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Local grapplers seek state berths


The moment of truth is here for Class B-C wrestling teams on the Hi-Line. While the state tournament is still a week away and is always pressure-packed, it's the divisional tournament which garners the attention of every high school wrestler.

And nowhere is the competition more fierce than at the Northern B-C Divisional, which will take place on Saturday in Cut Bank. Perennial powers like Glasgow, Conrad and Malta will battle with local teams like Chinook and Harlem for divisional wrestling supremacy. But more importantly, in a division loaded with so much talent, and only four spots to state on the line in each weight class, Saturday's tournament in Cut Bank could be a war of attrition for local wrestlers.

Chinook has had plenty of recent success at the Northern B-C and eventually state, but the Beeters are shorthanded this season and will have a tough time competing for the team title in Cut Bank. Still, Chinook has some of the top individuals in the tournament, led by juniors Ben Stroh at 189 pounds and Jorrell Jones at 215. The duo should win individual titles this weekend, but the Beeters are also hoping for big things from Angelo Flores (105), Geoff Qualls (119), Robbie Klingaman (171), Cord Anderson (189) and Conlinn Brown (HWT), all of whom should have a good chance to also reach the state tournament.

And while Chinook will have a tough time keeping up in the team points with Choteau and Glasgow, who appear to be the favorites, the same might not be true for Harlem. The Wildcats have steadily become a powerhouse in the north, and this season, they may have the depth to prove it. The Wildcats have defending state champion Trent Jones at 171 pounds, but Colten Dirden (135), Teague Jones (105), Shay Snider (98) and Chris Schupe (140) along with a host of other Wildcats give Harlem a real chance to compete at this weekend's tournament and beyond.

And while Chester/J-I and Big Sandy don't have the numbers of some of the top programs in the tournament, the Hawks and Pioneers have several quality individuals who will be seeking state tournament berths as well.

The 2011 Northern B-C Divisional will get underway at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Willie DeGroot Gymnasium in Cut Bank. The top four individuals from each weight class will advance to the Class B-C state tournament next week in Hamilton.


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