Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After looking nearly invincible throughout the first two weeks of the season, the Havre High wrestling team will face its stiffest challenge yet this weekend at the CMR Holiday Classic. The CMR tournament is one of the biggest and most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the state of Montana, and is typically known as one of the toughest in the Pacific Northwest, with top teams from class AA, class A, and class B-C all competing. But with the way the No. 1-ranked Ponies have dominated the competition so far, they will surely be looking forward to a challenge. “I feel pretty good about our team right now,” HHS head coach Scott Filius said. “We have a lot of depth on our roster and when you look at our lineup, we really don’t have a lot of weaknesses.” Havre has had its share of success in the holiday classic over the last few years, winning the championship in 2004 and finishing a close second last year to Billings Skyview. Havre had five individual champions at the event from a year ago and all five of them return this year. Top-ranked Evan Hinebauch leads the way at 189 pounds as does top-ranked Matt Schnittgen at 275 pounds. Fourth-ranked Beau LaSalle is a returning champion who will compete at 130 pounds, and fifth-ranked Myles Mazurkiewicz. Lorren Mack also won an individual championship at the CMR tournament last year, but he will not be competing this week. “We have a lot of guys back from last year that did really well,” Filius said. “We had five individual champions and I think that this year we have some other kids that have a chance to do very well.” The Ponies have a number of wrestlers appearing in the rankings this week with a total of 12 wrestlers currently ranked in Class A. After Hinebauch and Schnittgen, who top the rankings in their respective weight classes, junior Ryan Shelstad is ranked No. 2 at 112 pounds. Sophomore Ethan Hinebauch is ranked third at 145 pounds and then Havre has a slew of wrestlers currently ranked fourth in their weight class with Chris Recio at 98 pounds, Nate Harada at 135 pounds, Phillip Sutherland at 152 pounds and Chris Buskirk at 215 pounds. Rounding out the lineup this week for Havre will be sixth-ranked Logan Reichelt at 140 pounds, followed by Tyson Gruber at 119 pounds and Curtis Shandorf at 160 pounds. Havre will have open spots at both 112 pounds and 171 pounds this week. The event will feature 32 teams and it will be the Ponies’ first big invitational of the year. After cruising to the championship at the Mining City Duals last weekend, highlighted by dual victories over Great Falls High and Kalispell. Havre is the favorite to win the team championship this weekend in Great Falls, but there will be no shortage of teams gunning to knock them off. Some of the top challengers will be defending champion Billings Skyview, Great Falls High, CMR, Butte High as well as Glasgow and Conrad from the Class B ranks. “I think it will be a good challenge for us,” Filius said. “Duals are great because you get a lot of matches and we have done well in them this season. But now we are in our first individual tournament of the year. You are still a team, but you have to go out there as an individual and we will see if our kids keep wrestling as hard as they have in the duals. “Our goal is obviously to win the tournament,” he added. The CMR Holiday Classic will get under way at 11 a.m. Friday and resume at 10 a.m. on Saturday. All of the action will take place at the CMR Fieldhouse in Great Falls.