No surprise: Ponies dominate at home
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Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]
The first competition of the new season is always very much anticipated by the Havre High wrestling team. And after hosting the Havre High Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Havre High gymnasium, the Central A Blue Ponies found plenty of time to test both their new and returning grapplers against top-notch competition. With the Chinook Sugarbeeters, Browning Indians, Cut Bank Wolves, Malta Mustangs, Butte Central Maroons, Lewistown Golden Eagles, Chester/J-I Hawks and Shelby Coyotes all in attendance, the Ponies faced off against all levels of talent. And from freshmen to returning seniors, the Ponies entire roster wrestled well. “The kids that we were supposed to dominate did,” Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. “And the kids that we were supposed to be banging heads with, we did that too. I didn't see any kids lie down and lose a match they shouldn't, they were competing in every situation. We obviously have some work to do, but I am really pleased.” Out of the 15 weight classes, and 13 the Ponies participated in, eight HHS wrestlers captured individual titles. Junior Duell Stadel captured the No. 1 spot at 112 pounds, while doing so at 119-pounds was sophomore Zack Smith. And following in suit was senior Brett Normandy at 125 pounds, sophomore Dillon Seely at 130 pounds, sophomore Eli Hinebauch at 145 pounds, senior Kent Pattison at 152 pounds, junior Jared Ruttofsky at 189 pounds and senior Mitch Schnittgen at 285 pounds. Also placing in the top five for the Ponies was freshman Gilbert Bara at No. 2 (112), sophomore Dustin Seely at No. 3 (119), senior Tyson Gruber at No. 3 (140), sophomore Kameron Pribyl at No. 3 (152), sophomore Casey Schaub at No. 2 (171) and junior Josh Salipich at No. 2 (189). It was only the first weekend of competition during a long a season, but the thought of a fourth-straight state title is already looming over the Blue Ponies. And if Filius can get performances like the one Schnittgen gave this weekend all season long, the Ponies have to grow more and more optimistic. On the weekend Schnittgen went 6-0. In his six matches, he earned a win by pinning each opposing wrestler in the first round, including a pin in 0:34, 1:47 and 1:07 on Saturday on his way to the heavyweight title. The other title winners dominated for the Ponies as well. On Saturday, Smith earned a pin and 12-2 major decision on his way to a title, while Normandy earned two pins and a 13-3 major decision on his way to a title. Dillon Seely got the job done after two pins, while Hinebauch did it with a pin and decision. Ruttofsky also accomplished the title after a major decision and pin on Saturday. Kent Pattison earned his No. 1 spot after a 16-1 technical fall, a 17-4 major decision, then a 5-3 decision over an always-tough Willie Miller out of Chinook in one of the more exciting matches of the two-day event. On Friday Miller handed Kent Pattison a 6-4 decision loss. “Last year we came out and dominated,” Schnittgen said. “And I was hoping we would come out again and do the same. We might not have the same talent we had last year, but we do have the heart.” “We are a little bit farther ahead than I thought we were,” Filius added. “But all that does is allow us to work even farther. State is always our goal, that's our goal every day we prepare. We have prepared every year since we've been here to compete at state, and our expectations haven't changed. We expect to go to state and do well, and hopefully win it.” Though the Ponies dominated the mats this weekend, some other Hi-Line talents also made their way to Havre. Chinook's Geoff Qualls captured the 105-pound title, while teammates Robert Stroh and Ben Stroh captured the 160 and 171-pound titles, respectively. Angelo Riojas of Chinook took the No. 2 spot at 98 pounds, while Miller and Jorrell Jones captured the No. 2 spots at 152 and 215-pounds, respectively. The Chester/J-I Hawks also represented the Hi-Line very well. Bradley Romain took home the 135-pound title. Ethan Wolery locked down No. 3 at 189-pounds, as did Shalon Norick at 285. The Blue Ponies have a short week of practice before they see another heavy dose of competition. On Thursday they will travel to Butte where they will dual against the Belgrade Panthers, and Friday and Saturday they will remain in Butte for the always challenging Mining City Duals.