BILLINGS — All season the Polson Pirates wrestling team has boasted of a core group of seniors and underclassmen that put them in the conversation of finishing in the top three as a team as they prepared to head into the Class A state wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday afternoon at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings.
The Pirates roster consisted of several players that could have easily ended up being considered for winning state hardware including Mateo Quinones (120), Bridger Wenzel (138), Cameron Brown (145), Parker Adler (152) and Hunter Fritsch (170).
These were just some of the names mentioned in the Pirates stable of wrestlers that could win it and that isn’t including some of the team’s dark horses that didn’t generate as much publicity as the core group.
“We have a core group of kids that really worked hard this year and to finish with six state placers and getting to see those kids make it to the podium is always fun,” Pirates coach Kevin Owen said. “That is something they get to take home and that always makes it nice. I definitely had seniors that led the way showing kids how to work and prepare. It made coaching the group of kids that we had fun.”
The Pirates’ core group of upperclassmen including Brown (145), Noah Humphrey (205), Parker Adler (152) and Quinones (120), all left their marks and continued the storied tradition of Pirates’ wrestling that dates back to the mid-1970s
“It is just nice to have a group that understands what it takes to win,” Owen said. “Those four seniors gave our program everything from the start of their entire careers and made expectations easier coming into the season. They went out and competed against kids from states like Washington, Idaho and Double-AA schools. We have a group of kids that will continue their success in Class A in the entire northwest and those seniors proved that. Our team scored at every grade during the State tournament.”
Wenzel and Adler were shining stars for Polson as both wrestlers made it through their respective weight classes only to fall to top-tier competitors in the championship round.
With the reclassification of moving that moved several teams up from Class B to Class A, it has made the competitive landscape of State even more dynamic, Owen said.
“I grew up in Polson, competed in Class A, watched my older brothers and cousins compete in Class A and my dad and my uncles coach,” Oen explained. “This is by far the deepest class that Montana has ever had period. That is one thing that we talked about that makes for an exciting State tournament. You had teams like Sidney, Havre and Fergus that had a bunch of seniors and showed up for the State tournament. There were years that if you scored 134 points in the State tournament that would have been good enough to finish in second. Then you had teams like Frenchtown that were a couple of points behind us with two state champions.”
Traditionally, the Pirates’ wrestling roster has boasted of stars and this year was no exception.
“The one thing that I usually say to our community is that we can take the six best wrestlers we have and put them up against anyone in the state,” Owen said. “It’s always fun that we have those kids that have wrestled and worked throughout the years in the summer. They work to get to that level, fill out those lineups and all of those extras with us. I think next year we will have two returning State finalists with Hunter Fritsch and Bridger Wenzel.”
Owen said Wenzel wrestled some of the finest matches of his career and Fritsch, who was hampered by injury, displayed the character and determination that will one day allow him to be crowned a State champion as he starts his preparation for next season now as he lost to Belgrade’s John Mears in the championship round.
“During the tournament, Wenzel wrestled the State finalist and I don’t think he could have wrestled any better,” Owen said. “He will tape that kid’s name on his locker, start training today and do what he needs to do (next season) in order to beat him.”
All-Class State Wrestling Tournament
Metra Park, Billings
February 9-10, 2018
TEAM SCORES – Sidney-Fairview (SidFa) 250, Havre (Havr) 188, Fergus Co. Lewistown (FCLew) 185, Polson (Pol) 134, Frenchtown (Fren) 130, Dawson Co. Glendive (DCG) 117.5, Hardin (Hard) 110, Columbia Falls (CF) 108, Ronan (Ron) 70, Hamilton-Darby (HamDa) 66, Libby-Troy (LiTr) 53.5, Dillon-Twin Bridges-Sheridan (DTBS) 42.5, Custer Co. Miles City (CCMC) 39.5, Belgrade (Belg) 38, Browning (Brn) 30.5, Laurel (Lau) 29, Billings Central (BiC) 23, Stevensville-Victor (StVi) 20, Corvallis 17, Park Co. Livingston (PCLiv) 16, Butte Central (BuC) 15, Whitefish (Wf) 10.
Individual wrestlers (abridged to Mission Valley area)
A103 – 3, Trapper McAllister
Maysn Cowell, Polson (2-2) – Cowell 1:02 p. Levi Nunberg (Lau); [qtr] McAllister 1:22 p. Cowell; Cowell 2:04 p. Ashton Flamand (Brn); Landen Stewart (Fren) 6-4 d. Cowell.
Trapper McAllister, Ronan (4-1) – McAllister 1:51 p. Colton Picco (FCLe); [qtr] McAllister 1:22 p. Cowell; [semi] Kaiden Cline (Sid) 17-2 tf. 5:00 McAllister; McAllister 3:30 p. Mick Chagnon (Havr); [3rd pl] McAllister 3:23 p. Eli Warner (Fren).
Trevor Bartel, Ronan (0-2) – Kaiden Cline (SidFa) 3:03 p. Bartel; Matt Foley (Belg) 2:10 p. Bartel.
A113 – 3, Mateo Quinones; 5, R.J. Pierre
Mateo Quinones, Polson (5-1) – Quinones 0:28 p. Dylan Young (Havr); [qtr] Cameron Pleninger (Havr) 3:37 p. Quinones; Quinones 3:00 p. Dean Kellogg (Wf); Quinones 10-0 md. Kellen Robbins (StVi); Quinones 9-8 d. Walker Dyer (Fren); [3rd pl] Quinones 6-2 d. Pleninger.
