Blue Pony grapplers finish strong at annual Malta Invite


February 3, 2020

With the the postseason coming up, the Havre High wrestling team looked to make some noise and finish off the regular season on a good note in Malta. The Blue Ponies were going up against a mix of Class A, B and C teams in Mustang country hopes of placing high.

And though HHS did not take the crown Saturday in Malta, the Blue Pony grapplers snagged third place with 147 points. HHS head coach LaSalle was proud of what his team did in Malta to take home the bronze.

“It was a pretty good meet,” LaSalle said. “We put six in the finals and had three champs. Took 11 guys down there and it was a pretty good showing. I’m pretty pleased with how the kids performed.”

There were a lot of big highlights for Havre in Malta. The Ponies had six wrestlers place throughout the day, with three of them going undefeated. Senior Joey Bender started off the day with a bye in the quarterfinals and went on to finish first in the 103-pound weight class after beating Shepherd’s LeeAnn Hoch. Connor Harris placed first in the 152-pound bracket with a win over Kaden Zimmerman of Glasgow.

Riley Pleninger finished first at 126 pounds with a win over Brodie Ober from Great Falls Central, while junior Mick Chagnon placed second in the 113 bracket, senior Cameron Pleninger finished second in the 132-pound weight class and Orion Thivierge finished second as well.

Other grapplers like Kale VanCampen made it to the consolation semifinals, while some ended the day in round three of consolation. Either way, the Ponies put up a big fight and took home the bronze to cap off a pretty good regular season. There has been some ups and downs throughout the year, but Havre has its sights set on the postseason.

In the end, it was the six that made it to the finals that stood out for LaSalle Saturday.

“Our older kids did what they were supposed to do,” LaSalle said, “they dominated matches. And as far as our younger kids, they stepped and were just consistent as they’ve always been. Orion Thivierge beat a kid from Cut Bank that has previously beat him, so he’s on a good streak right now. Conner dominated his way through and Cameron Pleninger made the finals and lost to a tough kid from Glasgow. Those six kids that made it to the finals all just wrestled very well.”

The Eastern Divisional Meet in Lewistown is Saturday, where the Blue Pony wrestlers look to punch their ticket to the State Meet in Billings on Feb. 14-15.

2020 Malta Invitational

Team scores

Glasgow 200, 2. Cut Bank 164, 3. Havre 147, 4. Great Falls-MSDB 122, 5. Billings Central 89.5, 6. Shepherd 81, 7. Malta-Whitewater 77.5, 8. CMR 71, 9. Valier 38, 10. Chinook 31, 11. Circle 30, 12. Chester-Joplin-Inverness 20, 13. Harlem 10, 14. Choteau 3, 15. Conrad/Poplar/Wolf Point 0.


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