The Havre High wrestling team hasn’t seen much competition from the rest of the Class A this season, but this weekend the Blue Ponies will get their fill.
Friday and Saturday the Central A Ponies will travel to Belgrade for the Class A Duals. Along with host Belgrade, the rest of the Class A will be in attendance, including Frenchtown, Corvallis, Polson, Glendive, Ronan, Laurel, Hardin, Sidney, Lewistown, Miles City, Libby, Columbia Falls, Dillon, Hamilton, Anaconda, Whitefish, Livingston, Billings Central, Butte Central and Browning.
“We get to run into everybody we are going to see in the state tournament,” Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. “We need to see all of those guys, but you have to look at Belgrade as the favorite I would say. They are just that tough and have been all year.”
The Panthers were the No. 2 team in the state behind the Ponies a year ago. And with a solid returning core, they come back very strong, competitive and experienced. And if all goes according to plan, the Ponies will meet up with the Panthers later in the weekend.
But it will all depend on how the Ponies do on Friday. At 1:30 p.m. HHS will face Butte Central, and to follow, HHS will face Miles City at 4 p.m. and Dillon at 6:30 p.m.
Miles City and Dillon may present itself as the biggest challenge.
But no matter the team HHS faces, the Pony grapplers have to perform to the best of their ability from top to bottom.
Again, the Blue Ponies will be open at 98 and 140 pounds. But making up the remainder of the roster will be Nate Kennelly (105), Gilbert Bara (112), Duell Stadel (119), Thomas Gruber (125), Eli Hinebauch (145) Kameron Pribyl (152), Jake Williams (160), Tyler Adams (189), Josh Salapich (215) and Kolton Lodge at Heavyweight.
Casey Schaub will also make his return this weekend at 171 pounds. He has been absent from the lineup for several weeks now with an ailing injury, but his return is much anticipated. Schaub’s abilities are always missed when he is not on the mat, but his return will also help the Ponies because of their holes at 98 and 140, though that isn’t much of a concern at this point.
“In the Class A most people are missing somebody,” Filius said. “Normally we are going to give as much as we get in terms of forfeits, at least against Class A competition. And it’s always good to get one of your better kids back, and it’s always tough to wrestle without them. We have done well the last couple of weeks, but you never want to go for a prolonged period of time and we have been.”
With the postseason continuing to rapidly approach, the Ponies are still looking to improve. It has been the theme all season long, and will continue to do, weather the Ponies come away with the No. 1 spot or not this weekend in Belgrade.
“I just want the kids to compete to what they are capable of every match every time,” Filius said. “Consistency is really what we are after. If everybody does their best the team comes together. If we wrestle to our ability we are going to do just fine.”
Friday and Saturday the Ponies will be in Belgrade for the Class A duals where the Panthers are the defending champions. Belgrade beat HHS last year in the final.