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Martin Wilkie becomes a four-timer; Ponies finish second at state

Havre crowns two state champions and places eight as it finishes second.


February 8, 2019

Colin Thompson

Martin Wilkie celebrates after winning his fourth state championship Saturday night in Billings at the 2019 All-Class state wrestling tournament.

BILLINGS -- Martin Wilkie has been so dominant this season that winning a fourth state championship seemed like a mere formality and Saturday night at the Metra, Wilkie did what everyone expected and he did it with ease.

After notching two quick pins Friday, Wilkie pinned Bridger Williams of Hamilton to reach the 145-pound final and then toyed with Zander Burnison of Sidney in the championship match for 38 seconds before pinning him and finalizing his place among the greats in Montana high school wrestling as one of just 35 four-time state champions.

"It's hard to describe how it feels," Wilkie said. "This is the realization of a lot of hard work. I have been waiting for this for a long time and it's a great feeling to finally get it."

During his four-year state wrestling career, Wilkie finished with a 16-0 record and 13 of those 16 wins came by fall. The Havre High senior, who will wrestle in the Big Ten collegiately for Minnesota, joins Parker Filius and Jase Stokes as the only other four-time state champions in the history of Havre wrestling.

"It's a great accomplishment," HHS head coach Beau LaSalle said. "It's not something that happens all the time. We have been fortunate to have three in the past few years and it just speaks to his work ethic. He has put a lot of time in over the years and I am really happy for him."

While Wilkie's fourth state championship was the highlight of the All-Class state wrestling tournament for Havre, it was far from the only shining moment for the Blue Ponies inside the Rimrock Auto Arena. Another was sophomore Mick Chagnon, who reached the top of the podium in the 103-pound weight class after defeating Noah Huffmaker of Dillon by way of a technical fall (18-1), capturing his first individual state title.

"It's a great feeling," Chagnon said after his match. "It's hard to describe how it feels. I have put a lot of work in and it paid off."

Wilkie, who finished atop the 145-pound weight class and Chagnon, were just two of five finalists for Havre. The others were Cameron Pleninger (120), Lane Paulson (138) and Austin Ratliff (205), who each finished as the runner-up in their respective weight classes. Pleninger lost to three-time state champion Jake Bibler; Lane Paulson fell to Christian Dean of Sidney and Ratliff was beaten by Shane Gibson of Livingston. Paulson and Ratliff each lost 4-1 decisions. Pleninger was pinned.

In addition to five finalists, the Ponies also placed three others: Connor Harris, Riley Pleninger and Orion Thivierge. Harris finished in third place (152 pounds) for the third consecutive year while Pleninger was fourth at 103 pounds and Thivierge was sixth at 145 pounds.

In all, as a team, Havre scored 170 points, which was good enough for second place but was well behind Sidney. The Eagles ran away from the field in Class A for the second straight year finishing with 310.5 points, a new Class A record. Polson finished third with 128.5 points and Frenchtown was fourth with 126.

Colin Thompson

Mick Chagnon has his arm raised as he won his first individual state championship Saturday night at the Metra in the 2019 All-Class state tournament.

"I thought we had a great day on Friday," LaSalle said. "I thought we had a pretty good (Saturday), we had five reach the finals and overall I was happy. The kids wrestled well and we got some good state tournament experience."

As far as the other local Hi-Line teams were concerned, Chester-Joplin-Inverness finished sixth in the Class C team race with a total of 12 points. Fort Benton/Big Sandy was seventh with eight points and Chinook was eighth with five. Ruebin Swenson was the only other local wrestler to reach the podium as he finished sixth in the heavyweight class for CJI. Circle won the Class C state title with 102 points, Colstrip won in Class B with 233 and Bozeman won in Class AA with 260.5.

For more coverage on Martin Wilkie's fourth state championship, finals night and the Ponies second-place finish overall, see Monday's edition of the Havre Daily News.


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