SUPERIOR — All season the Mission-Charlo High School wrestling coach Lyle Cronk has watched his team steadily improve with each match.
Cronk knows the best time for a wrestler to reach the peak of competition is during the Divisional and State wrestling meet on Feb. 9-10 at MetraPark in Billings.
“I think it’s important for any individual wrestler to finish that match with confidence and it was great going into the next weekend, especially when they beat someone they lost to during the season,” Cronk said. “Anything can happen in the State tournament when wrestlers go there and believe in themselves. That is exciting when big things happen.”
The Bulldogs’ team qualified nine individual wrestlers for the State championship during Saturday’s match at Superior High School.
The Bulldogs qualified Walker Murphy (113), Bailey Weible (126), Cole Gilleard (132), Darwin Adams (138), Isaiah Alik (170), Miles Anderson (170), Gus Bosley (182), Lucas Wohltmann (205) and Chris Anderson (285).
“The team wrestled great, we had a good day and it was great to see a lot of our wrestlers in the championship in the third and fourth round wrestling with confidence,” Cronk said. “We’ve been working on and I’ve been preaching to win the third and fourth rounds in the championship. They went out, competed hard and ended up with it.”
Cronk expressed confidence in every single one of his wrestlers and he feels there are more than a handful of potential State championship caliber athletes on his team that could compete for gold.
“I think Walker Murphy can beat a kid in the championship,” Cronk said. “Isaiah beat two kids during Divisional that he lost to in the year or placed third to, and those two were standouts.”
Cronk has credited his entire team with being a strong group as they prepare to head into the Class A State championship wrestling tournament.
“This is a special group of kids, there are a lot of kids I’ve been coaching since the first grade and they are a good group of kids that are improving,” Cronk said. “We saw that they’ve improved throughout the year and it’s a matter of putting it all together.”
Cronk said he isn’t the type of coach that puts a lot of stock into seeding as his team prepares for the State tournamentCronk expressed that he is proud of his team’s effort. The Mission-Charlo team is sending more wrestlers to State than last year, according to Cronk.
“I am really proud of our team and being one point away from the trophy in Divisional,” Cronk said.