The Great Falls High Bison wrestling team has proven to be one of the top Class AA programs in the state. And while the Havre High Ponies did find some success against the powerhouse Bison, the Ponies learned just how tough the Bison are first hand.
Tuesday night at the Havre High gymnasium, the Central A Blue Ponies hosted the Bison for a non-conference dual. Both teams were coming off of their respected class duals over the weekend, and both teams put up a fight despite the short turnaround.
But it was the Bison who took down the Ponies 51-24.
“We lost two overtime matches, a one point match,” Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. “And stalled ourselves out of another. Those sound like excuses, and they are, we got beat. They (Bison) are good, we were close, but we aren’t good enough yet because we didn’t win the close ones and that is what separates the real good teams from the good teams. Right now Great Falls is at the top end of that and it is always more fun when you are at the top.”
It is always tough to suffer a big loss at home, no matter the opponent. But win or lose, the Ponies will only improve from taking on a team like the Bison, especially with divisionals and the state tournament just around the corner.
The Bison house some of the top talent in the state, starting at the bottom of their lineup and moving all the way to the top. And their skill and fight will help the Ponies improve, especially in tight matches where thing may come down to the wire. The Ponies knew they were taking on an opponent that would not let up for the entire six minutes.
“A lot of times we run into teams that lay down in the third period,” Filius said. “They are done. The only way we can raise our level is to face better people, and after you get done sniveling because you got beat in your own gym, you feel pretty good about the opportunity to improve.”
To start the dual, Havre quickly fell behind 42-0, losing the first nine matches.
Grayson Brenna (98) lost a 6-4 decision, while Dylan Stewart (105) lost a 20-8 major decision. Nate Kennelly (112) fell in 1:27 and Gilbert Bara (119) lost a 9-7 decision. This was Bara’s first match of the season. At 125-pounds, Dustin Seely lost by way of technical fall, and at 130-pounds, Thomas Gruber lost a tight 3-2 decision. Rounding off the nine-match slide, Matt Emge (135) fell in 4:33, while Dillon Seely (140) was injured and forced to forfeit in the opening seconds, and Jordan Schroeder (145) was pinned in 5:49.
Tyler Adams (215) and Kolton Lodge (285) also lost later in the dual. Adams lost a 7-5 decision and Lodge was pinned in 3:54.
But the Ponies did give fans something to cheer about when they followed the nine straight losses with four straight big-time wins.
At 152 pounds, sophomore Jayson Kohler got another shot at a varsity match and didn’t disappoint. Kohler pinned Jacob Oberholter in just 41 seconds. And following suit, senior Eli Hinebauch (160) pinned Aaron Carpenter in just 28 seconds. Senior Kameron Pribyl (171) also earned a pin in 4:42, while senior Casey Schaub (189) pinned Mateo Amatto-Cattaneo in just 20 seconds.
“I have expected those guys to win and they have done that for the last four years,” Filius said. “It’s been fun. But the nice part about that is, right in the middle of that was Jayson Kohler. He has done nothing but get better from the beginning of the year to now, and he is wrestling as well as anybody right now. He is a real nice addition.”
HHS trailed 42-24 after the four straight wins, but the Bison put the finishing touches on the dual with wins at 215 and 285 pounds.
Havre High will wrestle in their home finale this weekend. On Friday the Ponies will host a triangular with Forsyth and Conrad.
Great Falls 51, Havre 24
98 – Jarren Komac, GFH dec. Grayson Brenna, 6-4; 105 – Casey Dobson, GFH maj. dec. Dylan Stewart, 20-8; 112 – Josh Smart, GFH pinned Nate Kennelly, 1:27; 119 – Kenton Evans, GFH dec. Gilbert Bara, 9-7; 125 – Kessler Leonard, GFH tech. fall Dustin Seely, 16-1; 130 – Austin Schupe, GFH dec. Thomas Gruber 3-2; 135 – Destin Wassmann, GFH pinned Matt Emge 4:33; 140 – Cole Mendenhall, GFH won by injury default Dillon Seely; 145 – Josh Morin, GFH pinned Jordan Schroeder, 5:49; 152 – Jayson Kohler, HAV pinned Jacob Oberholtzer, :41; 160 – Eli Hinebauch, HAV pinned Aaron Carpenter, :28; 171 – Kameron Pribyl, HAV pinned Tyler Weaver, 4:42; 189 – Casey Schaub, HAV pinned Mateo Amatto-Cattaneo, :20; 215 – Anreas Geranios, GFH dec. Tyler Adams 7-5; 285 – Bridger Wren, GFH pinned Kolton Lodge 3:54.