HHS's Grayson Brenna (top) fights for position during the 98-pound Class A state championship Friday night in Billings.
BILLINGS - Heading into the second day of the Class A state tournament at the Billings Metra, the Havre High wrestling team was within striking distance of contending for the state championship. Havre never got there, but ultimately, the meet was decided because of a Havre High win.
On finals night Saturday, the Ponies won two of the three state championship matches they were in, the last coming in the final match of the night as Eli Hinebauch beat Laurel's Tommy Cooper 3-0 in the 152-pound finale. The win gave Hinebauch his second straight title in his four finals appearances. It also secured Corvallis' first state title in 10 years. Had Hinebauch lost to Cooper, Laurel could have successfully defended the crown it won last year in Butte. Instead, the Blue Devils scored 222.5 points while the Locomotives came in with 215. Havre wound up third with 188.5. It was the Ponies' eighth straight top three finish at the state meet.
Finals night began for Havre with senior Casey Schaub pinning Belgrade's Sam Van Beek in the 189-pound title bout. It was Schaub's first state championship, after he finished second a year ago. Then, freshman Grayson Brenna lost a tough 4-0 decision to Columbia Falls' Shaun Roberts at 98 pounds before Hinebauch capped off a perfect 56-0 season with his thrilling victory in the last weight class of the evening.
Overall, Havre placed nine wrestlers, including Kameron Pribyl (160), who lost a tough semifinal bout Saturday morning. Pribyl finished third at state for the second straight season. Freshman Dylan Stewart did the same, finishing third at 105 pounds. Grant Pattison (171) Gilbert Bara (119) and Tyler Adams (215) all won their final match of the season to finish fifth. Sophomore Thomas Gruber capped a great state tournament with a fourth-place finish. Gruber lost a heartbreaking decision in the semis and another tough one on the consolation final at 130 pounds.
For full Havre High coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.