I may have used the word “nitty-gritty” to begin a post earlier this year, but this week the phrase really rings true.
In wrestling season it seems like it’s always down to the nitty-gritty. Maybe that’s the reason why those who compete in it and follow it enjoy it so much, because there are always tests of team vs. team, man vs. man, power vs. agility and tests of self vs. endurance and strength.
Now is the time of the year where we will really begin to see who is going to emerge from the pack and distance themselves from the rest of race at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in February. But, as Billings Senior coach Lonnie Robertson said when discussing his team’s goals and the upcoming AA Duals Meet: “We want to wrestle well as a team (in Great Falls). But, basically at this time of the year you want the kids to peak toward the end. We don’t want to peak there in Great Falls but at divisionals and state.”
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened over the weekend:
Cowboy Invitational: Six-time defending Wyoming large school team champion Gillette claimed the title 292.5-268 over defending tourney champion and two-time defending Class B-C champion Glasgow. The Camels Tyler Cox, headed to Wyoming next year on a grappling scholarship, continued his goals of winning as many OWs as he can when he was awarded the honor after defeating hometown competitor Kylan Zumpf 20-13 in the finals. … Second-ranked Belgrade also continues to establish itself as a power in Class A after finishing fourth, one spot ahead of traditionally-tough and third-ranked Sidney. This tournament could have been considered a state A preview (although highly-powerful and two-time defending champion Havre was in Missoula) as the fourth-ranked Cowboys of Custer County were eighth. … Colstrip finished sixth in continuing its solid season with two champions, a second, fourth and sixth. Taylor Ramsey (98) and Sam Brown won titles for the Colts. Taylor Charette (171) was second.
Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic: If your eyes weren’t fixated on the 51st annual Cowboy they were peering towards the Garden City, where Flathead won its fourth straight title. The three-time defending state AA champion Braves continue to come on and the question is: ‘Will they will overtake top-ranked Skyview in the coaches poll this week?’ Havre was second with 246 points. The Missoulian reported that Flathead became the first team to win at least four Rocky titles in a row since Butte won six from 1988-93.
Choteau Classic: Conrad had nine placers on its way to the title with 176 points. Cascade-Simms was second with 142 and Townsend third with 134. Both Rauser boys wrestled and wrestled well with Jade capturing the championship at 105 and Valyen at 112 with a pin in 1:03 of Harlem’s Colton Dirden. … Chinook looks to have really tough middleweights as its three champions came in the form of Willie Miller (145), Robert Stroh (152) and Benjamin Stroh (160). Collin Jendro was fifth at 160 for Chinook and Jimmy Miller fifth at 171. Imagine what those wrestling room practices are like.
Billings Skyview/Billings Senior/Helena/Helena Capital Duals: The Falcons and Broncs both swept the competition in impressive outings. Skyview inserted some JVs into the lineup and it worked out pretty well for the Falcons, whose JV squad has won two tourneys competing against others’ varsity. The wrestling Skyview’s JV members are producing should be important for the Falcons’ chances at divisionals and state. Remember, the Falcons JV grapplers got in some serious work at the CMR and Huntley Duals when the Skyview varsity was in Nebraska. … Tucker Sprenkle (135) returned for the Broncs from an ankle injury and likes how his teammates have been performing. “We’ve been improving a lot in the last few weeks,” Sprenkle said. “It is awesome. We are doing phenomenal.”
Upcoming: The highly-anticipated first annual AA Duals are Saturday in Great Falls. After Saturday’s competition both Robertson and Skyview coach Rich Malia were eager to hit the Electric City. Both noted it should be a nice format for wrestling fans as although there will be plenty of action going, fans can track their team and their wrestlers much easier since it will be in a dual format and the whole team will compete on the same mat and get the same breaks. “The Fieldhouse in Great Falls will be a neat place for it the way it is laid out. They will have six or eight mats out. It’s a nice facility and setup well for wrestling,” Malia said. Although many of the teams have met each other this season, expect some different results as that’s just the way it is in wrestling. This is the weekend, though, to crown the AA duals champion. Who will it be? …Laurel hosts Hardin, Glendive and Billings Central Thursday in a mixer. …The Class A Duals tournament is Friday and Saturday in Belgrade. How will this tourney play out?