Champion Fritsch leads Pirates to third at state

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  • Charlo sophomore Liev Smith hustles the ball upcourt against Sydney Jackson of Hot Springs during the Lady Vikes’ Senior Night game last Friday. (Joe Sova/Lake County Leader)

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    Pictured are Polson’s three senior state place winners and their coaches after the Pirates earned the third-place trophy at the All-Class State Wrestling Championships in Billings. From left, are coaches Brett Owen and Dennis (last name unknown), seniors Hunter Fritsch, Bridger Wenzel and RJ Pierre, and coaches Matt Owen and Ethan Bucarey. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Wenzel)

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    Polson High School teammates, coaches and managers are proudly at the podium in Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings on Saturday to accept the third-place trophy in Class A at the All-Class State Wrestling Championships. Individual state champion Hunter Fritsch holds the team trophy. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Wenzel)

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    Polson teammates and coaches were part of the introduction of teams to open the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament on Friday in the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. (Courtesy photo)

  • Charlo sophomore Liev Smith hustles the ball upcourt against Sydney Jackson of Hot Springs during the Lady Vikes’ Senior Night game last Friday. (Joe Sova/Lake County Leader)

  • 1

    Pictured are Polson’s three senior state place winners and their coaches after the Pirates earned the third-place trophy at the All-Class State Wrestling Championships in Billings. From left, are coaches Brett Owen and Dennis (last name unknown), seniors Hunter Fritsch, Bridger Wenzel and RJ Pierre, and coaches Matt Owen and Ethan Bucarey. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Wenzel)

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    Polson High School teammates, coaches and managers are proudly at the podium in Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings on Saturday to accept the third-place trophy in Class A at the All-Class State Wrestling Championships. Individual state champion Hunter Fritsch holds the team trophy. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Wenzel)

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    Polson teammates and coaches were part of the introduction of teams to open the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament on Friday in the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. (Courtesy photo)

Polson High School’s wrestling team appeared to be “peaking” at the right time, going into postseason competition.

Led by senior individual state champion and senior Hunter Fritsch and four other medal winners, the Pirates captured the third-place trophy in Class A at the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament in Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings.

Only the top three teams, by points scored, make the trip to the podium to accept a trophy at state. Whoever finishes fourth is out of luck for hardware for their trophy case.

Polson — fifth at state last season — was neck-and-neck with nemesis Frenchtown in the medal rounds, and the Pirates picked up points here and there to finish with 128.5 points. Frenchtown had a final total of 126.

“You’re coming home empty-handed or with something really special,” Polson first-year head coach Matt Owen said after the state tourney. “The thing that separated us (Polson and Frenchtown) the most was we had 14 wrestlers who scored points for us. All the varsity and an extra (Kellen Norman).

“It was pretty exciting and a lot of fun,” the coach added.

Perennial power Sidney/Fairview ran away with the Class A team title, scoring 310.5 points. Havre was runner-up with 170. Columbia Falls was fifth with 99. Whitefish finished with 47.

For the Pirates, senior Bridger Wenzel was second at 152 pounds. RJ Pierre (113) earned third, Kedrick Baker (120) was fifth and Logan Adler (182) came in sixth.

IT WAS Fritsch’s “night under the lights” in his championship match. Seeking his first state title, he went up against Nelson Crisafulli of Dawson County-Glendive in the finals. Fritsch shut out Crisafulli, earning a 3-0 decision.

Fritch’s semifinal match was a dandy, as he used a 3-point near fall with just 20 seconds remaining to grab a 3-1 sudden victory overtime decision over Trevor Dean of Sidney/Fairview.

“Those were two really good matches that he tied together to win the title,” Owen said. “After the match, he said, ‘It was like a dream.’” A dream come true, at that.

Wenzel squeaked out a 3-2 win over Connor Harris of Havre in his semifinal match. “That was huge for him and our team,” Owen said.

John Mears of Belgrade, a junior who was a two-time state champ, made it three in a row with a 5-0 decision over Wenzel in the finals.

“He ran into a buzz saw in the finals,” Owen said. “Bridger wrestled as hard as he could and came up a little short, unfortunately.”

Owen said Pierre had a “fantastic tournament,” losing in the second round and battling back to pin the same opponent — Eli Warner of Frenchtown — he lost to earlier for third and fourth.

