Choteau High School will host the Choteau Classic wrestling tournament on Jan. 11 and 12 with a varsity tournament in the high school gym and a junior varsity round robin in the elementary school gym.
Wrestling will start on Friday at 1 p.m. with “pigtails” — matches to allow unranked wrestlers to get into the 16-man bracket for their weight classes. The varsity tournament will start at 2 p.m. and the junior varsity round robin at 2:30 p.m.
Choteau head coach Sam Armstrong said he expects 37 to 38 Class B and C teams to compete in this year’s varsity tournament. Additionally, Class AA Great Falls High and C.M. Russell High will send JV squads to compete in the round robin.
Armstrong said the event is a huge undertaking that involves many volunteers. Anyone wanting to help out should call him or tournament manager Bob Scott.
The tournament builds excitement and energy for the Choteau team and will give all nine boys competing a taste of some of the best Montana wresters.
“It’s a great time for the community,” Armstrong said, adding that many teams and families stay over, booking virtually all of the rooms available at Choteau motels.
Choteau’s squad will still be missing heavyweight wrestler Sam Stutz who is nursing a knee injury that happened before the Christmas break.
Choteau’s squad returned to action with a mixer at home that also was the team’s senior night. The school honored senior wrestlers Calvin Maples, Pete Henderson and Tommy Ehman and senior manager Michaela Gunderson.
Armstrong said all of Choteau’s wrestlers got at least two matches in the mixer.
Then on Jan. 4 and 5, Choteau’s nine wrestlers traveled to Cut Bank for the 27-team Booster Club Invitational. Class A Havre won the tournament while Cut Bank took second and Malta third. Choteau finished 17th with 63 points.
Two of Choteau’s seniors, Henderson wrestling at 138 pounds and Ballard at 205 pounds, took fourth place in the tournament.
Henderson scored 20 team points and Ballard 17 on their way to placing. Others scoring for the team were: Blake Gunderson, 132 pounds, six points; Maples at 152 pounds, seven points; Ehman at 160 pounds, four points; Carter Morgan at 170 pounds, six points; and Jacob Major, 182 pounds, three points.
Armstrong said his favorite match in the tournament was freshman Gunderson’s against Garrett Pruttis, who finished the tournament in fifth place. Armstrong said this was Gunderson’s first match after dropping down to 132 pounds. He said Gunderson looked strong and wrestled aggressively. Even though he lost to Pruttis, he stayed tough and looked good, Armstrong said.
“This is a good weight for him and he will be competitive at this weight,” the coach said.
He complimented Henderson and Ballard for fighting their way to a fourth-place finish. Henderson defeated Hank Dunn of Lincoln County High School, the second-ranked wrestler at 138 pounds, in a match in which Henderson as “forceful and relentless,” Armstrong said. Though he lost the third-fourth match to a Poplar wrestler, Henderson wrestled well and is looking forward to meeting that opponent again.
Ballard also wrestled very well in the tournament, facing some tough opponents, including Class A wrestlers from Havre.
Armstrong said he was, “proud for both of those seniors for leading the way and getting there.”
Cut Bank Booster Invitational
1. Havre, 179; 2. Cut Bank, 150; 3. Malta, 138.5; 4. Circle, 129.5; 5. Lincoln County High School, 123; 6. Great Falls High junior varsity, 113; 7. Poplar, 109; 8. Fergus County High School, 103; 9. Browning, 102; 10. Thompson Falls, 98.5; 11. Jefferson County High School, 92; 12. Valier, 78; 13. Fairfield, 69; 14. Simms, 68.5; 15. Shelby, 66; 16. Whitefish, 64; 17. Choteau, 63; 18. C.M. Russell High School junior varsity, 46; 19. Conrad, 41; 20. Chinook, 34; 21. Chester-Joplin-Inverness, 28; 22. Wolf Point, 26; 23. Fort Benton, 23; 24. Three Forks, 17; 25. Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, 16; 26. Harlem, 14; 27. Belt, 8.
Choteau individual results
132 — Blake Gunderson, bye; p. by Garrett Pruttis, Chinook, 3:34; p. Sidney Cooke, Whitefish, 2:00; p. Dallas Biggers, Conrad, :31; p. by Cole Becker, Circle, 2:48.
138 — Kaide Kindler p. by Lane Paulson, Havre, 1:50; p. Tyler Ferguson, CMR JV, 4:32; p. Lucas Kinkaid, Simms, 4:09; dec. Eli Reed, Jefferson, 6-4; p. by Dakota Flannery, Whitefish, 1:31.
138 — Pete Henderson p. Brandon Mills, CMR JV, 1:01; p. Lucas Andersen, Thompson Falls, :54; p. Connor Schnabel, Fort Benton, 2:54; p. by Trey Taylor, Circle, 2:45; dec. Hank Dunn, Lincoln County, 5-2; dec. by Hunter Reum, Poplar, 3-1.
145 — Jared Selander p. by Matt Dollinger, Belt, 1:21; p. by Bridger Gouchenour, Conrad, 1:28.
152 — Calvin Maples, bye; p. by J.T. Hauer, Chinook, 1:59; bye; p. Wyatt Garver, Lincoln County, 1:54; p. Colten Barsness, Cut Bank, 2:51; p. by Austin Vanek, Cut Bank, :27.
160 — Tommy Ehman, bye; p. by Kobe Whitford, Cut Bank, 5:04; bye; p. Sammy Brunelle, Poplar, :22; p. by Theron Moore, GFH JV, 1:30.
170 — Carter Morgan, bye; p. Taylor Gopher, Havre, 1:59; p. by J.R. Seewald, Cut Bank, 1:06; dec. by Charlie Bullcalf, Browning, 4-5.
182 — Jacob Major, bye; bye; p. by Jacob Berger, Poplar, 2:19; won by forfeit over Hayden Devoy, Lethbridge; p. by Tommy Campbell, Browning, 4:10.
205 — Bryan Ballard, bye; p. Jaden Keeling, Malta, :30; m. dec. Tyler Pribbernow, Poplar, 11-3; p. by Brett Monroe, Valier, 1:04; dec. Kain Schwartz Dorhety, CMR JV, 5-2; p. by Austin Ratliff, Havre, 3:21.