Pirates put two in state championship finals in Billings

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  • POLSON WRESTLER Hunter Fritsch attempts to put Alex Wickens in a headlock in the Montana State 160-pound semifinal match Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. Fritsch placed second and lost to Havre wrestler Dane Flammond in the championship match. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON WRESTLER Cameron Brown and CODA’s Drew Schmitt attempt to get good position on each other in the Montana State wrestling championship match of the 145-pound division Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

  • POLSON WRESTLER Hunter Fritsch attempts to put Alex Wickens in a headlock in the Montana State 160-pound semifinal match Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. Fritsch placed second and lost to Havre wrestler Dane Flammond in the championship match. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

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    POLSON WRESTLER Cameron Brown and CODA’s Drew Schmitt attempt to get good position on each other in the Montana State wrestling championship match of the 145-pound division Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

BILLINGS — The Polson Pirates placed two wrestlers in the finals, Hunter Frisch and Parker Adler, and though those two fell short of capturing a Montana Class A state championship, they are two key components that will solidify the Pirates’ future.

“As a whole, most of our front line wrestled very well,” Pirates Coach Bob Owen said. “We were able to get some kids in for experience and especially some of younger kids could have done better (at state). With their comeback match, a lot of them were supposed to lose in the first round. They should have comeback and wrestled to their ability. We kind of let our guard down a little.”

Owen said he felt some of his younger wrestlers will have to commit themselves in the off season.

Owens praised his two wrestlers that qualified for the finals: Adler and Fritsch.

“Hunter wrestled really well up to that final match and that kid is just older than Hunter,” Owen said. “Hunter is really going to have to start lifting weights to be on par with a kid like that. He was just bigger and stronger than Hunter and really was able to prevent everything Hunter tried to get started there. However, to make it to the finals as a sophomore, he really has a lot of big things in front of him. He was able to beat a very good opponent and I was really happy with his performance.”

Wrestler Cameron Brown also made headlines for his courageous performance in the meet. Brown, who accidentally shot himself with a .22 caliber pistol, came back from his injury and was able to place at state.

“Our coaching staff is very proud of what he did,” Owen said. “He’s not the greatest in technique but he is as scrappy as they come. He really fights. He is handicapped and barely limped in there sometimes. We are just really proud of the way he wrestled.”

113-pound Mateo Quinones finished fifth in his weight class and Owen said he felt he showed significant improvement.

“You know, he wrestled way better this week than he did at Divisionals,” Owen said. “He really stepped up to be one of the best wrestlers in his weight class.”

126-pounder Bridger Wenzel had a difficult road and because he took second at Divisionals, he was forced to face what Owen said was the best wrestler in his weight class in the semifinals rather than the finals.

Parker Adler, who wrestled in the 138-pound championship and got a chance for a rematch against Sawyer Deegan, wrestled competitively.

“Parker wrestled that kid better than anyone had and it was a very tight match in the finals,” Owen said. “Had Parker finished the first take down, we would be talking about a completely different match. Deegan is one of the most confident wrestlers I’ve ever seen it doesn’t matter what the situation is. He is as cool as the other side of the pillow. He is one of those rare kids that doesn’t get nervous and he knows he can wrestle it out.”

Owen declared he is proud of his team that will have the majority return next year to wrestle. The Pirates will lose senior Ryan Burland to graduation and return everyone else.

Because Owen will be returning the majority of his wrestling including his state-placers, he said he will have even higher expectations for his team next season.

“This is one of those unusual seasons you hope you don’t have and fortunately they don’t come along very often,” Owen said. “I think we used up our bad luck. That is the neat thing is that we have one senior and we will be competitive with this bunch next year.”

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