“That was a huge swing in the tournament,” the coach said.

Baker is a junior, and Adler is just a freshman. “It was a really good feat for a freshman to come in there and place,” Owen said.

If they all return, the Pirates will have 10 wrestlers next season who went to state this year. “That’s something to build on,” Owen said. “Our seniors will be sorely missed. They’re great wrestlers and great team leaders.”

Several of the team’s grapplers will compete in the Montana Open next month; there were six or seven in the tourney last year.

Owen gave credit to his assistant coaches. “It’s like having five head coaches on this team,” he said.

Mays, Bartel,

McAllister

place for Ronan

Senior Justin Mays and sophomores Trevor Bartel and Trapper McAllister were place winners in Class A for Ronan High School in the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament held last Friday and Saturday at MetraPark in the Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings.

Teamwise, the Chiefs scored 39 points to finish in 18th place.

Mays placed fourth in the 205-pound class. Placing sixth were Bartel at 103, and McAllister at 126. Mays’ last high school season saw him post a 25-10 record.

“All three of them had a great weekend,” Ronan head coach Dylan Kramer said. “They found a way to get into the placing rounds and competed at a high level.”

Four other Chiefs were unable to earn a state tourney medal. They were Julian Strait (126 pounds), Jamison Webster (170), Jesse LittleBoy (182) and Persephone Sandoval (205).

In his final state tourney, team leader Mays won by fall in his first two matches. In the semifinals, he lost a tight 4-2 decision to Austin Ratliff of Havre. Mays won a 3-1 sudden victory decision over Tyler Harms of Custer County-Miles City in overtime. In the match for third place, Jakob Freeman of Columbia Falls won an 8-3 decision over May.

“That weight class is really tough,” Kramer said of the 205-pound bracket. “He could have been a lot lower, too. I was happy with his performance.”

Bartel lost in the quarterfinals and battled back through consolation matches. He lost in the consolation semifinals, and dropped a 6-2 decision to Nathan Sproul of Whitefish in the match for fifth and sixth.

McAllister also came up short in the quarterfinals and worked his way through consolation competition. To get into the medal round, McAllister won a 4-2 decision over Keagan Thompson of Laurel. In the semis, he was pinned and lost by fall to Luke Huffaker of Beaverhead County-Dillon in the match for fifth place.

“They both overcame a bit of adversity on Friday, and were having to come back Saturday morning to try to stay alive. “With their backs to the wall they competed hard,” Kramer said. “That was nice to see.”

With two more years to compete in high school, Kramer looks for Bartel and McAllister to be team leader going into the 2019-20 season.

POLSON WRESTLER RESULTS

103

Gavin Knutson (20-15) scored 3.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Devon O`Neill (Billings Central) 32-23 won by fall over Gavin Knutson (Polson) 20-15 (Fall 3:15)

• Cons. Round 1 - Gavin Knutson (Polson) 20-15 won by fall over Christian Lassey (Sidney / Fairview) 16-29 (Fall 0:34)

• Cons. Round 2 - Nathan Sproul (Whitefish) 34-14 won by fall over Gavin Knutson (Polson) 20-15 (Fall 2:45)

113

Rene Pierre (25-7) placed 3rd and scored 23.5 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Rene Pierre (Polson) 25-7 won by tech fall over Jonathan Herr (Laurel) 18-24 (TF-1.5 4:11 (15-0))

• Quarterfinal - Eli Warner (Frenchtown) 39-10 won by decision over Rene Pierre (Polson) 25-7 (Dec 3-1)

• Cons. Round 2 - Rene Pierre (Polson) 25-7 won by fall over Carter Moran (Whitefish) 18-19 (Fall 0:44)

• Cons. Round 3 - Rene Pierre (Polson) 25-7 won by fall over Jackson Carson (Whitefish) 20-17 (Fall 0:55)

• Cons. Semi - Rene Pierre (Polson) 25-7 won by fall over Braxton Scheeler (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 43-9 (Fall 2:22)

• 3rd Place Match - Rene Pierre (Polson) 25-7 won by fall over Eli Warner (Frenchtown) 39-10 (Fall 1:56)

120

Kellen Norman (4-5) scored 4.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Cameron Pleninger (Havre) 40-10 won by fall over Kellen Norman (Polson) 4-5 (Fall 0:51)

• Cons. Round 1 - Kellen Norman (Polson) 4-5 won by forfeit over Nicholai Blanchard (Frenchtown) 0-2 (For.)

