Havre's Dustin Odegard (top) grabs the leg of a Whitefish opponent during the first day of the 2012 Class A state tournament in Billings.
BILLINGS - The Havre High wrestling team is within striking distance of another Class A state championship, thanks to some impressive performances on the opening day of the 2012 Class A state tournament at the Metra in Billings.
The Blue Ponies advanced eight wrestlers into Saturday's semifinal round, with Grayson Brenna (98), Dylan Stewart (105), Thomas Gruber (130), Eli Hinebauch (152), Kameron Pribyl (160), Grant Pattison (171), Casey Schaub (189) and Tyler Adams (215) all going 2-0 on Friday. Hinebauch kept his perfect season going with two pins, while Schaub, Pribyl and Adams also cruised. Pattison and Gruber both garnered huge quarterfinal wins for the Ponies, while Brenna and Stewart advanced in their first-ever trip to state as the Ponies scored 107.5 points.
But as well as Havre did, including winning 12 first-round matches, including 10 by pinfall, Corvallis was the top dog on Friday and defending state champion Laurel was right there too. The Blue Devils scored 112.5 points to lead the way, while the Locomotives came in third with 98 points. Both the Blue Devils and Locomotives also put eight wrestlers in the semis. At the end of the first day, Sidney was a distant fourth with 80 points.
Havre started the day with 19 wrestlers, but the Ponies are down to just 11 to start Saturday morning. At 112 pounds, sophomore Nate Kennelly is still alive after losing in the quarters, as is heavyweight Kolton Lodge. At 119 pounds, Gilbert Bara wrestled just once, losing a heartbreaker against Laurel in the quarters. Bara received a first-round by and a forfeit in his second-round consolation match.
Gunnar Aageson, Dillon Seely, Jordan Schroeder and Jayson Kohler also scored points for the Ponies, but were all eliminated in the second round of the consolation bracket.
The Class A state tournament continues Saturday morning and the finals are set for 4 p.m. Continue to follow the Blue Ponies Saturday online at www.havredailynews.com and on twitter at titter/havredaily.
For full HHS coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.