Havre Daily News sports editor
BILLINGS - For the first day of the 2006 Class A state wrestling tournament in Billings, the Havre Blue Ponies and Sidney Eagles danced around each other and kept each other well within sight.
After Friday's quarterfinal round, the Eagles held a 1-point lead in the team standings. However, the Ponies were sending 10 wrestlers into the semifinals while the Eagles had nine.
On Saturday morning, Sidney threw a punch and it landed squarely on Havre's jaw. The Ponies lost six of their 10 semifinal matches, including three head-to-head bouts with the Eagles. When the dust settled, seven Eagles advanced to the finals.
Havre fans were dubbing the morning “Black Saturday.”
Even though the Ponies' semifinal catastrophe most likely cost them a shot at catching the Eagles for the state championship, the day was not all dark.
While the Eagles captured their fourth straight Class A championship by scoring a tournament record 282 points, Havre finished a strong second with 238.5 points, easily outdistancing the rest of the field. Libby was third with 178 points.
Individually, the Ponies placed 11 wrestlers, including four freshmen. Juniors Evan Hinebauch (171) and Matt Schnittgen at heavyweight both repeated as state champions.
“It is tough because going into the semifinals we had put ourselves in a very good position,” HHS head coach Scott Filius said. “And even though it looked bad in the semifinals, we lost two matches in overtime and two heartbreakers at the buzzer.
“You can always look back and say a lot of what-ifs,” he added. “But I am very proud of this team. They did all they could do and they all wrestled extremely hard all weekend. At the end of the day you just have to take your hat off to Sidney. They are a great program, they are well coached and they are a real classy organization. And they are great champions.”
While Hinebauch and Schnittgen put the finishing touches on a tremendous season for Havre High on Saturday night, the entire HHS team deserves a share of the spotlight for what it did this weekend in Billings.
After the first round, Havre had 16 wrestlers in the quarterfinals. And unlike the previous two seasons, the Ponies never let Sidney out of sight.
Havre's freshmen class also served notice this weekend that the future of HHS wrestling looks very bright.
HHS 105-pounder Myles Mazurkiewicz had an immediate impact on the Class A wrestling scene. Mazurkiewicz steamrolled his way into the final before falling to defending state champion Josh Stedman of Frenchtown. Mazurkiewicz showed all the makings of a future champion as he continued wrestling in the final match despite being knocked out cold in the second period.
At 130 pounds, freshman Ethan Hinebauch also showed that wrestling is in the genes. Hinebauch reached the semifinals, where he lost to three-time state champion Ryan Hecker of Sidney. He rebounded by pinning his next two opponents to finish third.
Philip Sutherland was also impressive in his state tournament debut. Sutherland came within seconds of defeating Sidney's Craig Dunn in the 140-pound semifinal. But Dunn, who went on to win the 140-pound state title, escaped with a 13-11 overtime decision, and Sutherland went on to place sixth.
Perhaps no HHS freshman made a bigger splash than 98-pounder Chris Recio. Win or lose, Recio's brash style of wrestling and constant smile lit up the Havre crowd every time he took the mat. In the quarterfinals Recio nearly knocked off eventual state champion Chad Hansen of Frenchtown. Despite the loss, Recio came back to finish a very impressive fourth.
“All of our freshmen wrestled well all season,” Filius said. “But what these guys did this weekend was darn impressive. Three freshmen in the semis, Myles Mazurkiewicz in the final. That is just a product of how hard those kids worked this season.”
While Havre's youth shined in Billings, the Ponies' veterans didn't do too badly either.
Sophomore Ryan Shelstad dominated the 98-pound weight class until the final, where he lost a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Hansen.
At 125 pounds, Beau LaSalle and Nate Harada had to square off in a match that neither of them wanted to be in.
Both Blue Ponies had easily reached the semifinals. But LaSalle was upset in overtime by Lane Torgison of Polson, and Harada lost a close decision to eventual state champ Joe Carlson of Glendive. As they have done so often in practice, the teammates met in the consolation final, with LaSalle coming out on top, 2-0.
Meanwhile, Havre's two seniors ended their careers in different ways. Cody Seely, mohawk and all, had a tremendous state tournament, finishing third. Seely wrapped up his HHS career by defeating Sidney's Trevor Getchell twice, including a 3-1 thriller in the consolation final.
Defending state champion Mike Hipple didn't fare as well, at no fault of his own. Hipple, who captured the 130-pound championship last season, was the favorite to win Class A's toughest weight class in 2006, the 119-pound division.
