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Pony grapplers ready to tackle the Rockies

Havre High hitting stride in time for prestigious Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic

 

January 16, 2014

Lindsay Brown

Havre High heavyweight Travis Adams, right, battles a Great Falls High rival at the annual Havre Invitational last month. The Blue Ponies and Bison will be among the favorites at this weekend's Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic in Missoula.

A week after getting back into the groove of things with a nearly 100 percent lineup, the Havre High wrestling team now heads into another daunting weekend in Missoula.

Missoula's annual Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic brings in talent from all over the state of Montana, as well as surrounding areas. Last year, the Ponies took in a less-than-healthy lineup and finished as the No. 10 team. But with a full head of steam, Friday and Saturday the Ponies will look to finish a little higher in the team standings.

Teams expected to be in attendance include Great Falls High, University High, Missoula Sentinel, Lewistown, Bozeman, Mead, Coeur d'Alene, Central Valley, Belgrade, Missoula Big Sky, Kalispell Glacier, Kalispell Flathead, Ronan, Frenchtown, CMR, Butte, Bonners Ferry, Polson, Corvallis, Helena High, Clarkston, Columbia Falls, Ferris, Libby, Lake City, Missoula Hellgate, Hamilton, Superior and Helena Capital.

"We are wrestling as well as we have all year," Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. "I think this and state are our toughest weekends, so we are pretty excited to get down there."

If the Ponies continue to wrestle at a high level they could challenge for the top spot. But with Great Falls High also back to near 100 percent after being down the last couple of weeks, it will be a dogfight to the very end.

And the Ponies are planning on going all out this weekend. The Class A duals take place next weekend in Lewistown, but Missoula takes center stage. The competition is through the roof, and there is a state-tournament-like atmosphere. HHS will wrestle with a sense of urgency the next couple of days and maybe even use next weekend to gain some much-needed rest.

"We are going to go into this like it is the state tournament and we are looking for everybody to contribute," Filius said. "We will probably even dial back a little next week because it is a step down from where we have been.

"But we are really gelling and getting everybody to get on the same page at the same time," Filius added. "We have a nice team concept going and the kids care about each other and that sure makes a difference."

And, technique-wise, the Ponies aren't doing much wrong. Last weekend, Filius really liked how aggressive his kids came out, and mentioned how well they wrestled on the edge. Look for that to be the case again this weekend, especially from Keegan Kennelly (106) as he attempts to reclaim an individual title. But Tate Munyon (98), 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), Jace Billy (195), and Travis Adams (285) will also look to continue to wrestle well.

Brenna took fourth last year in Missoula, while Tyler Adams finished fifth, Stewart finished sixth, and Williams finished eighth.

As a team, the Ponies have yet to win this tournament under the guidance of coach Filius, but they have that chance this year. They know it won't be easy, though. GFH took it all the last two seasons, and even with all of the pins the Ponies got last weekend to run away with a Cut Bank title, it won't be quite as easy this time around.

"It is going to be a high level of competition, so we probably won't pick up all the bonus points and easy matches that we got right off the bat last weekend," Coach Filius said. "But the effort will still be there."

Friday and Saturday the Ponies will be in Missoula.HHS then heads to the Class A Duals next Friday and Saturday in Lewistown.

 

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