Five Shelby Coyote Wrestlers traveled to Billings for the Montana State Wrestling Championship at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark this past weekend. They all wanted to throw their hat in the ring for the chance to be called a Montana State Champion.
Barrett Hansen, the 145 pound Coyote, suffered a setback at the divisional tournament last weekend by injuring his shoulder. Despite an effort to muscle through the injury in the week prior to the state tournament, it would prove to be too much. Hansen had to bow out of the state tournament ending his season with a record of 27-17.
Down to four wrestlers, the Coyotes would send out Alex Stratton, the rookie and freshman 103 pounder, to the mat first. Alex would face Bridger Krumm of Anaconda. Stratton came out firing scoring the first points with a takedown but would eventually lose the bout by fall in :28. In the first round of consolations, Alex was paired with Caden Rhine of Ronan. Despite a rapid start, Stratton would lose by fall in :44 and end his season with a record of 3-23.
Wyatt Brusven, sophomore at 132 lbs, started the tournament off right with a big win over Castor Conley of Bigfork by a major decision 10-2 placing him in the quarterfinals against a familiar foe in Kameron Rauser of Broadwater/Townsend. Brusven lost the match by decision 7-5. The match was riddled with cautions by both wrestlers and it came down to the final seconds. Rauser would eventually make it to the 132 finals and take 2nd place. Squarely placed in the consolation bracket, Brusven had to keep his focus in the double-elimination tournament. He faced-off with Riley Forcella from Whitehall; a formidable program known for their extremely tough middleweights. Brusven would prove his mental and physical toughness by defeating Forcella by decision 2-0. One win away from making Shelby history, Wyatt had to get through Reed Christensen of Libby/Troy. And that he would do, winning by decision 4-0. The win would guarantee Brusven at least 6th place on the podium. To the surprise of both Wyatt and the team, Brusven would receive a forfeit in the consolation semi-final from Hunter Connard of Huntley Project/Worden, due to injury, placing him in the consolation championship against Quinn Whitmus of Wolf Point, a returning state place-winner. Wyatt would prove that hard work in the off-season would pay off defeating Whitmus by decision 4-2 giving him 3rd place at 132 in the state of Montana. Brusven's placing at state is the first success the Coyotes have experienced at the state level since Streeter Stirling was the state runner-up at 205lbs in 2015.
Brodey White at 138lbs, one of two Shelby seniors and four-time state qualifier, was hoping to end his high school wrestling career on a positive note. The first match was against 31-3 Jonathan Schmidt of Lincoln County (Eureka). White would lose the match by fall in 2:45. With determination and drive, Brodey was not going to go home after only two matches. In the first round of the wrestle-backs, White would square off with Conner Goddard of Columbus/Absarokee. White won the match by fall in 3:51. In round two of the consolations, White would wrestle Laine Young of Libby/Troy. The match would have to go to the end to decided the victor and that would be Young by decision 9-3 ending a spectacular wrestling career by White. Brodey ended the season 38-15.
The final Coyote wrestler would be the second Shelby senior Austin Taylor at 182lbs. In the first round of the championship bracket, Taylor would wrestle Kai Dole of Huntley Project/Worden. The match was close until the very end but the Red Devil would prove to be just a little much defeating Austin by fall in 4:35. Now Taylor found himself in the consolation bracket against Nolan Myrstol of Broadwater/Townsend. After a back and forth match, Taylor was defeated by fall in the closing seconds of the match in 4:31. Austin ended the season 32-18.
"Our seniors showed great leadership and heart this season. They fought through injury and the everyday grind of the sport. They came everyday to practice with a smile and left with a smile. Although it's only two wrestlers, a large part of our Coyote squad will disappear with the graduating seniors. I am proud of their efforts and their ability to make the sport and the wrestling room competitive but fun. The future is very bright for these young men." Coach Thad White.