The Junior High Wrestling Team finished their season this past Saturday competing in the Northern-Southern Divisional Tournament in Fort Benton. The team sent seven of their finest young men to the tournament to vie for the title of champion.
At the end of the day, five wrestlers found themselves a little heavier due to the hardware they earned. The young Coyote team tied for eighth place with Cascade.
The first Coyote to grace the podium was first year wrestler, Tanner Tustian. A quick learner and hard worker, Tanner started the season knowing almost nothing about the sport but soon found himself winning matches in the latter half of the season. As Tanner would say it, “I was just getting tired of losing.” Tanner, the number four seed at 120lbs, definitely turned some heads by defeating David Sharp of Browning by decision 8-2 in the first round of the tournament. In the quarterfinals, Tustian would square off with the number one seed Ty Curry of Valier. In this case, experience would prevail with Curry winning by fall and would eventually win the 120lb weight class. Tanner received a bye to the consolation finals to face Brennyn Running Crane also of Browning. In a back and forth match, Tustian lost the match in the final seconds by decision 10-9 giving him 4th place for the tournament.
At 125lbs, it was a tale of two wrestlers. Rowdy White would receive the number two seed and Aidan Torgerson, unseeded, would find himself at the opposite side of the bracket. Torgerson, also a first year wrestler, was paired with the number one seed Austin Vanek of Cut Bank in the first round. Despite a valiant effort, Aidan would succumb and lose by fall in 1:02. White’s story had a different ending defeating James Jury of Choteau by fall in :18. White would continue his rein of terror pinning the number three seed Jake Justesen, also of Cut Bank, by fall in :36 placing him in the championship match. Torgerson would prove that he wasn’t going home early and promptly defeated Jake Justesen by fall in 2:10 in the consolation semifinal round. With both ends of the gym filled up by Coyotes at 125lbs, Torgerson would faceoff with James Jury of Choteau and White would face Austin Vanek of Cut Bank. Going the distance, Torgerson would win the 3rd place crown by major decision 15-2. The only two losses that Rowdy recorded this season came at the hands of Vanek. Despite leaving it all on the mat, White would find himself on the second place ledge losing by fall in 4:20.
At 130lbs, Sahkaia Wehr would receive the second seed spot. After a first round bye, Wehr would face Peter Johnson of Simms. Setting his sights for the finals, Wehr would win by fall in 4:18. In the semifinal match, Sahkaia hit a major hurdle with Brock Barcus of Valier. Wehr started off slow but a series of interlocking technical points and a commanding takedown, Wehr tied the match sending it into overtime. In sudden victory, Barcus would get the takedown and ultimately the win. Undetered, Wehr would battle back and defeat Ryley Reevis of Browning by fall in 2:42 placing him in the consolation final against Miguel Perez of Fairfield. Making quick work of Perez, Sahkaia would win by fall in 2:13 giving him 3rd place for the tournament.
The only 8th grader for the Coyotes, the number four seed, Matthew Riehl was all business at 150lbs. Despite an early round loss by fall to Blake Jensen of Fairfield, Riehl would pin his way to the consolation final by defeating Shawn Prociv of De La Salle in :18 and Kolby Daniels of Cut Bank in 4:00. Matthew would faceoff with the number three seed Peyton Vaughn of Conrad in the consolation final. Starting off with a quick takedown, Riehl would take command of the match early. It looked as if Riehl would get the fall in the first period but Vaughn would fight off the onslaught and score a few points of his own. At the beginning of the second period it was all Riehl. He would go on to pin his opponent in 1:58 giving him 3rd place for the tournament.
The season had its ups and downs due to injury and other uncontrollable factors but the Shelby Wrestling Program looks to be in good hands for the future. The kids plan to work hard in the offseason starting with a summer wrestling camp and outdoor mixer on June 8-9th in the Shelby High School gym and football field. The camp will feature head coach Caleb Schaeffer of the Great Falls University and many of his standout wrestlers. In addition to summer camp, the weight room will be open and there will be open mats to attend to prepare for next season.