pounds.
Rounding out the lineup for the Ponies this weekend will be Ethan Hinebauch at 135 pounds, Jeff Crawford at 152 pounds, Curtis Shandorf at 160 pounds and Chris Buskirk at 189 pounds.
Defending state champion Mike Hipple, who is normally a fixture in the Ponies' lineup, will be out at least another week due to an injury he suffered at the Havre tournament last Friday.
“We had a good week of practice and we are getting in better shape, but we still need to get some of the young guys to get more competitive,” Filius said. “We won this tournament last year and we were the first Class A team to do that, so we would sure like to do it again this year.”
Tonight's duals against Butte Central and Belgrade will get under way at 6 in Butte.
Pool competition at the Mining City Duals will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, and the tournament will get under way Saturday morning.