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State wrestling champions

Blue Ponies take Billings by storm, 4 individual champs


February 17, 2014

Daniel Horton

The Havre High wrestling team poses on the podium Saturday night at the Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings after capturing the 2014 Class A state championship. The Blue Ponies scored a record 294.5 points and held off Sidney for their second straight state championship and ninth under head coach Scott Filius. For complete coverage from the state tournament, see today's sports pages.

BILLINGS - Make it two in a row for the Havre High wrestling team. And that's now nine for Blue Pony head coach Scott Filius.

Saturday night, the Blue Ponies walked out of the Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings as Class A state champions for the second straight season, and for the ninth time since 1999. Havre got a huge fight from its biggest rival as Sidney sent eight wrestlers into the finals, but they couldn't catch the Ponies, who scored 294.5 points and crowned four individual state champions while placing 13 of the 17 wrestlers they took to the tournament. The Eagles finished second with 268.5 points.

In winning yet another state championship, Havre accomplished even more greatness this weekend. The Ponies tied their own Class A record for most team points, which they set in 2009. Havre had six grapplers in the finals, including brothers Tyler and Travis Adams facing off at 220 pounds. Tyler, a senior, came out on top. And Jace Billy claimed his first state championship by winning at 195 pounds.

"The kids wrestled well; we took control of what we can control and we won the matches that we could win," coach Filius said. "What Sidney did was up to them. We couldn't control what they did unless we went head to head, then we had to perform, and I think we did."

Remarkably, two Blue Pony freshman also won state championships Saturday night. Parker Filius captured the 138-pound state title, while fellow freshman Jase Stokes was a champion at 152.

Both wrestlers have now completed the first step in trying to become four-time state champions - which is the rarest of feats in high school wrestling. Blue Pony sophomore Keegan Kennelly lost his bid to be a state champion in the 106-pound final, but overall, Saturday night was yet another wonderful night for the Blue Pony program.

"All of the kids wrestled well, we even had some kids win it all last year, return and wrestle better this year and not win it," coach Filius said. "I was pleased with our kids."

The Pony wrestling team will be honored with a parade Tuesday, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Holiday Village Mall.


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