After the conclusion of Saturday's wrestling action at Billings Skyview, one thing is for sure. The top-ranked Falcons are ready for the AA Duals Meet Saturday in Great Falls at the Bison Fieldhouse.
The Falcons ran their duals record to 21-2 with resounding wins over the Helena schools. The Billings Senior Broncs also had a solid day with a sweep of Helena High and Helena Capital and improved to 6-5 in duals.
The AA Duals are a first-year event featuring all 14 AA teams that starts at 10 a.m. It won't be an official MHSA state championship, but the winner will be considered the top AA duals team in the state.
"We are excited about the AA Duals," Skyview coach Rich Malia said. "We were trying to get this for awhile. It's our first shot at it and all the AA coaches are excited about it. It will be a good indicator of what kind of dual team we are. … After that we'll change our focus to being a tournament-type team. That's what the state tournament at Metra is all about."
The Falcons two duals losses were to Class A power Havre in the championship of the prestigious Mining City Duals and the championship round of the Flatwater Fracas in Nebraska. Skyview senior Shawn Rohrer, who registered two pins on the day at 152 pounds, said he is eager to hit the mats in the Electric City.
"I know our team will do great," Rohrer said. "And there will be a lot of good AA matches to get me seeded for the divisional tournament, as well as state."
The Falcons started their day against Capital and posted a 69-6 win. The dual began at 119 pounds with a Capital forfeit and from there the Falcons poured it on, with Cole Kratochvil (125) and Brice Gretch (130) claiming pins for an 18-0 lead.
Skyview then had had three junior varsity wrestlers compete and they all performed well. Jay Laurent (135), Deryk Mann (140) and Ty West (145) all emerged with victories. Mann trailed 4-3 at the beginning of the third, but scored an escape with 1:01 left to knot the contest and then in the final 10 seconds scored a takedown for a 6-4 win.
Skyview 98-pounder Nik Hinebauch, ranked second, also downed third-ranked Alex Markle, 6-0 in the dual.
"I thought the kids looked sharp," Malia said. "We threw some of our JVs in the lineup. It was good for them and us to see what they need to work on."
The third-ranked Rohrer scored his first pin against Capital's Pat Legg with a 10-2 lead in 1:56. Rohrer was up 5-0 when he stuck Helena's Kale Kamerzel in 1:47.
"I just came in with a good attitude and just got it done," Rohrer said. "The team needed the points so I went out there and gave it may all."
Malia was pleased to see junior Carson Hilliard pick up a win at 189 pounds against Helena's Andy Riordan with a pin in 2:32. Hilliard, the state runner-up at 189 last year, is currently unranked. Riordan, ranked fourth, was fifth at 189 at last year's state tourney.
"Riordan beat him last year and he is one of the better kids, so it was good for Carson to get that win," Malia said.
The Broncs got a boost with the return of senior state champion Tucker Sprenkle (135) from an ankle injury.
Sprenkle improved to 6-0 on the season with two wins. He hadn't competed since spraining his ankle during the Mining City Duals. Sprenkle had begun practicing over the Christmas break.
"I felt pretty good," Sprenkle said. "I was surprised how well I did. Coach (Lonnie Robertson) brought me back at the right time. He timed it really well.
"It was awesome. I was so happy to finally be out there and wrestle again. That's what I love to do."
The Broncs scored an exciting 42-40 win over Great Falls Russell last Friday at the Senior gym and Robertson said that may have inspired his bunch as it beat Helena 52-21 and Capital 69-16. Senior will host Billings West Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We are still missing two kids out of our lineup," Robertson said. "We should be at full strength Tuesday and at the AA Duals. I'm crossing my fingers."
