It is one jam-packed weekend after another for the Havre High wrestling team, and this week is no exception as the Blue Ponies face one of the toughest fields of competition they will see this season.
Just one week after placing second at the Mining City Duals (lost to Sidney in championship), the Central A Ponies will now take on the CMR Holiday Classic in Great Falls on Friday and Saturday.
Last season the Ponies finished as the No. 7 team, they finished No. 4 two years ago and in recent times. They’ve won CMR titles. ButGrayson Brenna, who finished in fourth place a year ago in Great Falls is only returning placer for the Ponies.. But always being one of the top teams in attendance, HHS is ready for another challenging weekend against teams like Great Falls High, Billings Skyview, Glacier, Forsyth, Laurel, Billings Senior, Helena, Bozeman, Belgrade, Choteau, Dillon, Butte, Glasgow, Lewistown, Billings West, CMR, Chinook, Harlem and Conrad among others. Typically, nearly 50 teams and hundreds of wrestlers enter the CMR tourney.
“We’ve got decent depth,” HHS head coach Scott Filius said. “And we are moving some guys around. And hopefully we will see how kids compete at a tournament like this. Those duals are always fun because all of your teammates are sitting right there on the edge of the mat, but we will see how the kids do without a bunch of friends sitting right there.”
Changes to the HHS lineup come at 105 pounds, 112 pounds, 119 pounds and 125 pounds. Brenna will drop down to 105, While Dylan Stewart will move to 112. HHS will be open at 119, while freshman Dylan Carpenter makes his first varsity start at 125. The rest of the Pony lineup will consist of Keegan Kennelly (98), Thomas Gruber (130), Gilbert Bara (135), Gunnar Aageson (140), Kody Pribyl (145), Jordan Schroeder (152), JT Belcourt (160), Jake Williams (171), Grant Pattison (189), Tyler Adams (215) and Dustin Odegard (HWT).
The Pony grapplers have wrestled well to start the season, but coach Filius said conditioning came into play last weekend in their loss to Sidney. HHS wrestled seven duals, and did hit somewhat of a small wall in the seventh against a good Sidney team. Conditioning will come into play again this weekend, as the better the kids wrestle, the more matches they will get, but that is something the Ponies will look to take care of all season long.
“We will probably be addressing it all year,” Filius said. “It would be nice if we could fix it all in one week, but I think you will see better effort and intensity, and I am not really worried about it.”
The majority of the Ponies have about 15 matches behind them, and this is another big weekend. Grapplers will get more matches against top tier opponents and it should be another big step forward towards getting better and prepared for the postseason. Scoring on the edge, at the end of periods, and having good mat awareness will be crucial.
“If those things start to happen,” Filius said. “Then they can really start adding to their repertoire. Hopefully that is what we see this weekend. If your kids and team is scoring on the edge and at the end of periods, then generally they are having success. We will be banging on the door with everybody on Saturday, so we will just have to see where we are at.”
Friday and Saturday the Ponies will compete at the CMR Holiday Classic in Great Falls.