Rene Pierre, Polson (4-2) – Pierre 3:42 p. Keith Pretty Weasel (Hard); Cooper Birdwell (FCLew) 5:02 p. Pierre; Pierre 1:54 p. Braxton Scheeler (CCMC); Pierre 2:24 p. Jordan Darby (SidFa); Pleninger 2:13 p. Pierre; [5th pl] Pierre 2:33 p. Dyer.
A120 – 5, Spencer Stagg
Spencer Stagg, Ronan (3-2) – Stagg 1:11 p. Aden Rogge (PCLiv); [qtr] Stagg 3:08 p. Dillon Yeadon (LiTr); [semi] Damian Leidholt (CCMC) 6-4 d. Stagg; Kade Graves (SidFa) 7-5 d. Stagg; [5th pl] Stagg 8-3 d. Reno.
Kedrick Baker, Polson (2-2) – Ryan Stewart (Havr) 1:51 p. Baker; Baker f. Austin Nelson (CF); Baker 8-4 d. Yeadon; Reno 1-0 d. Baker.
Zane Walchuk, Reno (1-2) – Quin Reno (Havr) 11-2 md. Walchuk; Walchuk 4:21 p. James Wissenbach (Cor); Zack Morrison (LiTr) 7-3 d. Walchuk.
Owen Brown, Ronan (1-2) – Marc Ramirez (Havr) 1:20 p. O.Brown; O.Brown 8-2 d. Xander Spady (LiTr); Clay Fisher (BuC) 11-3 md. O.Brown.
A132 – 2, Bridger Wenzel
Bridger Wenzel, Polson (3-1) – Wenzel 0:54 p. Jestin Molnar (Lau); [qtr] Wenzel 3:27 p. Ayden Role (CF); Wenzel 5:47 p. Iane Paulson (Havr); [1st pl] John Mears (Belg) 9-2 d. Wenzel.
A138 – 4, Hunter Peterson
Hunter Peterson, Ronan (3-2) – Peterson 1:48 p. Ronald Anderson (Hard); [qtr] Peterson 4-0 d. Keaten Potter (FCLew); [semi] Jace Winter (Sid) 5:28 p. Peterson; Peterson 8-3 d. Trevyn Nave (FCLew); [3rd pl] Bridger Williams (HamDa) 1:50 p. Peterson.
Jarod Farrier, Polson (0-2) – Jacob Morgan (BiC) 4-1 d. Farrier; Colten Reidel (DCG) 4:32 p. Farrier.
A145 – 3, Cameron Brown
Cameron Brown, Polson (4-1) – C.Brown f. Uriel May (BiC); [qtr] C.Brown 1:38 p. Victor Howieson (PCLiv); [semi] Ben Stortz (DCG) 1:08 p. C.Brown; C.Brown 11-5 d. Nathan Hader (CF); [3rd pl] C.Brown 2:31 p. Jace Johnson (SidFa).
Kaleb Unger, Polson (0-2) – Martin Wilkie (Havr) 1:14 p. Unger; Jack Eisenbarth (Wf) 4:47 p. Unger.
A152 – 2, Parker Adler
Parker Adler, Polson (3-1) – Adler 0:38 p. Junior Cady (FCLew); [qtr] Adler 1:18 p. Brandon Held (DCG); [semi] Adler 7-4 d. Connor Harris (Havr); [1st pl] Bryce Roan (Hard) 5:24 p. Adler.
Seth Cheff, Ronan (1-2) – Chase Farrar (FCLew) 5:06 p. S.Cheff; S.Cheff 2:36 p. Christian Wyant (Fren); Held 2:09 p. S.Cheff.
Dan Cheff III, Ronan (1-2) – Landon Farrar (FCLew) 3:17 p. D.Cheff; D.Cheff 9-1 md. Sam Despain (Belg); Avery Gurney (SidFa) 3:49 p. D.Cheff.
Daniel Collins-Bishop, Ronan (0-2) – Jeff Jones (SidFa) 1:45 p. Collins-B; Tim Carvey (LiTr) 1:36 p. Collins-Bishop.
A170 – 3, Hunter Fritsch
Hunter Fritsch, Polson (5-1) – Fritsch 3:41 p. Kevin Aiken (Belg); [qtr] Brenden Roan (Hard) 11-4 d. Fritsch; Fritsch 2:32 p. Jazz Schroeder (Havr); Fritsch 6-0 d. Cade Dockter (DCG); Fritsch 5-1 d. Mason Dione (Havr); [3rd pl] Fritsch 4-2 d. Trevor Dean (SidFa).
A182 – 5, Justin Mays
Justin Mays, Ronan (3-2) – Mays 4:49 p. Thomas Cooper (BiC); [qtr] Mays 3-1 sv. Ryan Wyman (Sid); [semi] Justin Zier (Hard) 11-0 md. Mays; Nelson Crisafulli (DCG) 2:08 p. Mays; [5th pl] Mays 4-4 ot. Gibson.
Noah Humphrey, Polson (1-2) – Shane Gibson (PCLiv) 8-2 d. Humphrey; Humphrey 0:52 p. Hunter Probst (DTBS); Colton McPhee (CF) 1:26 p. Humphrey.
Jasper Drake, Polson (0-2) – Sawyor Toreros (SidFa) 1:23 p. Drake; Levi Downard (Fren) 1:52 p. Drake.
Wesley Pablo, Ronan (1-2) – BJ Hatcher (Lau) 1:22 p. Pablo; Pablo 2:21 p. Jacob Woods (StVi); Kyle Anderson (HamDa) 1:53 p. Pablo.
Sam Mocabee, Ronan (1-2) – Matt Fulton (DCG) 2:33 p. Mocabee; Mocabee 0:36 p. Tucker Ewalt (Cor); Taylor Gladeau (CF) 2:09 p. Mocabee.