Kalispell pins back-to-back Jug Beck titles
By NICK LOCKRIDGE of the Missoulian
The Kalispell wrestlers didn't do much talking this weekend - they usually never do - but the team sure spoke volumes at the 30th annual Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic.
The Braves placed 13 out of their 15 wrestlers and stormed to a second consecutive win at the prestigious two-day meet.
“We're very surprised, very pleasantly surprised,” Kalispell coach Jeff Thompson said. “We expected it to be a dogfight. We didn't expect to run away with it, but for this team it's nice.
“It kind of gives us a little bit of bragging rights around the state, show that maybe we can compete with any team in the state. We've arrived.”
The Braves, ranked No. 1 in Class AA, scored 268 points and won their third Rocky title in four years, despite winning just one of three individual championship bouts.
“It feels great,” said Kalispell junior Brian Ham. “We have a lot of young guys that just keep coming up and working hard and filling in big places for us and that's what it takes.”
The Classic was not as close as many had hoped, especially given the addition of three new teams, including Havre. The Blue Ponies beat the Braves in the season-opening Mining City Duals.
“This really shows that this team has really improved,” said Thompson, whose squad is also the defending State AA champ. “Maybe we're making bigger steps than other teams around the state, but we're very happy with where we're at. We have to continue to improve though and focus on that state tournament.”
Havre (216) was second in its first Rocky appearance and Great Falls Russell (190) was third. The Blue Ponies went 4-for-4 in the finals, led by senior 189-pounder Evan Hinebauch, who was voted the meet's most outstanding wrestler.
Great Falls High put four wrestlers in the finals and won three of them. Butte also put four in the finals, but won just one individual title. The Bison (170) and Bulldogs (167fi) rounded out the top five.
Frenchtown, which had two champions, was the only other school to have more than one winner. The Broncs (119fi) finished ninth.
Havre's other winners were Chris Recio (98 pounds), Beau LaSalle (130) and heavyweight Matt Schnittgen. Hinebauch, who improved to 32-0, and Schnittgen, 31-0, were just a few of the wrestlers to extend their unbeaten seasons.
“We did fine,” said Havre coach Scott Filius. “It's a nice tournament. The kids that did well, did well. We had some kids that didn't do real well - kids that had the ability, but left it somewhere in the gym. That happens.”
Polson's Ted Morigeau earned the quick pin award. He had four pins in a combined 10 minutes, 14 seconds en route to the 160-pound championship. In the finals, Morigeau stuck Sentinel's Austin Lord in 1:31.
“He's pretty much a badass,” said Lord.
Kalispell's Brian Ham was in line for the quick pin award, but couldn't get a fourth pin in the championship. The two-time Rocky champ beat Seth Clary of Ronan 12-1.
“A win's a win,” Ham said. “We always try to pin, but I came out on top and we did our best. That's all the team can ask for.”
Ham was third a year ago after winning a RMC title as a freshman in 2005.
“Brian Ham wrestled the tournament of his life,” said Thompson. “He's on fire right now.”
Brian Owen of University High in Spokane was another former Rocky champ that won. Owen, who sat out 2005 with a back injury beat Great Falls' Zach Mendenhall 7-1 for the 125-pound title. Ham and Owen wrestled in two of the toughest weight classes at the tourney.
Butte's Nick Haynes (152) defended his Rocky title with a major decision over Ken Swift of Bonners Ferry. Frenchtown's Josh Stedman (112) was the other defending champ to win. Only two of the six returning RMC champs repeated.
“We did pretty good,” said Stedman, who saw one of his teammates, Chad Hansen, lose in his RMC defense. “We could have done better. Some of our top people got put out.”
Stedman was joined by teammate Nick Weller (215) on the first-place stand. Weller made the finals when Libby's Jake Graham, a defending RMC champ and '05 state champ, had to forfeit in the semis because of illness. He was 22-0 before that.
The most surprising win of the tourney goes to Missoula Big Sky's Don Widdicombe, who entered as an unseeded wrestler at 145 pounds and wound up beating Kalispell's Bryce Stacey 6-4. It was the third seeded wrestler he'd beaten at the meet.
