Chiefs wrestlers ready for next level at state

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RONAN WRESTLER Happy Cheff attempts to pin Libby wrestler Tim Carvey in the Western Class B-C Divisional Tournament Saturday afternoon at Arlee High School. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

“This is one weight class that we had high expectations for and I believe on any given day that we have two guys wrestling incredibly at their weight class,” Muir said. “Our 103-pounders are extremely competitive and it was such a back-and-forth process. Both wrestlers have a good chance of qualifying for the top-3.”

The two Chiefs that qualified at 103-pounds include Zane Walchuk and Caden Rhine.

“The three wrestlers at 103-pounds really battled hard all season,” Muir said. “The three (103-pounders) wrestled hard all season. Unfortunately, we have to choose between two guys in that weight class but we wish we could take all three guys. Literally, I feel all three would end up in the top six. We are geared up and and ready to rock n’ roll. All of those guys made each other better and I am thankful that we have to practice hard and make each other better.”

Spencer Stagg, 113-pound class: The Chiefs’ 113-pound wrestler Spencer Stagg may get a chance to avenge his loss to Thompson Fall’s Caleb Frank. Frank is a wrestler that Stagg has had trouble with in his two confrontations of the season, according to Muir.

“That was Stagg’s second loss to Frank and they were all one or two-point matches,” Stagg said. “He was right there. In the right scenario in an instant that could change in the next match. All we have to make is a few adjustments with Spencer to make that change and that is our game-plan (as we prepare for state) this week. We just have to make some minor adjustments with Spencer’s wrestling strategy. That is what it is going to take and I certainly think he will be standing on the podium if not the top of the next coming week.”

Muir said he felt Stagg’s fundamental mechanics and technical approach will give him a chance in every match he has at state.

“He is pretty solid and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Muir said. “(Spencer) stays in great position at all times, hits shots, knows when he shoots and gives them respect when they need respect but doesn’t give them too much respect. He isn’t going to go out there and fire away and not give the guys respect. If Spencer wrestles like I’ve seen him in wrestle in the past, he should be on the podium and place in the top three.”

Owen Brown, 120-pound class: The Ronan Chiefs have a 120-pound freshman that is helping solidify the program’s future with Owen Brown. During the regular season, Brown compiled a 26-6 record as a freshman.

At the Western B-C Divisional Brown lost a match in the last 15 to 20 seconds, and according to Muir, it’s all part of the learning curve for the freshman.

“Having a record like that is pretty phenomenal as a freshman,” Muir said. “If it comes down to him and that wrestler again, he thrives off those types of instances. He might take that loss and use it as motivation. He is pretty phenomenal for a freshman in my mind and in the coaching staff’s mind. He is a finalist for the tournament and he has to wrestle every match. We don’t overlook any of our competition and we know where our level of athletes fare. We feel that Owen Brown is a guy that should be in the finals as a freshman.”

Hunter Peterson, 126-pound class: Last season, 126-pound wrestler Hunter Peterson placed second at the Montana State wrestling tournament and this season he is looking to stand at the top of the podium, according to Muir.

“He placed second at state, is a three-time divisional champ, he’s a junior this year and placed second last year at 113 pounds,” Muir said. “Peterson is knocking on the door to become a state champ this year. He’s a technical wrestler and he’s very sound. We feel good about Hunter because he looks good and he is very confident (in his abilities).”

Muir said he felt Peterson, Stagg, and 132-pound Noah Cheff exemplify the commitment it takes to be a successful wrestler.

“Hunter is that caliber of guy and Noah and Spencer are those guys that are very focused at what they are doing,” Muir said. “For those wrestlers, wrestling has become a lifestyle and not just a sport.”

Noah Cheff, 132-pound class: Noah Cheff received recognition at the Western Class B-C wrestling Divisional tournament Saturday at Arlee High School.

Cheff was awarded the quick pin award in the divisional tounament for pinning the most wrestlers in the fastest amount of time.

“He has gained phenomenal confidence, he knows where he is at and he is a highly-ranked wrestler at 132 pounds,” Muir said. “Noah should be in the finals in the state tournament because he has an incredible amount of talent. His work ethic is starting to come around. That is what he is starting to mold is his talent into a very solid wrestler.”

Tyler Houle, 160-pound class: Ronan wrestler Tyler Houle finished third in the 160-pound weight class at the Western Class B-C Divisional Saturday at Arlee High School.

“That was the biggest weight class in the division and they wrestled incredibly well,” Muir said. “He is a very smart wrestler and did a very good job. He’s what we call a ‘coachable kids,’ and he is willing to do everything that we ask. That is what coaches look for and he learns as he goes. That is how kids win matches because they are able to adapt to the positioning inside the match.”

Muir said he felt Houle exemplified “heart” throughout the divisional round.

“He is one of those guys that dug down deep,” Muir said. “He does that with every single match he wrestles. He did such a great job and had a great effort. He is the type of wrestler that you want on your side.”

Steven Weyant, 182-pound class: Ronan wrestler Steven Weyant was able to punch his ticket to state and according to Muir, he had a “tough” road in his weight class.

“He was able to defeat Sherwood from Eureka,” Muir said. “He showed his maturity level and he really gutted things out and went the extra mile. These two guys are in the same boat. There are no extra years left for them. They are willing to gut out matches, go the extra mile, and get it done.”

Sam Mockabee, 285-pound: Ronan’s Sam Mockabee, a first-year wrestler, was one of the “pleasant surprises,” according to Muir.

Mockabee took second at the Western B-C Divisional tournament at Arlee High School.

“It is a great story, and Sam is a first-year guy and is willing to be coached,” Muir said. “He is very coachable. He doesn’t know what he is doing half of the time. We implemented a few good moves in practice and that put him in the championship match at Divisionals.”

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