Here’s an individual glance at each of Havre’s 17 wrestlers competing at the Class A state tournament, and their expected road to glory. The tournament runs Friday-Saturday at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings.
98 – Keegan Kennelly (26-5)
Kennelly has burst on to the prep wrestling team in a short amount of time. During the regular season, he captured prestigious titles at the CMR Holiday Classic and the Rocky Mountain Invitational, as well as winning the Central A title last weekend in Lewistown. He’s ranked No. 1 heading into the state meet, but will have his hands full in the final where he’ll likely face Butte Central’s Clay Stillwagon. The two have a budding rivalry and Stillwagon is the only returning placer at 98. Kennelly opens the tournament with James Buckley of Whitefish.
105 – Grayson Brenna (30-5)
Brenna reached the 98-pound title match as a freshman a year ago. He’s been ranked No. 1 at 105 for much of the season, while also competing at 112 from time-to-time. He’s a favorite to capture his first state title this weekend after wrestling at a high level all year long. But he’ll get tough competition from Sidney’s Ethan Graves, as well as Laurel’s Eddy Day and HHS teammate Logan Pleninger. Brenna wrestles Dillon Thorsteinson of Whitefish in the first round.
105 – Logan Pleninger (23-5)
Another of Havre’s stellar freshman class, Pleninger has been outstanding this season. He’s certainly capable of making a run in the 105-pound bracket, but will have a tough road with Anaconda’s Carson Meyer waiting for him in the quarterfinals. Pleninger opens his first state tournament with Libby’s Ty Hight.
112 – Dylan Stewart (32-8)
Stewart finished third at 105 pounds a season ago, and has been among the top 112-pounders all season long, while really anchoring Havre’s young lineup at the lower weights. However, 122 pounds is one of the loaded weight classes this weekend, with a former state champion in Columbia Falls’ Shonn Roberts, as well as Chase Connor of Corvallis, Tyler Isher of Frenchtown and Layne Schaefer of Sidney. A Central A champion, Stewart begins his quest against Jaben Wenzel of Polson.
130 – Thomas Gruber (30-5)
Gruber made a great run at the state tourney last season, placing fourth at 130. He’s back at the same weight this season and is fresh off a divisional championship. However, for the second year in a row Gruber is one of the premier bracket’s in Billings. He’s a top seed, but he’s got to contend with the likes of former state champ Karson Kukes of Laurel, as well as a pair of Glendive stars in Dillon Tennant and Tyler Forcella. Gruber’s tournament begins with Hardin’s Galbino Ramirez.
135 – Gilbert Bara (25-16)
One of only two seniors for HHS, Bara has placed at the state tournament three straight seasons, including finishing fifth at 119 last year. His experience will serve him well this weekend in a bracket which features two returning state champs in Belgrade’s Bryce Weatherston and Libby’s Mitch Haugen, as well stalwarts Cody Lemon of Frenchtown and Layne Lantis of Glendive. Bara squares off against another returning placer in Laurel’s Jon Verlanic.
140 – Kody Pribyl (25-15)
Pribyl is coming to state fresh off a divisional championship as a freshman. So he’s already got experience to draw on. His bracket is tough, with returning placers Craig Feistner of Polson and Dillon Beeler of Glendive, while Sidney’s Jordan Stevens is the favorite. But Pribyl can certainly make noise this weekend and will open the tourney against Jon Lemon of Hardin.
145 – Gunnar Aageson (12-23)
A sophomore, Aageson is making his second straight appearance at state. He scored for the Ponies a year ago, but he’ll have a really tough draw this weekend, including opening the tournament against top-seeded Tyler Kinn of Glendive. The bracket also features Belgrade’s Keaton Sterling and Corvallis’ Wyatt Cott, but the opportunity for Aageson to score points in the wrestlebacks will be there.
152 – Jordan Schroeder (20-11)
Also a sophomore, Schroeder is returning to state as well. He has looked strong all season, despite injuries, and he’ll have a chance to score this weekend in a bracket which is heavily favored by Lewistown’s Jim Malone, but is otherwise wide open. Schroeder opens with Spencer Brost of Sidney.
160 – JT Belcourt (21-16)
Belcourt has come on strong as of late and enters this state ranked No. 6 at 160 pounds. He looked good at the divisional tournament and could be a real key for HHS this weekend. Glendive’s Cole Bilbrey is the favorite this weekend, and Belgrade’s Keegan Pickle will also be tough, while Belcourt opens with Anaconda’s Ethan Reich.
160 – Jason Kohler (12-9)
Kohler is in the state tourney for the second straight, even though he saw little varsity time this season. He’s another wrestler who could score for the Ponies in the wrestlebacks. He’ll open the tournament with Southwest A champion Lane Boka of Dillon.
171 – Jake Williams (22-15)
Williams is just now returning to form after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury. He placed third at divisional last week and will look to provide a spark for the Ponies in the upper weights this weekend. The 171-pound bracket features some good ones in Lewistown’s Ethan Blythe, who placed second a year ago, as well as Billings Central’s Sean Getchell and Frenchtown’s David Anderson. Williams begins with Hamilton’s Alex Draper.
189 – Grant Pattison (33-4)
It’s been a great season for Pattison, Havre’s only other senior. He placed at state at 160 pounds a year ago, and while he’s been a machine this season, he’s solely been focused on backing up the state title Casey Schaub won last year at 189. The bracket was set to be a showdown between Pattison and Sidney’s Dace Fisher, but they’ll likely meet in the quarterfinals, so if Pattison can get beyond that match, the title is his for the taking. Pattison begins his quest against Monty Jessop of Corvallis.
189 – Jace Billy (19-4)
Havre should be able to score big at 189 points, thanks to the emergence of sophomore Jase Billy. Billy reached the state tourney a year ago, but this season, he’s poised to get on the medal stand. His teammate is the heavy favorite, while Billy will battle it out with the likes of Eastern A champ Steven Keeten of Hardin and Frenchtown’s Sam Gordon among others. Billy squares off against Dillon’s Austin Bertlinger first.
215 – Tyler Adams (32-5)
Adams has been one of the top wrestlers in this bracket all season long. He’s coming off a divisional title and he has experience, placing fifth at 215 as a sophomore. Like Pattison, Adams has been driven by winning a state title this season and now he’s only four matches away. He’ll have to contend with Belgrade rival Sam Van Beek, as well as Anaconda’s Bryce Wigert and Hardin’s Joe Murdock, but he’s certainly on the brink of glory. Adams will open against Luke Channer of Corvallis.
215 – Travis Adams (16-6)
It’s not often brother’s get to compete in the same bracket together but HHS has that at 215 pounds. Freshman Travis Adams is coming off a strong showing at the Central A and certainly has a chance to score for the Ponies this weekend. He’ll open against Corvallis’ James Weidow.
HWT – Dustin Odegard (18-10)
Odegard is back in the state tourney and will look to move up the heavyweight ranks. He’s among the better heavyweights in the bracket this week, while Whitefish’s Wolfe Zinke and Laurel’s Cody Stone-Muprhy, both returning placers, are the favorites. Odegard, who placed fourth at the Central A, opens with Southwest A champ Donovan Hucke of Dillon.