Hipple was upset by Sidney's Lance Kuylen in the semifinals. Despite holding a sizeable lead over Kuylen in the third period, Hipple was on a mission to score team points, and when he just missed a move that would have had Kuylen pinned, he was reversed and was held to the mat, earning Kuylen enough back points to prevail. The loss shocked the Havre contingent and brought back vivid memories of 2004 when two-time HHS state champion Jeff Hedges had the same thing happen to him against Kuylen's older brother in the semifinals.
“It tears your heart and you feel so bad for a kid like Mike Hipple because he works so hard,” Filius said. “But he isn't the kind of wrestler who is going to stall out a match. He was trying to win that match and get more points for his team and that is what makes him so great.
“We're going to really miss Mike and Cody Seely. Seely had a great tournament and both of those guys are two of the hardest working kids I have ever been around and they have both been an absolute pleasure to coach.”
Even though things didn't go Havre's way throughout the tournament, the Ponies proved that they are still a force in Class A wrestling, as the second-place finish was Havre's second straight. The Ponies only graduate two wrestlers and have another outstanding freshmen class coming in.
“These kids worked their tails off this season,” Filius said. “You feel bad for them because they came here trying to win the whole thing and that didn't happen.
“But this is one of the hardest working groups I have ever been around and this team has been a pleasure to coach all season long,” he added. “There is no doubt the future of our program is in really good shape right now.”Class A
Sidney 282, Havre 238 1/2, Libby 178, Polson 132, Whitefish 127, Frenchtown 115, Corvallis 103 1/2, Ronan 94, Miles City 93, Anaconda 70, Columbia Falls 66 1/2, Hamilton 64 1/2, Dillon 60 1/2, Glendive 59, Laurel 47 1/2, Hardin 44, Lewistown 33, Belgrade 30, Livingston 20, Billings Central 13, Browning 5.
98 - C. Hansen, FTN, d. R. Shelstadt, HAV, 1-0.
105 - J. Stedman, FTN, p. M. Mazurkiewicz, HAV, 5:04.
112 - J. Oberfell, SID, md. D. Hanson, ANA, 14-5.
119 - B. Stedman, FTN, d. L. Kuylen, SID, 8-4.
125 - J. Carlson, GLE, d. L. Torgison, POL, 7-4.
130 - R. Hecker, SID, p. C. Pete, CFS, 3:08.
135 - B. Kuylen, SID, p. W. Fife, LAU, 1:22.
140 - C. Dunn, SID, d. J. Hyde, HAR, 6-4.
145 - D. Fritz, SID, d. M. Lewis, HAM, 5-2.
152 - G. Melby, SID, d. T. Morigeau, POL, 3-1.
160 - B. Watterud, WFH, d. S. Bertelsen, LIB, 2-1.
171 - E. Hinebauch, HAV, d. J. Spencer, LIB, 5-4.
189 - B. Picard, POL, d. J. Graham, LIB, 7-3.
215 - T. Hjort, LIB, p. M. Bellon, ANA, 2:17.
Hwt - M. Schnittgen, HAV, p. A. Jones, POL, 3:13.
Individual Havre Results
98 - Ryan Shelstad (2nd Place)
1st Rd - Shelstad maj. dec. S. Medland, POL, 11-1; Quarters - Shelstad maj. dec. C. Sprague, FTN, 17-4; Semis - Shelstad pinned P. Murphy, WF, :51; Finals - C. Hansen, FTN dec. Shelstad 1-0.
98 - Chris Recio (4th Place)
1st Rd - Recio pinned Z. Robinson, RON, 4:41; Quarters - C. Hansen, FTN dec. Recio, 10-7; Consolation 2nd Rd - Recio pinned S. Naumen, LAU, 1:46; Consolation Quarters - Recio maj. dec. C. Patterson, CF, 12-4; Consolation Semis - Recio pinned Murphy, WF, 5:32; Consolation Final - L. Johnson, SID dec. Recio, 5-3.
105 - Myles Mazurkiewicz (2nd Place)
1st Rd - Mazurkiewicz pinned L. Ricke, LIB, 1:19; Quarters - Mazurkiewicz tech. fall E. Padden, LAU, 16-0; Semis - Mazurkiewicz pinned K. Zumpf, MC, 5:08; Finals - Stedman, FTN pinned Mazurkiewicz, 5:04.
112 - Chad Ranes
1st Rd - S. Ludwick, POL dec. Ranes, 6-1; Consolation 2nd Rd - D. Powers, COR pinned Ranes, 2:55.
