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He knows what it takes

Former Blue Pony Aaron Jensen is bringing a successful formula to CMR's wrestling program

When Aaron Jensen stands on the wrestling mat inside the Havre High gymnasium, he feels what every member of the Blue Pony wrestling team feels. He feels what it’s like to be a part of one of the most dominant wrestling program’s in the state.

Jensen knows that feeling because he was once a major cog in the Havre High wrestling machine, both as a grappler, and as an assistant coach.

Tuesday night however, Jensen was coaching against that machine. The former Blue pony state champion and Montana State University-Northern All-American is in his seventh season as head coach of Great Falls’ C.M. Russell wrestling program. And though his Rustlers were thoroughly defeated by the powerful Blue Ponies, Jensen said every trip he makes back to the HHS gymnasium is as special as the last one.

“It’s fun because now I’m competing against the guy (Scott Filius) that I have the most respect for in this sport,” Jensen said. “Every time we get a chance to come up here and wrestle, it’s a trip I always look forward to. It’s great to see everybody here. This is where I grew up. And it’s special to me because of how much I enjoyed my time when I was here.”

Jensen was a staple in Filius’ wrestling program for years, and though he’s moved on to become a successful Class AA coach in his own right, his days, as a Blue Pony, and with Filius, have prepared him for what he does now. And the lessons he learned as a Blue Pony drive him forward every day.

“I want our wrestlers to get the same experiences that the Havre kids get with (Coach) Filius,” Jensen said. “He’s the single biggest influence on me, and everything he did for me has set me on the path to what I’m doing now. I learned everything from him in this sport, and that influences a lot of how I approach coaching my own team.”

And Jensen is making plenty of headway with the Rustlers. Since he left Havre to coach and teach in Great Falls, he’s been on somewhat of a roller coaster ride. It’s been tough at times as his crosstown rival, the Great Falls High Bison, have become the premier AA program in the state. But as of late, the Rustlers are on the right path. This season, they have plenty of individual talent and will certainly look to make some noise at next month’s All-Class State Tournament in Billings.

No, even in a dual loss to the Blue Ponies, with his mentor right across the mat from him, things are good for Jensen, a once great Blue Pony himself. And many of the reasons the Rustlers are starting to thrive come from Jensen’s days as a part of the powerful Pony juggernaut.

“I’m really pleased with where this program is at right now,” Jensen said. “This has been a good season for us. We have been getting kids into the finals at pretty much every tournament we’ve been to. We are really competing hard every week, and we’re getting better every week. You know, coming from the program here (in Havre), you almost take for granted how hard it is to be competitive in this sport. You kind of forget how much hard work it takes to get to where a program like Havre is now.

“And that’s what I learned from coach Filius,” he continued. “If you expect results, you have to work. It has to be all in, all the time. That’s why they’re (Ponies) so successful and that’s what we’re trying to build here at CMR.”


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