Fans of all three classes of Montana wrestling have a rooting interest in Tuesday’s triangular at the Billings Skyview gym.
Skyview will host Belgrade, currently ranked fifth in Class A, and Forsyth, the defending state champion and top-ranked team in Class B-C.
Skyview, the No. 2-ranked team in Class AA, will face Belgrade at 3 p.m. Belgrade will tangle with Forsyth at 5 p.m., and Skyview will take on Forsyth in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
Skyview is 8-1 in duals this season. The evening will be Senior Night for the Falcons’ 10 seniors.
“They are two of the best teams in the state, not just in their class but overall,” Skyview coach Rich Malia said of the Panthers and Dogies. “For our kids to wrestle that caliber of club is a great experience for us.”
Fans may have noticed a change in the three Billings public high schools’ schedules this season. That is because the Broncs, Bears and Falcons are facing each other only once in duals this year. That has helped bring in teams like Forsyth, Belgrade and Wyoming schools.
“We made a decision at the beginning of the year to wrestle each other once instead of twice,” Malia said. “It gave us the opportunity to find some other duals. Mark Wahl (School District 2 activities director) was nice enough to let us do it.”
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Also on Tuesday, defending Class A state champion Laurel will host Billings Senior, Billings West and Hardin in a quad beginning at 5:15 p.m.
Laurel is fresh off winning the team title in the Bozeman Invitational, scoring 197.5 points to 178 for second-place Skyview.
“Our goal earlier in the year was to separate ourselves from the other teams in the state,” Laurel coach Ted Hill said. “All those teams didn’t have all their guys. Skyview and Great Falls High were short a couple guys.
“We were still short a guy, but for this weekend we were the best team there. That is an accomplishment. We worked over the Christmas break and kicked it up a notch.”
For Laurel, standout Dylan Kramer was the champion at 171 pounds. It was his first action of the year after “healing from football injuries,” Hill said. Kramer beat Forsyth state champion Daryl Fulton in the semifinals 4-2.
“He (Kramer) is a long ways from where he’ll be at the end of the year,” Hill said. “He had a good tournament and it’s a good way to start. Once he gets a tank of gas, he’ll be” tough.
Hill said an example of improvement for Laurel has been at 98 pounds, where junior Eddy Day is in his first year of wrestling. Before the Christmas break, Day was winless. He has since won four matches.
Laurel wrestlers went 1-4 in the finals Saturday, but Hill said he witnessed improvement in the losses as well.
“For the finalists, it might not have turned out the way they wanted it, but they are closing the distance,” Hill said. “They keep getting better and better and better.”
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Wrestling fans who were tuned in to ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” before Sunday’s NFL playoff games got an extra bonus.
Analyst Cris Carter had a feature with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who lettered in football, baseball and wrestling at James Island High School in South Carolina.
He also won two state wrestling titles. Carter and White’s conversation talked about how wrestling helped his football career.