By Kim Staudinger
The Havre High wrestling team will get its first challenge of the season this weekend as eight varsity teams compete in the Havre Invitational Tournament.
Teams from Chinook, Malta, Chester, Valier, Browning, Lewistown and Butte Central are scheduled to attend, but not all teams will be bringing full squads, according to Havre head coach Scott Filius. The meet begins Saturday at 9 a.m.
Varsity wrestlers for this weekend include: 98 pounds Shane Boucher, freshman; 105 Jeff Hedges, sophomore; 112 Scott Sheppard, sophomore; 119 David Cross, sophomore; 125 Drew Harlow, senior; 130 Chad Hedges, senior; 135 Greg Leyba, junior; 140 Adam Jensen, junior; 145 Jake Szudera, senior; 152 Chad Zuelke, junior; 160 K.P. Fisher, senior; 171 Garrett Hanson, senior; 189 Nick Johnson, junior; HWT Mike Schnittgen, senior.
Tonight Livingston's varsity team will compete in a dual meet with Browning at 6:30. Immediately following the first meet, Havre will take on Livingston.
The Havre junior varsity team will compete in Chinook tonight.
The Ponies have practiced for nearly three weeks and are ready for competition other than themselves.
"The kids need to get on the mat," Filius said. "It's time to get out and have some competition to see what we need to improve on."
The tournament will be double elimination with an eight-man bracket. The championship matches are anticipated to begin between 3 and 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Havre, which has become a powerhouse in Montana wrestling, looks for another successful season with a strong nucleus of returners to build on. The Ponies have five wrestlers back who placed at state last year.
Filius also said this year's seniors are "as good of a group of seniors as we've ever had." He said his past experience with strong seniors is they produce good seasons.
Filius expects good things out of his wrestlers, especially all five of the seniors in the varsity lineup, he added.
Along with the returning seniors, the Ponies also return a few juniors and numerous sophomores. The top returning sophomore is Jeff Hedges, who placed at state last year. Filius says he expects three more solid years from him.