Four Whitefish wrestlers advanced to state after placing at the Western A Divisional Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Frenchtown.
Three of the Bulldog athletes that qualified are freshmen. Whitefish head coach Danny Neff says it’s not very often that many freshmen make it to state.
Bulldog Caleb Flemming wrestled in the 138-pound division and placed fifth to qualify for state. Fleming started out the divisional tournament losing to Corvallis which set him up for a long route through the consolation bracket. He ended up winning the next three matches before getting pinned by Browning’s Quentin Campos in the consolation semifinal. That set him up for the fifth-sixth place match where he pinned Elijah Edwards of Libby in 2:38.
“I was really impressed with Caleb Flemming on Saturday, very impressed,” Neff said. “It was cool to see; he ended up getting three pins for us and placing fifth at 138. His hips are just incredible, how he can move his body and that is huge for him in those close matches.”
Two more freshmen Logan Heyne and Landree Aurund also placed fifth in their individual divisions. Heyne started off with two quick pins in the opening round and quarters, but he ran into some trouble in the semifinal — losing to Josiah Kilman of Columbia Falls who ended up as the divisional champion at 132 pounds.
Aurund started out with a pin in his first match, followed by losing two rounds by close decisions and then pinned Corvallis’ Sean Davis in the fifth-sixth place match in 1:43 to take fifth place at 120 pounds.
“Landree Aurund wrestled really hard, but got a tough side of the bracket,” Neff said. “I’m excited to see what he can do at state.”
“Logan Heyne, he battled the No. 1 kid pretty hard,” he added. “He had an opportunity to pin him, but time ran out and he ended up losing the match, and he fought back for fifth place.”
Whitefish sophomore Henry Bennetts also placed fifth at 160, however, he suffered a concussion in the semifinal which pulled him out due to injury. According to Neff, he will not wrestle at state despite qualifying due to concern for his health after the concussion, but will still travel with the team.
Neff said it was unfortunate that Whitefish seniors Jack Akey and Carter Moran were unable to qualify for the state tournament and their high school wrestling careers came to an end on Saturday. Moran, who had to wrestle at 145 instead of 138 due to not having enough weigh-ins at the lower weight, was one match away from making it to state but came up short.
“So it’s unfortunate for those seniors having to finish off like that, but we’re going to be taking them to state anyway just for them committing four years to the sport,” Neff said.
As a team, the Bulldogs came in ninth out of 13 teams. Whitefish scored 52.5 points. Frenchtown took the team divisional title with 332 points; Columbia Falls was second (265.5) and Ronan took third (219.5).
Whitefish heads to state with three actual participants ready to battle hard. The Bulldogs compete Friday and Saturday in Billings.
Western A Divisional
Team scores — 1, Frenchtown 332; 2, Columbia Falls 265.5; 3, Ronan, 219.5; 4, Libby/Troy 126; 5, Dillon/Twin Bridges/ Sheridan 119; 6, Browning 114.5; 7, Corvallis 96; 8, Hamilton 88.5; 9, Whitefish 52.5; 10, Polson 43; 11, Stevensville/Victor 38; 12, Butte Central 8; 12, East Helena 8.
5th — Landree Aurund (Wfh) p. Sean Davis (Cor),1:43.
Cons. Semi — Gavin Bauman (Ftn) dec. Landree Aurund (Wfh) (Dec 7-2)
Semifinal — Hunter Barnes (Dil) dec. Landree Aurund (Whitefish) (Dec 13-6)
Quarterfinal — Landree Aurund (Wfh) p. Dylan Delorme (CF), 3:31.
Cons. Round 2 — Blake Hoerner (CF) p. Rylan McDaniel (Wfh), 3:14.
Champ. Round 1 — James Holmes (BC) major dec. Rylan McDaniel (Wfh) (MD 16-2)
5th — Logan Heyne (Wfh) dec. Roman Duke (Ftn), 10-9.
Cons. Semi — Jesse Anson (Ham) dec. Logan Heyne (Wfh) (Dec 1-0)
Semifinals — Josiah Kilman (CF) p. Legan Heyne (Wfh), 5:05; Koda King (Ron) dec. Chris Rathjen (CF), 7-5.
Quarterfinal — Logan Heyne (Wfh) p. Kolton Little Dog (Brn), 1:06.
Champ. Round 1 — Logan Heyne (Wfh) p. Erick Piazzola (Dil), 1:14.
5th — Caleb Fleming (Wfh) p. Elijah Edwards (Lib), 2:38.
Cons. Semi — Quentin Campos (Brn) p. Caleb Fleming (Wfh), 1:15.
Cons. Round 3 — Caleb Fleming (Wfh) p. Nate Davis (Cor), 2:06.
Cons. Round 2 — Caleb Fleming (Wfh) tech fall over Fortino Silva (Ron) (TF-1.5 3:42 (23-4))
Cons. Round 1 — Caleb Fleming (Wfh) p. Dominque McKay (Ron), 2:27.
Champ. Round 1 — Jason Davis (Cor) p. Caleb Fleming (Wfh), 0:42.
Cons. Round 4 — Peterson Watkins (Ron) p. Carter Moran (Wfh), 3:00.
Cons. Round 3 — Carter Moran (Wfh) p. Jesse Racine (Brn), 1:38.
Champ. Round 2 — Tel Holland (Dil) p. Carter Moran (Wfh), 3:57.
5th — Bryan Osborne (Columbia Falls) inj. default over Henry Bennetts (Wfh).
Semifinal — Caleb Cheff (Ron) won by injury default over Henry Bennetts (Wfh) (Inj. 2:36)
Quarterfinal — Henry Bennetts (Wfh) p. Bryan Osborne (CF), 0:36.
Cons. Round 2 — Wyatt Gregg (Lib) p. Jack Akey (Wfh), 1:32.
Quarterfinal — David Sharp (Brn) S.V. Jack Akey (Wfh) (SV-1 8-6)