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On top again: Ponies win Cut Bank mat title

Havre crowns three champs, pulls away from rival Lewistown for another win in Cut Bank


January 13, 2020

There are some cases where a team continues a trend of dominance throughout multiple years and, in some cases, maybe decades.

When it comes to the Cut Bank Invitational, the Havre High wrestling team has had a history of excellence in the tournament for a long, long time.

And this past weekend added another year to the Blue Ponies’ legacy of championships at the invite in Cut Bank. Havre rose to the top and racked up 211 points Saturday to claim the crown of Cut Bank once more. Havre has won 17 of the last 18 Cut Bank Invite titles.

For HHS head coach Beau LaSalle, the tournament was just another great day on the mat for Havre.

“We wrestled well,” LaSalle said. “We didn’t wrestle perfect, but we wrestled very well. The kids competed hard and got some much needed wins for some guys. Overall, we wrestled well.”

Sitting atop the tournament is a great feat alone, but to get there, a lot of the Blue Pony grapplers put in some hard work. There were many Havre wrestlers that placed from fifth to first at the end of the day.

Junior Mick Chagnon kicked off the first of three first-place finishes for Havre with a 4-0 win by decision over Miguel Ramos of Fairfield in the 113-pound title match, followed by Riley Pleninger taking first in the 120-pound bracket with a 5-0 win by decision over Dawson Powers of Whitehall. Standout senior Connor Harris claimed the 152 -pound title with a 5-0 victory in over Hank Dunn of Eureka.

Pony senior Cameron Pleninger also reached the 126-pound title match, before falling to undefeated Cooper Birdwell of Lewistown.

The Ponies crowned a third-place wrestler, too, in Orion Thivierge, who won by fall over Whitefish’s Cameron Ross 5-1. Havre then had multiple grapplers finish fifth in the tournament. Joey Bender won by fall over Trevor O Hara from Fort Benton/Big Sandy, Dominic Perkins beat Three Forks’ Levi Wagner 5-2 and Kale VanCampen won 6-2 by decision over Choteau’s Kade Kindler.

A lot of standouts pushed Havre into another win in Cut Bank, but LaSalle noticed other things that stood out, as well.

“We focused on our attitude and match preparedness this week and that, was much improved,” LaSalle said. “We were ready to go for matches; we weren’t flat and we came out firing. That was a big focus for the week and they executed on that.”

At the end of the day, Havre picked up another win in the Cut Bank Invitational and gave the team a major confidence boost going into the weekend. After all, the next challenge on the Blue Ponies’ schedule is the Missoula Invitational Friday and Saturday down in Missoula, where the HHS team will be tested in one of the toughest tournaments in the state.

Cut Bank Booster Invitational

Team scores

1. Havre 211, 2. Lewistown 196.5, 3. Whitehall 146.5, 4. Misson/Charlo 135, 5. Clark Fork 130, 6. Lincoln Co. 121, 7. Jefferson 112, 8. Browning 109, 9. Cut Bank 99, 10. Conrad 97.5, 11. Fairfield 92.5, 12. Manhattan 89, 13. Fort Benton/Big Sandy 77.5, 14. Chinook 72, 15. Poplar 69.5, 16. Shelby 66, 17. Simms 65, 18. Valier 62, 19. Malta 51.5, 20. Whitefish 50, 21. Thompson Falls 47, 22. Three Forks 44, 23. Arlee 35, 24. Chester-Joplin-Inverness 22, 25. Choteau 19, 26. Harlem 11, 27. Highwood 6, 28. Wolf Point 6, 29. Belt 3.

Third/Fifth Place


3rd Place Match - Chris Hall (BROWNING HIGH SCHOOL) 5-1 won by decision over Ryder Hansen (CLARKFORK) 11-7 (Dec 6-4)

5th Place Match - Joey Bender (HAVRE) 2-2 won by fall over Trevor O Hara (FORT BENTON/BIG SANDY) 3-3 (Fall 4:38)


3rd Place Match - Cameron Mikesell (MALTA) 20-10 won by decision over Jase Frederick (POPLAR) 3-2 (Dec 4-2)

5th Place Match - Decker Milender (CLARKFORK) 20-7 won by decision over Christian Davis (JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL) 14-6 (Dec 10-5)


3rd Place Match - Brady Barnhill (CONRAD HIGH SCHOOL) 16-5 won by decision over Kason Olson (FERGUS (LEWISTOWN)) 3-2 (Dec 3-2)

5th Place Match - Ashton Flamand (BROWNING HIGH SCHOOL) 15-10 won by major decision over Jeff Colesworthy (CONRAD HIGH SCHOOL) 18-8 (MD 11-0)


3rd Place Match - Kyle Durden (LINCOLN CO. HIGH SCHOOL) 4-1 won by decision over Roper Mycke (CONRAD HIGH SCHOOL) 20-5 (Dec 2-1)

5th Place Match - Harold Miller (SHELBY) 19-8 won by forfeit over Roman Sparks (THOMPSON FALLS) 9-5 (For.)