“I'm speechless,” Widdicombe said. “I don't know what to say. I'm just so happy.”
The other RMC winners to stay unbeaten included Coeur d'Alene's Braden Mowry (105), who improved to 25-0, and Great Falls' Ty Vinson (171), who is 26-0. Zach Gregoire (135) and Bobby Vinson (140) also won for the Bison.
Reporter Nick Lockridge can be reached at 523-5298 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic
At Sentinel High School
Team scores (Abbreviations in parentheses) - Kalispell (Kal) 268; Havre (Hav) 216; C.M. Russell (CMR) 190; Great Falls High (GFH) 170; Butte (But) 167fi; Central Valley, Spokane, Wash., (CV) 137; Ronan (Ron) 128; University High, Spokane, Wash., (UHi) 120; Frenchtown (Ftn) 119fi; Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, (CDA) 102fi; Polson (Pol) 101; Sentinel (Sent) 99; Corvalis (Cor) 98fi; Hamilton (Ham) 81l; Big Sky (BS) 76; Anaconda (Ana) 60fi; Columbia Falls (CF) 59; Bonners Ferry, Idaho, (BF) 55fi; Libby (Lib) 52; Mead, Spokane, Wash., (Med) 45; Clarkston, Wash., (Clk) 33; Whitefish (Wf) 32; Hellgate (Hgt) 26; Ferris, Spokane, Wash., (Fer) 25; Superior (Sup) 14.
Finals - Chris Recio, Hav, dec. Shawn Lau, Kal, 7-3.
Semifinals - Recio, Hav, tech fall Tyler Stedman, Ftn, 19-3; Lau, Kal, dec. Cameron Neiss, Ron, 7-3
Third-fourth place - Mike Budeski, CMR, dec. Justin Rowlings, But, 8-2.
Fifth-sixth place - Neiss, Ron, pinned Stedman, 2:32.
Finals - Braden Mowry, CDA, dec. West, CMR, 10-6.
Semifinals - West, CMR, dec. Chad Hansen, Ftn, 4-3; Mowry, CDA, dec. Ryan Shelstad, Hav, 5-0.
Third-fourth place - Shelstad, Hav, dec. Hansen, 5-3.
Fifth-sixth place - Dan Jenkins, Kal, pinned Zach Robinson, Ron, 4:23.
Finals - Josh Stedman, Ftn, dec. Jake Love, Sent, 10-5.
Semifinals - Stedman, Ftn, maj. dec. Kelly Olds, CMR, 10-0; Love, Sent, dec. Tyson Noyes, Ron, 7-1.
Third-fourth place - Tanner Teeples, CV, maj. dec. Tanner Beaman, Kal, 14-2.
Fifth-sixth place - Olds, pinned Noyes, Ron, 4:32.
Finals - Brian Ham, Kal, major dec. Seth Clary, Ron, 12-1.
Semifinals - Ham, Kal, pinned Dustin Hanson, Ana, 1:22; Clary, Ron, dec. Kyle Richie, Sent, 5-1.
Third-fourth place - Hanson, Ana, dec. Mitch Rohrback, CMR, 10-5.
Fifth-sixth place - Kevin Kaltschmidt, Wf, injury default over Kyle Richie, Sent.
Finals - Brian Owen, UHi, dec. Zach Mendenhall, GF, 7-1.
Semifinals - Mendenhall, dec. Nash Hallfrisch, CMR, 3-0; Owen, UHi, pinned Micky Cheff, Ron, 5:59.
Third-fourth place - Hallfrisch, CMR, dec. Myles Mazurkiewicz, Hav, 6-1.
Fifth-sixth place - Ricky Janes, Kal, dec. Cheff, 4-2.
Finals - Beau LaSalle, Hav, dec. Landon DellaSilva, Cor, 9-5.
Semifinals - LaSalle, Hav, tech. fall Jeremy Savage, CV, 18-3; DellaSilva, Cor, pinned Trenton Starkey, CMR, 4:48.
Third-fourth place - Cody Kolodejchuk, CF, dec. Austin Zapata, 4-3.
