Last year, the Arlee Warriors wrestling team had an unusual season and didn’t qualify any wrestlers for the Class B-C State wrestling tournament at MetraPark in Billings.
This season, the Warriors’ wrestling program was determined to get back to Billings and three individual wrestlers will represent Arlee during the Class B-C State wrestling Friday and Saturday at MetraPark in Billings.
George Shick (182) overcame one of the most talent-rich weight classes to qualify in the Western portion of Class B-C and will most likely face several of his opponents again at State.
“At Divisionals, Shick, Bosley, and Garrett Graves are probably the three toughest guys in the state at 182 and they all live right here in Western Montana,” Warriors’ coach Ken Hill said. “I would like to see an all-western Montana semifinal with Graves and Bosley if Bosley healed after he tweaked his shoulder over the weekend. Shick and Spencer Jones in the semifinals would be a good showing for Western Montana.”
Other Arlee wrestlers that qualified as individuals for the State wrestling tournament are Skyler Titsworth (152) and Jace Samsel (103).
Hill expressed optimism about Samsel’s prospects in the 103-pound division, a diverse weight class.
“He got the second place over Oliver Post from Florence, and the other competitor in the championship bracket Roman Sparks,” Hill said. “Thompson Falls just has good coaches and a good program out there. They are probably going to be one of the more dominant teams in the west. They had a bunch of good kids coming in.”
Hill said the 103-pound weight division is always a mystery when prepping for State.
“You never know because that weight class draws a lot of freshmen that we’ve never seen before,” Hill said. “Kids in this weight class get bigger and stronger and improve throughout the year. There are a lot of tough kids from the eastern side of the state. We are going to have to have good technique and motivation once we get there.”
Warriors’ wrestler Skyler Titsworth (152) will be in one of the toughest weight classes in the B-C.
“He really came around and all of a sudden he wasn’t struggling with his weight anymore,”Hill said. “When wrestlers are happy with their weight, they wrestle much better. Pretty much our team has wrestled well the last three weeks.”
As the Warriors prepare for Billings they will continue to study their own tendencies and weaknesses leading up to the MHSA’s biggest athletic event.
“What we try to do is get to know the strengths and weakness,” Hill said. “We show them videos of the match and as soon as they are done with the match, we work on small things a kid can improve on. At that point, we prove what they are capable of doing.”
The Warriors also don’t worry about individual records or statistics. Instead, they focus on the individual matchups in prepping throughout the week.
“The biggest thing that Page Carney and I never mention is the individual records,” Hill said. “Our biggest thing is that we want to make those kids that wrestle know this is what we do for fun on the weekend. The kids are happy and get to enjoy the sport. There are also the family things that we do and we really promote the camaraderie of the sport of wrestling. Our kids get to meet new people, new families and get to know new teammates throughout the season.”
WESTERN CLASS B/C DIVISIONAL
*Top four finishers qualify for the state tournament
Team scores: 1. Lincoln County/Eureka 209; 2. Thompson Falls 144; 3. Florence-Carlton 135; 4. St. Ignatius/Charlo 134; 5. Superior/Alberton 104; 6. Plains/Hot Springs 97.5; 7. Arlee 59; 8. Bigfork 7.
Championship — Roman Sparks, THFA, p. Jace Samsel, ARLE, 0:57.
Third place — Oliver Post, FLCA, bye.
Championship — Gunnar Smith, LCE, p. Walker Murphy, SIC, 1:39.
Third place — Garrett Jones, THFA, p. Peter Carey, PHS, 1:28.
Championship — Nathan Schmidt, LCE, dec. Kaleb Frank, THFA, 9-6.
Third place — Conrad Vanderwall, PHS, dec. Kyle Durden, LCE, 7-2.
Championship — Daniel Uli, PHS, dec. Bailey Weible, SIC, 10-4.
Third place — Mike Parkin, SUAL, p. Wesley Buchanan, SUAL, 0:59.
Championship — Hank Dunn, LCE, p. Josiah Vanderwall, PHS, 3:42.
Third place — Cole Gilleard, SIC, p. Hunter Haskins, SUAL, 3:50.
Championship — Avery Meinzen, FLCA, p. Darwin Adams, SIC, 3:19.
Third place — Isaiah Kovalsky, SUAL, p. Chance Muller, LCE, 2:45.
Championship — Jethro Thome, FLCA, p. Isaac Petz, LCE, 2:49.
Third place — Austin Stafford, PHS, p. Anthony Dulac, FLCA, 2:11.
Championship — Peyton Irvine, THFA, dec. James Fehr, LCE, 5-1.
Third place — Skyler Titsworth, ARLE, p. Nathan Cargill, LCE, 1:25.
Championship — Kyler Alm, FLCA, dec. Jonathan Schmidt, LCE, 3-2.
Third place — Isaiah Alik, SIC, dec. Luke Lile, PHS, 5-2.
Championship — Jase Sorenson, THFA, p. Trey Green, SUAL, 2:56.
Third place — Dax Miller, FLCA, p. Miles Anderson, SIC, 4:21.
Championship — Garrett Graves, LCE, p. Spencer Jones, FLCA, 3:52.
Third place — George Shick, ARLE, wins by inj. forfeit (Gus Bosley, SIC).
Championship — Dakota Irvine, THFA, dec. Austin Cooper, THFA, 7-0.
Third place — Lucas Wohltmann, SIC, bye.
Championship — Sam Johnson, LCE, p. Chris Anderson, SIC, 4:10.