• Cons. Round 2 - Kellen Norman (Polson) 4-5 won by decision over Dean Kellogg (Whitefish) 29-16 (Dec 6-3)

• Cons. Round 3 - Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 won by decision over Kellen Norman (Polson) 4-5 (Dec 5-4)

120

Kedrick Baker (19-8) placed 5th and scored 12.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 won by fall over Vince Dichos (Billings Central) 27-24 (Fall 1:57)

• Quarterfinal - Jordan Darby (Sidney / Fairview) 44-13 won by tech fall over Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 (TF-1.5 5:43 (17-2))

• Cons. Round 2 - Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 won by major decision over Alex Derbyshire (Billings Central) 31-26 (MD 14-2)

• Cons. Round 3 - Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 won by decision over Kellen Norman (Polson) 4-5 (Dec 5-4)

• Cons. Semi - Buddy Doolin (Libby / Troy) 41-12 won by decision over Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 (Dec 6-3)

• 5th Place Match - Kedrick Baker (Polson) 19-8 won by decision over Jimmy Schmitt (Corvallis) 28-17 (Dec 8-4)

126

Maysn Cowell (26-13) scored 2.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Keagan Thompson (Laurel) 33-19 won in sudden victory - 1 over Maysn Cowell (Polson) 26-13 (SV-1 7-5)

• Cons. Round 1 - Maysn Cowell (Polson) 26-13 won by decision over Tyren Stidham (Polson) 12-11 (Dec 6-4)

• Cons. Round 2 - Maysn Cowell (Polson) 26-13 won by decision over Dominic Perkins (Havre) 17-20 (Dec 9-3)

• Cons. Round 3 - Everett Jensen (Sidney / Fairview) 44-13 won by tech fall over Maysn Cowell (Polson) 26-13 (TF-1.5 3:00 (16-0))

126

Tyren Stidham (12-11) scored 0.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Cooper Birdwell (Fergus (Lewistown)) 51-0 won by fall over Tyren Stidham (Polson) 12-11 (Fall 3:11)

• Cons. Round 1 - Maysn Cowell (Polson) 26-13 won by decision over Tyren Stidham (Polson) 12-11 (Dec 6-4)

132

Jarod Farrier (18-15) scored 4.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Cody Todd (Billings Central) 29-17 won by fall over Jarod Farrier (Polson) 18-15 (Fall 4:22)

• Cons. Round 1 - Jarod Farrier (Polson) 18-15 won by fall over Caden McCord (Fergus (Lewistown)) 6-23 (Fall 0:40)

• Cons. Round 2 - Jarod Farrier (Polson) 18-15 won by decision over Aden Rogge (Park (Livingston)) 18-24 (Dec 5-2)

• Cons. Round 3 - Carter Brown (Corvallis) 41-15 won by fall over Jarod Farrier (Polson) 18-15 (Fall 2:39)

145

Caleb Pierre (17-16) scored 3.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Orion Thivierge (Havre) 28-16 won by tech fall over Caleb Pierre (Polson) 17-16 (TF-1.5 5:13 (18-2))

• Cons. Round 1 - Caleb Pierre (Polson) 17-16 won by fall over Dalton Tvedt (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 29-23 (Fall 1:20)

• Cons. Round 2 - Chance Kittson (Browning) 32-12 won by fall over Caleb Pierre (Polson) 17-16 (Fall 4:39)

152

Bridger Wenzel (27-5) placed 2nd and scored 22.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Bridger Wenzel (Polson) 27-5 won by fall over Memphis Burgess (Park (Livingston)) 2-18 (Fall 0:20)

• Quarterfinal - Bridger Wenzel (Polson) 27-5 won by fall over Caleb Hill (Laurel) 14-11 (Fall 1:16)

• Semifinal - Bridger Wenzel (Polson) 27-5 won by decision over Connor Harris (Havre) 46-5 (Dec 3-2)

