Havre Daily News - News you can use

Crunch time for Pony grapplers

Havre High wrestlers have big goals at Eastern A Divisional


January 31, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre High's Cameron Pleninger, left, holds down a Sidney rival during a Class A dual last month in Havre. The Blue Ponies are taking 15 grapplers to this Saturday's Eastern A Divisional in Miles City, and while they want to challenge Sidney for the team title, they also want to qualify as many of the 15 Ponies as they can for next week's state tournament.

The Havre High wrestling team has one goal this weekend and it has nothing to do with winning the Eastern A Divisional championship. Instead, the Blue Ponies are focused simply on advancing all 15 of their grapplers to the All-Class state tournament next weekend in Billings.

So even though the Ponies are certainly hoping to come away with some team hardware from Miles City, where the meet is being hosted, their primary focus is to set themselves up at state. The tournament will begin Saturday morning and be completed that same afternoon.

"The biggest thing is just getting everybdoy qualified, especially the younger guys," HHS head coach Beau LaSalle said. "We aren't too worried about our older kids qualifying being that we take the top eight and some of the weight classes aren't full. But if we get a couple of wins, we should get top eight. But with us being down two weight classes, we want to take as many kids possible to the state tournament."

While the Ponies have to feel confident about their wrestlers that have made it to state previously or placed at state, such as Martin Wilkie, a three-time state champion, or Lane Paulson, a former finalist and twice a top-three finisher, there are others that will be wrestling in the postseason for the first time.

Others like Connor Harris and Cameron Pleninger have placed twice, along with Mick Chagnon who reached the podium in his only trip to state last season. Austin Ratlif and Taylor Gopher haven't placed at state yet, but each had qualfiied multuiple times.

Yet, even though all of those wrestlers should qualify for the state tournament with relative ease, their finish and seeding for state will be important, especially in weight classes like 103, 120, 138 and 145, where the Ponies will be doubled up. At 103 pounds, there will be Chagnon and Riley Pleninger. The 120-pound weight class will have Cameron Pleninger and Dylan Young; 138 will have Pauslon and Wyatt Hanson and finally, Wilkie and Orion Thivierge will both be in the same bracket at 145.

"We have some kids that it does matter where they place," HHS head coach Beau LaSalle said. "With some, we have a preference of where they are in the bracket like in the deeper weights like 152. That's a deep weight and we would like to come out of divisionals first. At 145, we would like to see Orion Thivierge do well and stay on the opposite side of the bracket. We would like that at 103 too."

In weights where Havre has just one wrestler, one of the key spots this weekend for HHS will be at 152 pounds, which is where Harris will wrestle. Harris seems destined to battle John Mears of Belgrade at some point, a defending state champion Harris beat at the Rocky Mountain Classic. Another key spot is at 205, where Ratliff could see the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class too.

Rounding out the lineup for the Ponies this week at the Eastern A is going to be Hunter Velk at 113, Kendall Pleninger at 126, Randy Tommerup at 132, Taylor Gopher at 170 pounds and Brayden Stadell at 182.

"I think divisionals can go two ways, it can be a close tournament or a blowout," LaSalle said. "Depending how the brackets can work out and the deeper the tournament the better we are. The smaller the tournament, the less our depth shows. So we just want to compete as hard as we can and let the cards fall where they will."

Havre will take part in the Eastern A divisional Saturday and each wrestler that finishes in the top eight or higher will advance to the Class A state tournament next weekend in Billings.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019