The Shelby Junior High grapplers took a road trip that will go down in the history books of Coyote Wrestling.
Sixteen of Shelby’s finest participated in the Montana Middle School State Championship wrestling tournament. This was a first for the program and a first for many of the wrestlers to be on such a big stage. The only larger venue in Montana would be the Montana Open held in late March or the MHSA State Championships as a varsity wrestler.
Teams ranging from “homegrown” teams like Shelby, Valier, and Cut Bank to “all-star” or traveling teams such as Sidney’s Eagle Force and Billings’ Darkhorse squads attended the middle school tournament this past weekend in Lewistown. All in all, over 500 wrestlers were in attendance at the annual event divided into thirty-two and sixteen man brackets.
Competition started at 9:00am and continued non-stop until 9:00pm on Saturday. The matches contained 90 second periods for the championship matches and 90/60/60 second periods for the consolation round.
At the end of the tournament, the Shelby Coyotes had reason to celebrate. The team placed thirteenth out of forty-one teams and placed five on the podium. The five Coyotes that took home some hardware include: Rowdy White 145lbs placed 1st, Jacob Kingsolver HWT placed 3rd, Cameron Brusven 130lbs and Sahkaia Wehr 160lbs placed 5th, and Harold Miller 115lbs placed 6th.
Rowdy White, 145lbs, went 3-0 and dominated the competition pinning his way to the finals and ultimately winning by fall in the championship bout. White’s track to becoming a champion included a win by fall over Charlie Desmarais of Big Game in 2:33, win by fall over Ashton Grover of Lewistown in :45 and a pin in the finals over Hayden Allies of Billings Darkhorse in 2:08.
Jacob Kingsolver, HWT, went 4-1 on the day. He pinned Isaac Lauver of Fairfield in :29, won by fall over Daven Hickman of Great Falls North in 2:49, lost to Chase Hold of Huntley Project by decision 4-1, won in overtime sudden victory over Jeremy Gallagher of Cut Bank 4-2, and won by fall over Cole Humphries of Sidney in 1:05.
Cameron Brusven, 130lbs, went 4-2 on the day. He won by decision over Cole Younger of Laurel 4-3, won by major decision over Devin Nelson of Havre 10-2, won by decision over Nathan Romo of Sidney 2-1, lost to Paolo Salminen of Billings Heights by fall in 2:49, lost to Coltin Barnhart of Billings Darkhorse by decision 1-0, and placed 5th by defeating Ryan Cotnair of Great Falls East in a 4-3 decision.
Sahkaia Wehr, 160lbs, went 4-2 on the day. He defeated Hunter Kralj of Great Falls East by fall in 1:17, lost to Peyton Morton of Billings Darkhorse by fall in 2:04, defeated Kolby Daniels of Cut Bank by decision 7-3, won by fall over Caden Crowell of Cascade in 3:14, lost to Paden Vanattan of Forsyth in overtime sudden victory 2-0, and placed 5th by defeating William Loveridge of Huntley Project by fall in 3:13.
Harold Miller, 115lbs, went 3-3 and placed 6th. He started out on fire defeating Chase Blessing of Helena Bruin Wrestling Club by fall in 1:24, pinned Zach Cox of Colstrip in 2:18, and defeated Keighton Johnston of Team Champs by decision 7-5. Miller’s losses came from Riley Richtmyer of Big Game Wrestling Club by fall in 1:51, Mitchell Youngman of Poplar by fall in 2:51, and David Schulze of Simms in the 5th/6th place match by decision 5-1.
Other results from Shelby include: Paolo Manda (70lbs) 0-2, Kyle McDermott (80lbs) 0-2, Caden Laine (85lbs) 0-2, Shaun Salveson (105lbs) 0-2, Will Caffrey (110lbs) 0-2, Evan McCants (125lbs) 1-2, Aidan Torgerson (135lbs) 0-2, Tanner Tustian (140lbs) 1-2, Bryant Mertz (152lbs) 0-2, and William Patterson (189lbs) 0-2. Kyle Welker (140lbs) wrestled in the JV tournament and went 1-2.
Coach Thad White stated that he is extremely happy and proud of our wrestler’s performance at such a big event. Most of our losses were against much bigger schools with well-established wrestling programs. The unique thing is that over half of the state ended their JH season at Lewistown while we are only halfway through ours. Give our kids a few more weeks of wrestling and those losses that were close might have ended up differently. I do like how we match up against the Northern B schools looking to the future. Our lighter weights are young and inexperienced but they are working hard to get better every day. Getting our kids more mat time is the goal leading to our Divisional Championship being held in Conrad on March 17, 2018.
The team would like to thank Mac McDermott and local individuals for contributing funds to the wrestlers so they were able to attend this event. The community is starting to rally behind the wrestling program at Shelby.