• 1st Place Match - John Mears (Belgrade) 35-4 won by decision over Bridger Wenzel (Polson) 27-5 (Dec 5-0)

160

Kaleb Unger (3-5) scored 3.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Riley Waters (Sidney / Fairview) 44-9 won by fall over Kaleb Unger (Polson) 3-5 (Fall 2:51)

• Cons. Round 1 - Kaleb Unger (Polson) 3-5 won by fall over Keevyn Alexander (Laurel) 23-29 (Fall 2:31)

• Cons. Round 2 - Tucker Masters (Libby / Troy) 38-19 won by fall over Kaleb Unger (Polson) 3-5 (Fall 3:41)

160

Garrett Croft (17-15) scored 3.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Duane Otto II (Fergus (Lewistown)) 37-14 won by fall over Garrett Croft (Polson) 17-15 (Fall 3:59)

• Cons. Round 1 - Garrett Croft (Polson) 17-15 won by fall over Gabe Linn (Belgrade) 9-19 (Fall 1:14)

• Cons. Round 2 - Conner Schwend (Hardin) 36-14 won by fall over Garrett Croft (Polson) 17-15 (Fall 4:04)

170

Hunter Fritsch (25-1) placed 1st and scored 26.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Hunter Fritsch (Polson) 25-1 won by fall over Junior Cady (Fergus (Lewistown)) 16-20 (Fall 1:50)

• Quarterfinal - Hunter Fritsch (Polson) 25-1 won by fall over Liam Pauley (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 15-8 (Fall 1:23)

• Semifinal - Hunter Fritsch (Polson) 25-1 won in sudden victory - 1 over Trevor Dean (Sidney / Fairview) 34-14 (SV-1 3-1)

• 1st Place Match - Hunter Fritsch (Polson) 25-1 won by decision over Nelson Crisafulli (Dawson Co. (Glendive)) 17-2 (Dec 3-0)

182

Logan Adler (21-10) placed 6th and scored 13.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Logan Adler (Polson) 21-10 won by fall over Brayden Stadell (Havre) 18-20 (Fall 1:10)

• Quarterfinal - Cameron Younger (Laurel) 39-8 won by fall over Logan Adler (Polson) 21-10 (Fall 1:02)

• Cons. Round 2 - Logan Adler (Polson) 21-10 won by fall over Dante Pallone (Hardin) 24-20 (Fall 0:25)

• Cons. Round 3 - Logan Adler (Polson) 21-10 won by fall over Xaden Cunningham (Belgrade) 25-16 (Fall 1:58)

• Cons. Semi - Landon Farrar (Fergus (Lewistown)) 11-6 won by fall over Logan Adler (Polson) 21-10 (Fall 1:50)

• 5th Place Match - Tate Jones (Frenchtown) 41-12 won by fall over Logan Adler (Polson) 21-10 (Fall 2:31)

205

Aaron O`Roake (17-15) scored 3.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Ryan Wyman (Sidney / Fairview) 38-18 won by fall over Aaron O`Roake (Polson) 17-15 (Fall 0:56)

• Cons. Round 1 - Aaron O`Roake (Polson) 17-15 won by fall over Ashton Akey (Whitefish) 6-33 (Fall 1:15)

• Cons. Round 2 - Jayden Salios (Browning) 25-8 won by fall over Aaron O`Roake (Polson) 17-15 (Fall 3:47)

285

Jasper Drake (15-15) scored 7.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Jasper Drake (Polson) 15-15 won by fall over Mason Jacobsen (Belgrade) 14-14 (Fall 3:07)

• Quarterfinal - Keegan Mires (Dawson Co. (Glendive)) 17-1 won by fall over Jasper Drake (Polson) 15-15 (Fall 0:33)

• Cons. Round 2 - Jasper Drake (Polson) 15-15 won by fall over Gabe Walker (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 23-25 (Fall 0:48)

• Cons. Round 3 - Archie Swift (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 21-9 won by fall over Jasper Drake (Polson) 15-15 (Fall 0:33)

RONAN WRESTLER RESULTS

103

Trevor Bartel (7-6) placed 6th and scored 12.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Trevor Bartel (Ronan) 7-6 won by fall over Devon Isaacson (Laurel) 18-18 (Fall 3:40)