Skyview 69, Capital 6
98 - Nik Hinebauch, Sky, d. Alex Markle, 6-0; 105 - Clay Cathey, Sky, won by forfeit; 112 - Sam Shelton, Sky, won by forfeit; 119 - Mike Nguyen, Sky, won by forfeit; 125 - Cole Kratochvil, Sky, p. Jake Boyle, 1:30; 130 - Brice Gretch, Sky, p. Simon Asay, 3:31; 135 - Jay Laurent, Sky, d. Maverick Mansfield, 2-1; 140 - Deryk Mann, Sky, d. Caleb Spangler, 6-4; 145 - Ty West, Sky, d. Kyle Emge 11-1; 152 - Shawn Rohrer, Sky, p. Pat Legg, 1:56; 160 - Mike Edwards, Sky, won by forfeit; 171 - Garrett Bergum, Sky, m.d. Tait Strom, 16-2; 189 - Carson Hilliard, Sky, won by forfeit; 215 - Justin Prevost, Sky, m.d. Nick Alamia, 17-5; Hwt. - Josh Wallis, Cap, p. Decker Roberts, 3:07.
Skyview 66, Helena 12
98 - Nik Hinebauch, Sky, p. Jim Mayer, :29; 105 - Clay Cathey, Sky, p. Wyatt Boyer, :28; 112 - Brennan Barta, Sky, p. Brody Bertagnolli, 1:13; 119 - Mike Nguyen, Sky, won by forfeit; 125 - Niko Guymon, H, d. Cole Kratochvil, 6-1; 130 - Brice Gretch, Sky, m.d. Jarred Maddio, 9-1; 135 - Kooper Bond, Sky, won by forfeit; 140 - Cory Champney, Sky, d. Chance Burrows, 10-4; 145 - Tyler Elm, Sky, t.f. J.T. Street, 16-1; 152 - Shawn Rohrer, Sky, p. Kale Kamerzel, 1:47; 160 - Mike Edwards, Sky, won by forfeit; 171 - Matt Upham, H, d. Garrett Bergum 8-4; 189 - Carson Hilliard, Sky, p. Andy Riordan, 2:32; 215 - Justin Prevost, Sky, won by forfeit; Hwt. - Toby Erickson, Helena, won by forfeit.
Senior 52, Helena 21
98 - C.J. Ness, Senior, p. Jim Mayer, :24; 105 - Cree Minkoff, Senior, p. Wyatt Boyer, 5:23; 112 - Brady Bertagnolli, H, won by forfeit; 119 - Richie Pantoja, Senior, won by forfeit; 125 - Tanner Sprenkle, Senior, m.d. Niko Guymon, 12-3; 130 - Jon Hagstrom, Senior, d. Tyler Christians, 5-3; 135 - Tucker Sprenkle, Senior, m.d. Jarred Maddio, 13-4; 140 - Ben Sulser, Senior, m.d. Chance Burrows, 11-3; 145 - Alec Ziegler, Senior, d. J.T. Street 8-3; 152 - Greg Wyatt, Senior, m.d. Kale Kamerzel, 11-0; 160 - Ron Bray, Senior, won by forfeit; 171 - Matt Upham, Helena, won by forfeit; 189 - Andy Riordan, H, d. Lance Wilkinson, 4-2; 215 - Alejandro Marquez, Senior, won by forfeit; Hwt. - Toby Erickson, H, p. Kasey Smith, :34.
Senior 69, Capital 16
98 - Alex Markle, C, p. C.J. Ness, 3:19; 105 - Cree Minkoff, S, p. Austin Lundin, 1:12; 112 - Ian Collins, Senior, won by forfeit; 119 - Richie Pantoja, Senior, won by forfeit; 125 - Tanner Sprenkle, Senior, p. Jake Boyle, 2:57; 130 - Simon Asay, C, m.d. Jon Hagstrom, 16-2; 135 - Tucker Sprenkle, Senior, p. Maverick Mansfield, 2:13; 140 - Ben Sulser, S, d. Caleb Spangler, 3-0; 145 - Alec Ziegler, Senior, p. Kyle Emge, :44; 152 - Greg Wyatt, Senior, won by forfeit; 160 - Ron Bray, Senior, p. Patt Legg, 3:15; 171 - Tait Strom, C, won by forfeit; 189 - Lance Wilkinson, Senior, won by forfeit; 215 - Alejandro Marquez, Senior, p. Nick Alamia, 2:24; Hwt. - Kasey Smith, Senior, p. Josh Wallis, 1:05.