After entering the holiday break looking to do a little tweaking and looking for some much needed rest, the Havre High wrestling team is once again ready to take the mat.
But the top-ranked Class A Blue Ponies couldn’t have entered the break wrestling any better. They had earned top finishes each weekend in action including a second-place finish at the CMR Holiday Classic and a No. 1 finish at the Mining City Duals. If the Ponies utilized the break well, they should continue to be a difficult matchup for whomever they face the rest of the season.
Friday and Saturday, the Ponies will jumpstart the new year when they face another tough field of grapplers in Bozeman.
“We had a great break,” Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. “We ran through the whole gamut. We covered all of our technique and a lot of conditioning, but the kids had a lot of fun and worked hard. But now we have had a long enough break, we have been in the room beating up on ourselves long enough and we are ready to get on with our season. But we know we have a grind ahead of us in Bozeman, Cut Bank, Missoula, and then the Class A Duals. We have four big weekends in a row, but our batteries are recharged and the kids are ready to go.”
Unfortunately, the Ponies don’t re-enter action at 100 percent.
There has been some limited shuffling in the lineup early, but it has held steady for the most part. This weekend the big change comes at 195 pounds. Jace Billy will rest to ensure he is 100 percent moving forward, making room for John Chinadle to take a run at the varsity lineup. Also expected to execute will be Tate Munyon (98), Keegan Kennelly (106), Logan Pleninger (113), Grayson Brenna (120), Dylan Stewart (126), Thomas Gruber (132), Parker Filius (138), Kody Pribyl (145), Gunnar Aageson (145), Jase Stokes (152), Jayson Kohler (160), Jordan Schroeder (160), Jake Williams (170), Dustin Odegard (182), Tyler Adams (220) and Travis Adams (285).
And it will take a lot of good wrestling for the Ponies to push a good number of wrestlers though the individual brackets.
“We have only gone to Bozeman one time since I have been coaching in Havre, and it was a good tournament,” Filius said. “It is down without the Billings schools, but we expect to see Great Falls and CMR, a lot of the southern schools, as well as most of the Eastern A and Southern A. It will be a good tournament with some different people we don’t always get to see.”
The way the Ponies have been wrestling, it shouldn’t matter who is on the mat with them. The young grapplers are stepping up, and the veteran wrestlers are leading by example. Havre has made it a habit of winning a lot of matches this season, and in the losses, the Ponies aren’t giving up many pins. Whether HHS wrestlers are facing new or familiar foes, they will be looking for the same result, a win in the match, and a win in the team standings. With the momentum the Ponies gained to start the season, coach Filius does have an idea of what his team is capable of, but returning home from Bozeman, he should know a whole lot more. After steady improvement from the get go, the break in action could propel the Ponies to polish off an already dominating season.
“I am confident the kids will come out hungry. We have looked awfully good in the room,” Filius said. “We are a young group, but we are veteran enough that we already have a pretty good idea of where they are at.”
Friday and Saturday the Ponies will wrestle in Bozeman at the Bozeman Invitational.