Twenty years is a long time to wait. For Colstrip, it was worth it.
The Colts rode their momentum at the state wrestling tournament, running away with the Class B-C title Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Colstrip amassed 224 points, beating second-place Choteau and third-place Forsyth by huge margins.
With four individual champions, including three-time winners Gage Currier at 120 pounds and Tucker Yates at heavyweight, the Colts won their first team championship since 1994.
Colstrip coach Codey Currier was a wrestler on that ’94 title team, back when the school was in Class A. He placed second that year at 105 pounds. Currier said the formula for winning a championship hasn’t changed in two decades.
It’s still about preparedness and performance.
“We had a great weekend. Everything clicked,” Currier said. “We just figured we had to wrestle each match as hard as we could. If we did that we’d be fine. But we ended up winning some matches maybe we shouldn’t have.”
Yates won his third individual crown with a pin of Malta’s Kelin King in 46 seconds. King was in the process of taking Yates to the mat, but Yates rolled on top to secure the win. Yates advanced to the finals with a key semifinal pin of Plains’ Ben Gorham.
Despite a partially torn left pectoral muscle — and a banged-up knee suffered Friday — Yates was the leader of Colstrip’s run to the title.
“Third state title, senior year … I was definitely nervous,” said Yates, a future Montana State football player. “But it all worked out great.
“This is the best tournament we’ve ever wrestled in I don’t know how long. Twenty years probably. Going into this year I knew we’d have a chance, but this is unbelievable.”
Lane Bradley at 98 pounds and Clayton Currier at 113 also captured titles for the Colts.
Second-place Choteau finished with 169 points, 55 fewer than Colstrip. Jake French was the Bulldogs’ lone individual champion at 195 pounds.
Forsyth, the three-time reigning team champ looking to become just the third four-time winner in B-C history, came in third with 151 points. But their four returning titlists all came away with first-place medals.
Brothers Matt Weber (126 pounds) and Luke Weber (145 pounds), along with Chris Nile (160) finished the season unbeaten. Their combined record? 169-0. Matt Weber, a junior, won his third straight individual crown. As did brother Brandon Weber at 152 pounds.
Nile took home the B-C quick pin award. Nile had four pins over the weekend totaling 8 minutes, 6 seconds.
“Even being a three-timer right now feels amazing,” Matt Weber said. “But I bet that fourth one feels even more incredible.”
Rico Stormer became Circle’s first champion with a 5-0 decision over returning champion J.J. Werdal of Choteau. Stormer’s previous title bids stalled in the semifinals in each of the past two years.
Stormer, who said he was accepted into Harvard last week to study mechanical engineering, emerged from a tiny town and from a program with just two other wrestlers to become a champion.
“It was like breaking a curse,” Stormer said. “I’m pretty proud. I feel good for my town.”
Other champions included Wolf Point 106-pounder Maestro Martinez, who shook off last season’s disappointment to become a three-time winner.
Plains’ Russel Kujala stopped Harlem’s Teague Jones 7-4 in the 132-pound finals. Jones, a senior, was bidding to win his second title, but the first since his freshman year.
Harlem’s Seth Adams won the 220-pound title, and St. Ignatius 170-pounder Jacen Petersen captured his second straight crown. Petersen won it at 171 last year.