Ten years from now at their class reunion, members of this year's Glendive wrestling team will be able to stroll over to the Dawson County High School trophy case and recall a historic moment.
Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark, the Glendive team did what no other Red Devils outfit had when it claimed the school's first-ever state trophy in the sport with a third-place finish. Havre won the Class A championship with 257.5 points, Columbia Falls was second at 131 and Glendive third at 125.
Wrestling was first offered as a high school sport in Glendive during the 1957-58 season said longtime Red Devils coach Tim Zody. The Red Devils have had good teams over the years, finishing fourth in 2011, fifth in 2013, sixth in 2012 and sixth in 2010. From 1988 to 1994, Glendive finished in the top nine every year. So, when the team was awarded its third-place trophy on the Metra floor Saturday night, it was a pretty special time.
"I told those kids during the season and took them over to the trophies we have there from divisionals," said Zody, 67, who has been head coach at Glendive for 37 years. "I said, 'First at divisionals we need to get a trophy,' and we got third there. I said, 'You guys are going to come back to this school for your 10-year reunion, 20-year reunion and 30-year reunion and you'll see your name up here on a state trophy. Not a a lot of people can do that. You'll get your name up on that wall.' "
For Zody, the state trophy is especially meaningful. He is a Glendive native and wrestled for the Red Devils, graduating in 1968. He placed third at 112 pounds in the state tournament as a senior. He was a teacher for 38 years in Glendive before retiring in 2012. Prior to becoming head coach, Zody served as an assistant for the Red Devils.
"I've spent over half of my lifetime in that building," he said of Dawson County High School.
Of the Red Devils close calls at placing in the top three at the turn of the decade, he said: "You want to bring home a state trophy and bring home a state championship if you can. We've been really close a couple times. From 2010 to 2013, we had a really good class come through there. We had 17 freshmen come out for wrestling and had some really good kids. It just seemed like one thing or another, we came up short a couple of times. ... We were always right there, but could never quite bring one home. That's always been my goal was to get us at least one state trophy."
This year's Red Devils were a true team. Out of the 10 state qualifiers, seven were state placers. All 10 won matches at the tournament and Zody said the team picked up bonus-point wins when needed.
The team's state placers were: Travis Kinn, 132, 4th; Ben Stortz, 138, 3rd; Brandon Held, 145, 6th; Brandt Ackerman, 152, 5th; Tyler Clapp, 160, 3rd; Nelson Crisafulli, 170, 3rd and Eli Marley, 285, 6th.
"It was definitely a team effort. Those guys pulled it together," said Zody, noting the school will have a pep assembly Friday where the Red Devils will be honored.
Zody gave credit to his assistant coaches. Shawn Tennant and his sons Garrett Tennant and Dillon Tennant are all assistants on the team and all wrestled for Zody's Red Devils.
The future looks bright in Glendive as only four of this year's 15 team members will graduate. And while some would say Zody could walk away with a storybook ending, the Red Devils may be able to add another chapter to the book next season.
"I'll probably have to stay another year with all these kids coming back and see if we can get another one," Zody said. "Maybe we'll try and make another run at it and get another trophy if we can."