The Choteau High School female wrestlers, Anna Stutz at 152 pounds and Sadie Grove at 145 pounds, are headed to Billings this week to compete with 165 other girls from Class AA, A, B and C schools at the Lockwood High School gym on Feb. 19-20.
CHS head coach Sam Armstrong and Payge DeLaurenti, the school’s assistant athletic director, will accompany the girls to their tournament. This is the first time the state has offered a girls-only state tournament.
The seeding meeting for the state tournament will be held on Feb. 16 and on Monday Armstrong did not know whom they would meet in the opening round of the tournament.
There will be about 10 girls in each weight class so it will be a well-rounded tournament. “It’s going to be good competition,” Armstrong said.
The girls are excited, nervous and happy to be able to compete this season, he said. “It’s an awesome opportunity,” he said of the season. The profile of the female wrestlers this season has raised interest among junior high girls too, he said, adding that he thinks the sports’ expansion will encourage younger girls to get involved in the sport at an earlier age.
Staying at home with the Choteau boys will be assistant coach Levi Guenzler. Choteau’s boys will wrestle against at home at 4 p.m. on Feb. 19 with Malta, Circle, Cascade, Fairfield and Simms. On Feb. 20, the Choteau wrestlers will also host a mixer with Conrad, Malta, Arlee and one other team, starting at 1 p.m.
Earlier in the week on Feb. 16, Choteau hosted a mixer, where the team’s seniors, Kaide Kindler and Anna Stutz, and manager Destiny Buckman and their parents were recognized. The mixer included Simms boys and girls and the Cut Bank girls.
Choteau wrestlers took part in four mixers last week, a girls-only mixer at Cascade, and then boys and girls combined mixers at Fort Benton, Cascade and Shelby.
Armstrong said the Cascade girls mixer drew 40 female wrestlers and was a great event for Stutz and Grove to compete in.
At the Fort Benton mixer, Choteau’s wrestlers won the majority of their matches. Back in Cascade for a boys and girls mixer, the Bulldogs won 50% of their matches and got some good experience against Cascade wrestlers. Then, at Shelby, the team wrestled well, losing only three matches on the night.
Armstrong said Choteau’s wrestlers are staying healthy and mostly unhurt. He credits the lack of injuries this season to a two-time-a-week strength training program that football coaches Dan Yeager and Chad Peebles established last fall. Armstrong said he has had his boys and girls wrestlers continue this program, and it’s helping them maintain and gain strength. “One of the things I told them was that they’d never lose a match because they were too strong,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong and Guenzler named Grove, a junior, the wrestler of the week. She won most of her matches, losing only to ranked Cascade wrestler Lindsay Faldzinski at 152 pounds — a weight class higher than Grove typically wrestles. Grove, who is wrestling for the first time this year, has worked very hard to master technique and skills and has improved tremendously through the season, Armstrong said.
Most exciting match of the week honors went to Carter Morgan, also a junior, who wrestles at 205 this year. He pinned Kolter Bouma, a state placer, in the third round at the Shelby mixer. Armstrong said Morgan was trailing, 0-11, going into the third round. Morgan started the round on top, cradled Bouma, who got a release. Morgan followed through, turned him and pinned him. This is a big win for Morgan and should gain him a better seeding position for the divisional tournament, Armstrong said.
The Western Division wrestling meet will be held Feb. 26 and 27 in Cut Bank. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the state tournament March 5-6 in Shelby. Girls will be able to compete in both of these tournaments this year, under current Montana High School Association rules.
Cascade girls mixer
145 — Sadie Grove p. Maddie Lippy, Florence-Carlton, :27; p. Amelia Blackcrow, Harlem, 4:30.
152 — Anna Stutz p. Tia Kuntz, Harlem, :23; dec. by Lindsay Faldzinski, Cascade, 4-8.
Fort Benton mixer
132 — Jeffery Colesworthy p. John Ocenosak, GFCC, 2:11; t. fall Evan Sereday, White Sulphur Springs, 16-0.
145 — Kaide Kindler p. Reinhard Bold, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, 2:02; p. Bayley Genereux, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, 4:23.
152 — Percy Bechtold p. Andrew Gudmundson, White Sulphur Springs, 3:02; p. Cade Ball, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, 4:30.
170 — Jared Selander p. Lincoln Reich, Chinook, 1:40.
182 — Jared Selander p. by Hayden Axtman, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, 5:32.
205 — Jacob Major dec. Preston Nitschke-Love, GFCC, 4-2; dec. by Brady Pleninger, Fort Benton-Big Sandy, 7-10.
205 — Carter Morgan p. Pleninger, :45; p. Nitschke-Love, 1:00.
138 — Jeffery Colesworthy dec. by John Armstrong, Jefferson, 5-7; m. dec. by Roper Mycke, Conrad, 1-11.
145 — Kaide Kindler p. Colby Crowell, Cascade, 1:12; p. Luke Meeker, Manhattan, :22.
152 — Percy Bechtold dec. Parker Moody, Manhattan, 3-2; p. Kaden Johnson, Jefferson, 2:06.
152 — Sadie Grove dec. by Faldzinski, 1-7.
152 — Anna Stutz p. by Faldzinski, 4:26.
182 — Jared Selander p. by Connor Sawyer, Cascade, 4:19; p. by Braeden Jones, Jefferson, 5:47.
205 — Jacob Major dec. by Bryce Lohman, Conrad, 0-7; dec. Brent Ethridge, Cascade, 9-2.
205 — Carter Morgan dec. Lohman, 2-1; p. Ethridge, :29.
132 — Jeffery Colesworthy won over Berlin Larson, Shelby, by default; m. dec. McCoy Banner, Fairfield, 11-0.
145 — Kaide Kindler dec. McKray Freeze, White Sulphur Springs, 2-0; p. by Roper Mycke, 3:30, at 152 pounds.
145 — Sadie Grove p. Berlin Larson, Shelby, :23.
152 — Percy Bechtold p. Cash Mycke, Conrad, :20; m. dec. Joe Ramos, Valier, 9-1.
152 — Anna Stutz p. Josh Spittler, Fairfield, :27.
182 — Jared Selander p. by Cylar Taylor, White Sulphur Springs, 3:08; p. by Cameron Brusven, Shelby, 3:49.
205 — Jacob Major dec. Cole Troy, Fairfield, 8-3; p. by Kolter Bouma, Fairfield, 4:01.
205 — Carter Morgan p. Troy, 1:46; p. Bouma, 4:11.