Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Mustangs win Choteau Classic

 

January 17, 2018

The 2018 Choteau Classic Champion Malta-Whitewater Wrestling Team. Standing left to right: Head Coach Ryan LaBrie, Magnus Franzen, Luke Lawless, Miles Bunk, Frankie Werk, Andres Lopez, Travis Epperson, Trey Simanton, Kaden Moore, Coach Cody Mikesell, Marcus Woods, manager Rya Soul, manager Georgia Orahood, Coach Jessie Schipman and manager Lauren Doney. Kneeling left to right: Ceaton Mears, Colt French, R.C. Skiff, Kolter Schipman, Jay Nicholson, Callan Mears, manager Kohner Schipman and manager Macy Knudsen.

The Malta/Whitewater Mustangs Wrestling team hit a major milestone in the 2018 season, winning the Choteau Classic, a two-day event that started on Friday, January 12 and ended on Saturday, January 13.

Thirty-one Class B and C teams converged in the Choteau High School for an event many measure up to the annual State B/C Wrestling Tournament held in Billings.

Malta won the event with a total of 180 points. Thompson Falls took second with 164.5. Whitehall was third with 121.5 and Plains-Hot Springs took fourth with 119.

"The biggest thing is the confidence that this team has and the ability to score points across our roster," Malta Head Coach Ryan LaBrie told the PCN. "It's not just any one guy. Our team has the ability to score points. Even our number two guys are coming through and scoring for us and that makes a huge difference team-wise."

Malta was led by senior Trey Simanton, who has compiled a 24-1 record this season. Simanton took first in the 138-pound class by way of a 14-4 major decision of Wolf Point's Quinn Whitmus (3-1), a senior, who won the 132 title in the 2017 Eastern B/C Divisional Tournament.

Senior Kaden Moore (25-8) took first place in the 145-pound class, pinning junior Dylan Raihl (4-1) of Columbus/Absorkee, at 1:42.

Senior Travis Epperson (19-8) took second in the 182 class losing to Spencer Jones (15-5) of Florence-Carlton by 14-1 major decision.

Senior Ceaton Mears (24-8) took second place in the 152 class, losing a 15-4 major decision to junior Kameron Rauser (26-3) of Broadwater.

Sophomore Callan Mears (25-8) took second place in the 132 class, losing to junior Josiah Vanderhall (28-1) of Plains Hot Spring by pinfall at 2:29.

Junior Andres Lopez (11-12) took third place in the 182 class, pinning senior Dax Miller (15-5) of Florence/Carlton by pin fall 59 second into the match.

Junior Miles Bunk (17-14) took fourth place losing to James Slaughter 18-6 of Choteau by pin fall at 3:25.

Sophomore Frankie Werk (8-6) placed sixth in the 285 class after losing to Trevor Yuhas (17-11) of Great Falls Central by pin fall at 1:22.

"Those guys that fell out in the semis wrestled back really well and placed fairly decent," Coach LaBrie said. "Myles wrestling back into fourth place was big and Jay Nicholson was a match away from placing. That's the team effort that it takes to win those big tournaments."

Coach LaBrie admits that after the first day concluded, they could jump to conclusions about where the team would finish, but guessing numbers is a dangerous game.

"We try not to focus on that a whole lot throughout the day," Coach LaBrie said. "We went through last year (the 2017 Choteau Classic) closing out day one leading the tournament and as day two progressed we fell back to third. So our goal this year was to take the momentum from day one and carry it into day two."

The experience of last year's fall to third place was a learning curve that helped the team finish strong in the 2018 Classic.

"As far as the effort team-wise, they knew what they had to do," Coach LaBrie said. "We ended up with seven in the semi-finals and five carried through to finals."

 

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