Montana takes its high school wrestling serious, and nowhere is that more clear than right here in Havre.
Ever since head coach Scott Filius took the reigns of an already prestigious Havre High wrestling program over a decade ago, the Blue Ponies have been nearly untouchable. Now heading into his 16th season, Filius and the Ponies will look to once again exit the season as the No. 1 Class A team in the state.
A year ago the Ponies captured their fourth straight state championship, their seventh overall under Filius. And now with plenty of new faces and young talent, HHS will look to extend their streak to five.
The Ponies begin that quest on Friday and Saturday with the Havre Invitational. And with the dawn of a new season, the HDN sat down with Filius to pick his brain about wrestling and the chance of repeating, again.
HDN: What has made the Blue Pony wrestling program so successful since you have taken over as head coach?
Filius: “Kids who are willing to work hard. Having kids who are willing to put the time in makes a huge difference. You have to have kids willing to put in quality time in season, and then time during the offseason as well.”
HDN: How big would it be for you and for the Havre High wrestling program to win a fifth straight state championship?
Filius: “I guess I don’t really look at it as five straight, I look at it as this year. We are trying to keep them one at a time, but I fully expect the kids to go out with that their goal and that being what they worked in the offseason for.”
HDN: What’s the mood or energy like heading into a new season?
Filius: “With the success that we have had we’ve had kids that have come in excited the last several years, and this year is no different. The big change is that we have had a lot of kids the last couple of years that have been starters for three and four years of their career that have graduated. We have a lot of young faces in the lineup, and those young faces are working really hard and doing what’s expected from them. It’s a lot of fun right now actually.”
HDN: What is your most memorable coaching moment?
Filius: “I suppose the first state championship was neat because it was the first one, and we weren’t smart enough to figure out the team scores to know that we had actually won it. But they (state titles) are all special in their own way. It’s always a different group of kids who have met their goals. They are all different and fun, but that first one was exciting for different reasons.”
HDN: What are you most excited about this season?
Filius: “The young kids to be honest with you. I have some seniors, and those seniors have been our bread and butter for several years, but we aren’t senior laden by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve got these young kids who are exciting right now.”