Fifth-sixth place - Starkey, CMR, maj. dec. Savage, CV, 13-2.
Finals - Zach Gregoire, GF, dec. Logan Torgison, Pol, 3-1.
Semifinals - Torgison, Pol, dec. TC Decker, Kal, 5-1; Gregoire, GFH, dec. Jeff Croskrey, CV, 15-10.
Third-fourth place - Isaak Lawlor, CDA, pinned Decker, 2:17.
Fifth-sixth place - David Love, Ham, dec. Croskrey, CV, 8-5.
Finals - Bobby Vinson, GFH, dec. TJ Renz, But, 2-1.
Semifinals - Renz, But, pinned Matt Roberts, Lib, 1:20; Vinson, GFH, dec. Michael Hader, CF, 7-6.
Third-fourth place - Hader, CF, dec. Elliott Nay, UHi, 2-0.
Fifth-sixth place - Kyle Flood, CMR, dec. Roberts, Lib, 5-3.
Finals - Don Widdicombe, BS, dec. Bryce Stacy, Kal, 6-4.
Semifinals - Stacy, dec. Taylor Nagel, Cor, 3-0; Widdicombe, BS, dec. Spencer Bailey, CMR, 4-0.
Third-fourth place - Nagel, Cor, dec. Bailey, CMR, 1-0.
Fifth-sixth place - Ethan Hinebauch, Hav, pinned Thomas Kissell, But, 1:33.
Finals - Nick Haynes, But, major dec. Ken Swift, BF, 15-2.
Semifinals - Haynes, But, pinned Maxx Galland, GFH, 5:52; Swift, major dec. Tyler Wells, Kal, 16-4.
Third-fourth place - Wells, Kal, dec. Galland, GFH, 7-5.
Fifth-sixth place - Jesse Nielsen, CDA, tech. fall Marcus Lussy, Ana, 15-0.
Finals - Ted Morigeau, Pol, pinned Austin Lord, Sent, 1:31.
Semifinals - Morigeau, Pol, pinned Dan Jordan, UHi, 1:45; Lord, Sent, dec. Brock Anderson, Ham, 9-2.
Third-fourth place - Anderson, Ham, pinned, Jordan, UHi, 4:30.
Fifth-sixth place - David Lau, Kal, injury default over Steve Bertelsen, Lib.
Finals - Ty Vinson, GFH, injury default over Beau Baltezar, But.
Semifinals - Baltazar, But, pinned Bryce Picard, :55; Vinson, GFH, dec. Tyler Espinosa, Ron, 9-6.
Third-fourth place - Picard, Pol, dec. Luke Fischer, Kal, 3-2.
Fifth-sixth place - Espinosa, Ron, dec. Greg Mitchell, 7-2.
Finals - Evan Hinebauch, Hav, pinned, Jared Rohrback, CMR, 5:56.
Semifinals - Hinebauch, Hav, pinned Brady Anderson, Ham, 5:06; Rohrback, CMR, tech. fall Steve Hystad, GFH, 17-2.
Third-fourth place - Jake Neumann, CV, dec. Drew Watkins, Kal, 5-1.
Fifth-sixth place - Anderson, Ham, dec. Hystad, GFH, 6-2.
Finals - Nick Weller, Ftn, dec. Tyler Cochran, CV, 4-3.
Semifinals - Weller, Ftn, illness default over Jake Graham, Lib; Cochran, CV, dec. Zach Deffinbaugh, GFH, 5-2.
Third-fourth place - Deffinbaugh, GFH, pinned Billy McGlasson, UHi, 4:11.
Fifth-sixth place - Chris Buskirk, Hav, illness default over Graham, Lib.
Finals - Matt Schnittgen, Hav, dec. Trevor Hass, But, 3-1.
Semifinals - Hass, But, pinned Joe Tobol, Hgt, 1:02; Schnittgen, Hav, pinned Dan Gadley, CV, 1:59.
Third-fourth place - Gadley, CV, pinned Tyler Thomas, Kal, 1:34.
Fifth-sixth place - Andrew Voorhees, CMR, pinned Tobol, Hgt, 1:41.