Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After dominating Class A wrestling throughout this season, the Havre High wrestling team has its eye on a secondstraight state title. But the first step in that process will take place this weekend at the Central A divisional tournament. Teams from all around the state are getting geared up for divisionals this weekend because the divisional meet is a qualifier for state, with the top five wrestlers from each weight class earning their way into the Class A state wrestling championship. For the last five years, the Blue Ponies have owned the Central A divisional tournament, winning five-consecutive team titles to go along with the numerous individual titles the team has claimed. A year ago, the Ponies cruised to the team title with 295 points compared to just 205 points for second-place Belgrade. Havre was so dominant that it had eight individual champions out of 15 total that were able to qualify for the finals. In all, each of Havre’s 19 participants managed to qualify for the cstate tournament last season “I think we have got a lot of great kids on our team,” HHS head coach Scott Filius said. “But our conference just isn’t as competitive or deep as it used to be. But I think that the two teams behind us are going to be Lewistown and Belgrade. “Lewistown has some solid individuals, but Belgrade just has so much more depth,” he added. “I think they might finish ahead of them. Then you have Livingston, Butte Central and Browning, who don’t have a lot of kids, but have a few decent individuals. The teams aren’t as competitive as they used to be, but there are a lot of very solid individuals, which will give us a challenge.” The Ponies will go into the event this year with four defending champions, including three two-time champions in Ethan Hinebauch, Ryan Shelstad and Myles Mazurkiewicz. The other defending champion will be Chris Recio. All four of those wrestlers ate ranked No. 1 in Class A heading intot he postseason. HHS also brings four second-place finishers back from last season, a list which includes, Phil Sutherland, Kent Pattison, Mitch Schnittgen and Paul Jensen. Hinebauch will be shooting for his third straight title wrestling at 152 pounds, while Shelstad and Mazurkiewicz will be in search of their third-consecutive titles at divisionals wrestling at 119 and 135 pounds, respectively. Recio, who is the only defending champion not trying to win a thirdstraight title will be competing at 105 pounds. Sutherland, who won a divisional title as a freshman will look to do so again as a junior at 160 pounds, after finishing second last year at 152 pounds. The remaining runner-up finishers such as Pattison, who will wrestle at 135 pounds, Jensen, who will compete at 215 pounds and Schnittgen, who will compete in the heavyweight division will look to take home their first individual titles at the Central A meet. Other Havre wrestlers that should contend for individual titles this week, include freshmen Duell Stadell, who wrestles at 98 pounds, senior Loren Mack at 125 pounds, Chad Ranes at 140 pounds, Aaron Olsen at 145 pounds and Curtis Shandorf at 171 pounds. Rounding out the varsity lineup for the Ponies this week will be Brett Normandy at 112 pounds and senior Michael Odegard at 189 pounds. The four extra wrestlers that the Ponies will wrestle this week will be sophomore Layne Waid, who will wrestle at 119 pounds. Freshman Kristian Honadel will join Mack at 125 pounds. Freshman Rio Costa will join Hinebauch in the 152-pound weight class and junior Cody Johnson will join Aaron Olsen at 145 pounds. “I think the most important thing is to get as many guys to qualify for state as you can,” Filius said. “I think we have a good chance tof taking all of our kids to state like last year, so hopefully it will turn out that way. The kids have put a lot of hard work into this, in the weight room and in the wrestling room, so everything that they have achieved is because of their own hard work.” The Central A divisional wrestling championship will take place in Butte on Saturday with the meet getting underway at 8:30 am.