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Blue Ponies look to regain Class A Duals title in Belgrade


January 17, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre 103-pounder Mick Chagnon, right, won an individual title at last weekend's prestigious Rocky Mountain Classic in Missoula. Now, Chagnon will try and help his Blue Ponies win back the Class A Duals championship when Havre heads to Belgrade for the annual dual tournament Friday and Saturday.

The Havre High wrestling team has just a few weeks to go before the Class A state tournament and one of the great things about the annual Class A duals is that it will provide the Blue Ponies a chance to see a number of different competitors before the state meet.

The tournament, which was won last year by Sidney, the same team that took home the Class A state championship last February, will be hosted in Belgrade once again. Things will get underway Friday and the finals will be Saturday and while Havre head coach Beau LaSalle didn't deny that his team would like a shot at the Eagles, who beat Havre in a dual in December, he said the biggest thing was continuing to improve with the All-Class state meet right around the corner.

"We want to put the best team out there that we can," LaSalle said. "We are going through some injuries right now. So we have to get some of those things taken care of. We want to get a shot at Sidney and we want to win the tournament, but we also have to make sure we are healthy going into the state tournament, so our lineup might suffer a little bit."

While LaSalle said he is dealing with some injuries in his lineup, he didn't offer any specifics about who might miss time at the Class A Duals. However, the Ponies should have some of their top performers in attendance, such as Martin Wilkie, a 145-pounder that just won the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic. Wilkie was named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the tournament for the second year in a row and Havre beat out teams like Frenchtown and Polson to finish as the top Class A team in attendance.

Joining Wilkie as an individual champion at the Jug Beck was sophomore Mick Chagnon, who will also be a key part of the lineup this week. He is also the top-ranked wrestler in Class A at 103 pounds. Wilkie and Chagnon have both been reliable for the Ponies in duals and tournaments and can be counted on to add bonus points on top of just getting victories. Others that Havre will look to this weekend to rack up points are Connor Harris at 152 pounds, Cameron Pleninger at 120 pounds and Austin Ratliff at 205 pounds. Harris and Ratliff were both third at the Rocky Mountain; Pleninger was fifth.

"When we get into the matches, with the state tournament coming up, you want to take the mystery out of who's better," LaSalle said. "So we don't have to hang on to one point wins, we want to go out and dominate. That will make it that much easier down the road when you take the mystery out of it. We want to get our young guys some more matches and for our more experienced guys, we want to compete and try to dominate from start to finish."

LaSalle indicated that there may be some lineup shakeups, giving the need to manage injuries, but other wrestlers that could potentially see the mat at one time or another in the Class A duals for Havre are Riley Pleninger, Kendall Pleninger, Hunter Velk, Dominic Perkins, Lane Paulson, Randy Tommerup, Orion Thivierge, Taylor Gopher and Brayden Stadell.

The Class A duals will open Friday morning for the Ponies, who will take part in competition within their pool before advancing to the single-elimination tournament which will wrap up the meet Saturday. The Ponies are now just two weeks away from the start of the postseason.


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