119 - Mike Hipple (4th Place)
1st Rd - Hipple pinned T. Pete, CF, :41; Quarters - Hipple pinned S. Fox, LAU, 3:35; Semis - L. Kuylen, SID dec. Hipple, 9-7; Consolation Semis - Hipple maj. dec. C. Kolodejchuk, CF, 14-1; Consolation Final - C. Benson, POL dec. Hipple, 2-1.
119 - Billy Wagner
1st Rd - Wagner maj. dec. L. Nelson, LIB, 10-2; Quarters - B. Stedman, FTN maj. dec. Wagner, 13-0; Consolation 2nd Rd - Wagner dec. K. Stoddard, DIL, 4-2; Consolation Quarters - Kolodejchuk, CF dec. Wagner, 4-1.
125 - Beau LaSalle (3rd Place)
1st Rd - LaSalle pinned R. Lachau, RON, 1:30; Quarters - LaSalle maj. dec. B. Nordahl, FTN, 12-4; Semis - L. Torgison, POL, dec. LaSalle, 5-3 (OT); Consolation Semis - LaSalle, dec. B. Peak, LIB, 5-3; Cosolation Final - LaSalle dec. N. Harada, HAV, 2-0.
125 - Nate Harada (4th Place)
1st Rd - Harada pinned C. Morris, WF, :38; Quarters - Harada dec. B. Makor, MC, 9-6; Semis - J. Carlson, GLE dec. Harada, 7-6; Consolation Semis - Harada dec. Peak, LIB, 6-3.
130 - Ethan Hinebauch (3rd Place)
1st Rd - Hinebauch pinned B. Burman, GLE, 2:42; Quarters - Hinebauch pinned K. Kaltschmidt, WF, 2:50; Semis - R. Hecker, SID tech. fall Hinebauch, 21-4; Consolation Semis - Hinebauch pinned D. Love, HAM, 3:26; Consolation Finals - Hinebauch pinned R. Wolfe, DIL, 1:23.
135 - Clint Bradbury
1st Rd - Bradbury maj. dec. T. Manolis, HAR, 12-3; Quarters - M. Starr, WF dec. Bradbury, 14-9; Consolation 2nd Rd - L. Jesson, LIV dec. Bradbury, 7-5.
140 - Philip Sutherland (6th Place)
1st Rd - Sutherland dec. B. Olson, LAU, 11-4; Quarters - Sutherland pinned B. Johnson, POL, 1:18; Semis - C. Dunn, SID dec. Sutherland, 13-11 (OT); Consolation Semis - B. Kmetz, MC maj. dec. Sutherland, 14-2; Fifth/Sixth - B. Johnson, POl dec. Sutherland.
145 - Aaron Olson
1st Rd - Olson dec. R. Adams, LAU, 10-4; Quarters - M. Lewis, HAM pinned Olson, 2:24; Consolation 2nd Rd - B. Kuntz, WF pinned Olson, 3:21.
152 - Jeff Crawford
1st Rd - J. Wemple, HAR pinned Crawford, 1:57; Consolation 1st Rd - J. Krantz, RON, 2:36.
160 - Logan Gjesdal
1st Rd - S. Hughes, ANA pinned Gjesdal, :36; 1st Rd Consolation - B. White, RON, pinned Gjesdal, :39.
171 - Evan Hinebauch (State Champion)
1st Rd - Hinebauch pinned C. Forsman, ANA 1:04; Quarters - Hinebauch pinned T. Espinoza, RON, :57; Semis - Hinebauch pinned T. Lehner, WF, :57; Finals - Hinebauch dec. J. Spencer, LIB, 5-4.
189 - Chris Buskirk
1st Rd - Buskirk pinned O. Stephens, HAM, 2:54; Quarters - J. Ryan, GLE pinned Buskirk, 2:00; Consolation 2nd Rd - Buskirk pinned L. Guenzler, RON, 1:26; Consolation Quarters - J. Wood, COR pinned Buskirk, 4:34.
215 - Cody Seely (3rd Place)
1st Rd - Seely pinned J. Reinschmidt, HAM, :23; Quarters - Seely dec. T. Getchell, SID, 6-3; Semis - M. Bellon, ANA dec. Seely, 6-4; Consolation Semis - Seely pinned D. Brown, RON, 3:47; Consolation Final - Seely dec. Getchell, SID, 3-1.
HWT - Matt Schnittgen (State Champion)
1st Rd - Schnittgen won by injury default; Quarters - Schnittgen pinned T. Goff, LIB, 1:20; Semis - Schnittgen pinned B. Cranmore, COR; 3:03; Final - Schnittgen pinned A. Jones, POL, 3:13.