The Choteau High School wrestling squad took 15th place at the C.M. Russell Holiday Classic in Great Falls last weekend, where senior Taner Stone, wrestling at 160 pounds, won the weight class championship, becoming the 13th CHS wrestler to win a championship at the Holiday Classic.
Coach Sam Armstrong with his assistant coach Levi Guenzler took seven wrestlers to the tournament. The team was missing Watson Snyder, who was ill, and Dakota Daley, who sustained an ankle injury that is still being evaluated.
The Holiday Classic had 15 teams cancel due to the sub-zero weather moving through the region last weekend, but still offered a lot of high-quality competition for wrestlers from 33 schools representing all classes, Armstrong said.
Stone, who came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 160 pounds, also earned the Holiday Classic Quick Pin Award for pinning all five of his opponents in just 5:04. “That’s a pretty high honor,” Armstrong said.
He and Guenzler named Stone the team’s wrestler of the week for his stellar performance during the tournament. “He just completely dominated,” Armstrong said, adding that Stone is working hard in practice every day and coming into the gym before practice to work out. “He’s excited about finishing strong,” the coach said, adding that Stone has been working to constantly improve throughout his career and has competed with some other very strong wrestlers on the Choteau team who came before him.
Choteau’s other varsity placer was sophomore Pete Henderson who finished in sixth place in a tournament where few underclassmen earn the honor of placing. “He had a fun weekend,” Armstrong said. “He worked hard and got after it.”
Choteau senior David Finley, wrestling at 170 pounds, did not place, but he did earn the team’s quick pin award, stopping one of his opponents in :42.
On the second day of the tournament, Choteau’s wrestlers who were eliminated from the varsity tournament, Calvin Maples at 145 and Bryan Ballard at 182, and true JV wrestler Tommy Ehman at 170 pounds all competed in the Great Falls High junior varsity tournament. Seth Langford at 152 pounds was eliminated from the varsity tournament, but sustained a pulled muscle and served as the team manager for the second day of the tournament.
In the JV tournament, Ballard placed third and Maples and Ehman both finished in fourth place in their weight classes.
Ehman earned the team’s honor for the “most memorable or exciting” match of the tournament for all of his matches in the JV tourney. Guenzler said that Ehman wrestled strong and smart, showing great improvement in his first season as a CHS wrestler. Armstrong said Ehman is working hard and showing better form and technique as he learns the moves and the skills he needs to have to be competitive. “It was exciting to see him learn so much and grow so much and to be so excited about the sport,” Armstrong said.
This week the CHS squad will travel to Shelby on Dec. 22 for the Santa Show Down. Matches will start at 3 p.m. at Shelby High School. The Show Down will feature round robin wrestling with four wrestlers in each pool. Shelby High has invited all of the area B-C class schools to participate in the match-up.
C.M. Russell Holiday Classic
1. Flathead 264.5, 2. Colstrip 178.5, 3. Great Falls High 175, 4. Butte 133, 5. Columbia Falls 132, 6. C.M. Russell 97, 7. Glasgow 90, 8. Dillon 88.5, 9. Anaconda and Fairfield/Simms 78, 11. Livingston 72, 12. Townsend 65.5, 13. Conrad and Whitehall 65, 15. Choteau 60, 16. Glacier 56, 17. Thompson Falls 55, 18. Great Falls High JV 54, 19. Valier 52, 20. Forsyth 50, 21. Browning 42.5, 22. Cascade 40, 23. Shelby 35, 24. Cut Bank 34, 25. Butte Central 25, 26. Chinook 24, 27. Fort Benton 23, 28. Great Falls High Free 19, 29. Highwood 10, 30. C.M. Russell JV 9, 31. Chester-Joplin-Inverness 7, 32. C.M. Russell III 5, 33. Frazier, Great Falls Central, Glendive, Hays-Lodgepole 0.
Choteau individual results
120 — Pete Henderson, bye; m. dec. Kyle Richter, Conrad, 16-7; p. by Tyler Casey, Butte, 1:19; dec. Jared Rohlf, Colstrip, 6-5; dec. Braden Lomas, Great Falls High, 5-3; dec. by Winfield West, Columbia Falls, 0-8; p. by Josh Pepos, Cascade, 2:12.
145 — Calvin Maples p. Aaron Wells, Browning, 1:16; p. by Ben Windauer, Columbia falls, 2:23; p. Kenyon Sretwell Flathead, 1:56.
152 — Seth Langford p. Mark Pollock, Browning, :57; p. by Dillon Luly, Shelby, 1:21; p. by Tyson Krahe, Great Falls High, 4:13.
160 — Taner Stone p. Theron Nelson, Central, :49; p. Ray knerr, Livingston, :50; p. Ethan Davis, Fort Benton, :50; Garrett Reinke, Flathead, 1:45; p. Cody Blaede, Colstrip, :50.
170 — David Finley p. Austin Taylor, Shelby, 1:13; p. by Patrick Griffin, Dillon, 2:45; p. Tyler Stevens, Great Falls Central, :57; p. Darrin Wersal, Glasgow, :42; p. by Jase Sorenson, Thompson Falls, 3:27.
182 — Bryan Ballard, bye; p. by Travis Tomei, Great Falls High, :31; bye; p. by Brett Monroe, Valier, 1:31.