• Quarterfinal - Mick Chagnon (Havre) 35-4 won by fall over Trevor Bartel (Ronan) 7-6 (Fall 0:12)

• Cons. Round 2 - Trevor Bartel (Ronan) 7-6 won by fall over Brendan Pinter (Laurel) 20-20 (Fall 2:18)

• Cons. Round 3 - Trevor Bartel (Ronan) 7-6 won by major decision over Andrew Carmody (Hamilton / Darby) 15-17 (MD 11-2)

• Cons. Semi - Riley Pleninger (Havre) 24-14 won by fall over Trevor Bartel (Ronan) 7-6 (Fall 0:49)

• 5th Place Match - Nathan Sproul (Whitefish) 34-14 won by decision over Trevor Bartel (Ronan) 7-6 (Dec 6-2)

126

Julian Strait (5-9) scored 0.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Everett Jensen (Sidney / Fairview) 44-13 won by fall over Julian Strait (Ronan) 5-9 (Fall 1:09)

• Cons. Round 1 - Noah Cooke (Whitefish) 16-29 won by major decision over Julian Strait (Ronan) 5-9 (MD 12-1)

126

Trapper McAllister (18-10) placed 6th and scored 11.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Trapper McAllister (Ronan) 18-10 won by fall over Jake Murnion (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 25-18 (Fall 3:17)

• Quarterfinal - Luke Huffaker (Beaverhead Co. (Dillon) / Twin Bridges / Sheridan) 35-15 won by fall over Trapper McAllister (Ronan) 18-10 (Fall 3:29)

• Cons. Round 2 - Trapper McAllister (Ronan) 18-10 won by fall over Noah Cooke (Whitefish) 16-29 (Fall 2:13)

• Cons. Round 3 - Trapper McAllister (Ronan) 18-10 won by decision over Keagan Thompson (Laurel) 33-19 (Dec 4-2)

• Cons. Semi - Dante Venema (Corvallis) 43-6 won by fall over Trapper McAllister (Ronan) 18-10 (Fall 2:20)

• 5th Place Match - Luke Huffaker (Beaverhead Co. (Dillon) / Twin Bridges / Sheridan) 35-15 won by fall over Trapper McAllister (Ronan) 18-10 (Fall 3:49)

170

Jamison Webster (9-16) scored 0.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Nelson Crisafulli (Dawson Co. (Glendive)) 17-2 won by fall over Jamison Webster (Ronan) 9-16 (Fall 2:22)

• Cons. Round 1 - Jake Houlihan (Frenchtown) 17-22 won by fall over Jamison Webster (Ronan) 9-16 (Fall 2:34)

182

Jesse LittleBoy (3-10) scored 0.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Jett Jones (Sidney / Fairview) 51-3 won by fall over Jesse LittleBoy (Ronan) 3-10 (Fall 2:19)

• Cons. Round 1 - Colten Steen (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 22-20 won by fall over Jesse LittleBoy (Ronan) 3-10 (Fall 4:57)

205

Justin Mays (22-8) placed 4th and scored 16.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Justin Mays (Ronan) 22-8 won by fall over Codell McNiven (Laurel) 11-34 (Fall 0:42)

• Quarterfinal - Justin Mays (Ronan) 22-8 won by fall over Jesse Murdock (Hardin) 31-20 (Fall 5:19)

• Semifinal - Austin Ratliff (Havre) 36-6 won by decision over Justin Mays (Ronan) 22-8 (Dec 4-2)

• Cons. Semi - Justin Mays (Ronan) 22-8 won in sudden victory - 1 over Tyler Harms (Custer Co. (Miles City)) 43-9 (SV-1 3-1)

• 3rd Place Match - Jakob Freeman (Columbia Falls) 46-10 won by decision over Justin Mays (Ronan) 22-8 (Dec 8-3)

205

Persephone Sandoval (5-8) scored 0.0 team points.

• Champ. Round 1 - Shane Gibson (Park (Livingston)) 45-1 won by fall over Persephone Sandoval (Ronan) 5-8 (Fall 0:58)

• Cons. Round 1 - Preston Hales (Beaverhead Co. (Dillon) / Twin Bridges / Sheridan) 25-18 won by fall over Persephone Sandoval (Ronan) 5-8 (Fall 0:26)

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