Pony grapplers set to defend CMR Holiday title
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Daniel Horton Havre Daily News [email protected]
It's still early, but as the Havre High wrestling team pushes for yet another state title, things seem to be falling right into place. Last weekend, the Central A Blue Ponies made a dominating appearance at the Mining City Duals in Butte, missing out on a championship by only one point. And this weekend, the No. 1 ranked Ponies will attempt a fourth straight championship at the CMR Holiday Classic at the CMR Field House in Great Falls. Joining HHS, Great Falls High and CMR will be a number of talented programs, both big and small. Included in the lineup will be Chinook, Ronan, Belgrade, Bozeman, Billings West, Billings Senior, Kalispell Glacier, Helena High, Butte, Billings Skyview, Glasgow and Conrad. “I think we will match up real well,” Havre High head coach Scott Filius said. “Historically we wrestle really well down there and I would expect that would continue. This time of year you hope your kids wrestle up to their ability, and really that's all you are ever looking for. If you have enough ability you win some of these things.” In years past the tournament has been labeled an unofficial state preview. And with loads of talent making the trip again this season, including six former state champions at 152 pounds, it can safely continue to be one of the better sources of competition in the state. Havre's Kent Pattison (152) will join the talented state champions in his respected weight class. And with Pattison facing the likes of Ronan's Mickey Cheff, Townsend's Brett Thompson, Chinook's Willie Miller and Belgrade's Tucker Taylor, the 152-pound weight class is definitely one to keep an eye on this weekend. And just last weekend, Pattison earned an 8-3 decision over Taylor, the 152-pound defending Class A state champion. Now with a whole new group of champions in front of Pattison, it should be an opening weekend for him and the ponies. “I don't think I have ever seen that many kids that have won a state titles in the past,” Filius said. “I really like his (Pattison) attitude, he is looking at this as a challenge. It will be really fun for him to try.” Heading into the tournament the Ponies will most likely maintain the almost identical lineup they used at the Mining City Duals. There will be nobody at 98 pounds, while Duell Stadel will remain at 105 instead of 112. Alex Greytak moved into the 112 spot last weekend, but will be challenged for the spot by Gilbert Bara as wrestle-offs will take place this weekend. Zack Smith (119) and Dillon Seely (130) will remain in their usual spots, and Riley Harwood will return to the lineup to fill the 135-pound slot. Tyson Gruber (140), Eli Hinebauch (145), Pattison (152), Kameron Pribyl (160), Casey Schaub (171), Josh Salapich (189), Jared Ruttofsky (215) and Mitch Schnittgen (285) will round out the Pony lineup. With the caliber of talent in attendance, Filius is excited to see how his young roster responds. Seeing how either Greytak or Bara reacts to such a big ordeal will be key. But so far the Ponies have seen success from both new and experienced wrestlers. Seely has improved immensely from last season and has stepped up as a major contributor to the Ponies early success. And Schnittgen, who has dominated the heavyweight scene for years, is also playing a major role and will try to remain undefeated this weekend in Great Falls. Both Seely ad Schnittgen should have another big weekend for HHS. “All of the kids with just a year or so under their belt we are looking to see how they react to the competition,” Filius said. “And right now Dillon Seely is doing a tremendous job. He was in the varsity lineup last year, but now he is really making his mark and it is fun to watch. “Mitch (Schnittgen) is really driven,” Filius added. “And works as hard as any kid I have had. He is doing very well, he is a fun kid to coach and he has a great personality.” The CMR Holiday Classic is the Blue Ponies last big source of competition before they enter the holiday break. “We would like to make sure that last weekend wasn't a fluke and we're where we think we are,” Filius said. “We want to go out and make sure there is no question we're the preeminent program, and that's where we are headed.” Friday and Saturday the Ponies will attend the CMR Holiday Classic at the CMR Field House in Great Falls.