3rd Place Match - Michael Leach (SIMMS) 5-1 won by decision over Quentin Campos (BROWNING HIGH SCHOOL) 16-7 (Dec 10-3)

5th Place Match - Dominick Perkins (HAVRE) 5-2 won by fall over Levi Wagner (THREE FORKS) 2-3 (Fall 1:41)


3rd Place Match - Mathew Larson (CUT BANK) 5-1 won by decision over Forrest Fairbanks (MANHATTAN) 5-2 (Dec 4-2)

5th Place Match - Kale VanCampen (HAVRE) 6-2 won by decision over Kade Kindler (CHOTEAU) 3-3 (Dec 5-2)


3rd Place Match - Ron Barnhill (CONRAD HIGH SCHOOL) 24-5 won by decision over Tyler Larson (SHELBY) 14-6 (Dec 2-1)

5th Place Match - Colt Crawford (ARLEE) 20-6 won by major decision over Aaron Wells (BROWNING HIGH SCHOOL) 11-11 (MD 14-0)


3rd Place Match - Riley Forcella (WHITEHALL) 6-1 won by decision over Darwin Adams (MISSON/CHARLO) 27-7 (Dec 8-3)

5th Place Match - Andrew Anderson (CUT BANK) 4-2 won by fall over Miguel Perez (FAIRFIELD) 3-3 (Fall 4:47)


3rd Place Match - Orion Thivierge (HAVRE) 5-1 won by fall over Camren Ross (WHITEFISH HIGH SCHOOL) 14-6 (Fall 2:16)

5th Place Match - Garrit Weeda (MANHATTAN) 4-2 won by fall over Cyrus Richardson (MANHATTAN) 4-3 (Fall 2:47)


3rd Place Match - JT Hauer (CHINOOK) 6-1 won by decision over Cameron Brusven (SHELBY) 15-10 (Dec 5-4)

5th Place Match - Gaten Wassberg (WHITEHALL) 4-2 won by decision over Johnny Fehr (LINCOLN CO. HIGH SCHOOL) 3-3 (Dec 2-1)


3rd Place Match - Charlie Bullcalf (BROWNING HIGH SCHOOL) 16-5 won by decision over Rielly Wiegand (CHINOOK) 2-2 (Dec 5-3)

5th Place Match - Hayden Axtman (FORT BENTON/BIG SANDY) 2-2 won by decision over Bryce Lohman (CONRAD HIGH SCHOOL) 2-3 (Dec 6-3)


3rd Place Match - Lane Hinderager (SIMMS) 4-1 won by fall over Jacob Berger (POPLAR) 3-2 (Fall 4:42)

5th Place Match - Matt Riehl (JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL) 15-5 won by decision over Chanden Vulles (CLARKFORK) 21-7 (Dec 14-7)


3rd Place Match - Ruebin Swenson (CHESTER/JOPLIN/INVERNESS) 5-1 won by fall over Chuck Braverock (BROWNING HIGH SCHOOL) 17-6 (Fall 3:56)

5th Place Match - Wyatt Dunbar (CHINOOK) 3-2 won by major decision over Stetson LeFurgey (FORT BENTON/BIG SANDY) 3-3 (MD 10-2)



Leo Anderson (JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL) 16-1 won by fall over Damen McCord (FERGUS (LEWISTOWN)) 3-1 (Fall 3:28)


Mick Chagnon (HAVRE) 4-0 won by decision over Miguel Ramos (FAIRFIELD) 4-1 (Dec 13-6)


Riley Pleninger (HAVRE) 5-0 won by decision over Dawson Powers (WHITEHALL) 4-1 (Dec 11-9)


Cooper Birdwell (FERGUS (LEWISTOWN)) 4-0 won by tech fall over Cameron Pleninger (HAVRE) 3-1 (TF-1.5 4:00 (17-2))


Mike Wilkinson (WHITEHALL) 5-0 won by major decision over Elijah Ratliff (THOMPSON FALLS) 18-8 (MD 11-0)


Nathan Schmidt (LINCOLN CO. HIGH SCHOOL) 4-0 won by fall over TY CURRY (VALIER) 16-7 (Fall 1:45)


Isaac DuMontier (MISSON/CHARLO) 24-4 won by fall over Dallen Hoover (WHITEHALL) 4-1 (Fall 0:52)


Connor Harris (HAVRE) 5-0 won in tie breaker - 1 over Hank Dunn (LINCOLN CO. HIGH SCHOOL) 4-1 (TB-1 4-3)


Duane Otto II (FERGUS (LEWISTOWN)) 4-0 won by decision over Austin Vanek (CUT BANK) 4-1 (Dec 7-1)


Isaiah Alik (MISSON/CHARLO) 26-0 won by fall over Keaton Potter (FERGUS (LEWISTOWN)) 4-1 (Fall 5:26)


Trey Green (CLARKFORK) 20-2 won by fall over Dakota Dorn (JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL) 14-4 (Fall 4:30)


BRETT MONROE (VALIER) 19-6 won by fall over Kolter Bouma (FAIRFIELD) 3-1 (Fall 5:51)


Dylan Morris (FERGUS (LEWISTOWN)) 4-0 won by decision over Jacob Lapinski (CLARKFORK) 23-3 (Dec 7-6).


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