By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Slow start for Wrestlers after break


January 15, 2020

Kandace Oshio

Zac Judd pins his opponent at the Cut Bank Invitational.

The Malta Mustangs Wrestling team saw their first action of 2020 and things started off rocky for the squad that went 2-14 at the Chester Mixer on Thursday, January 9.

Malta Head Coach Steve French humbly took part of the blame.

"As a coach, I have never had a lot of great success with Thursday nights," Coach French said. "I don't know why. We could have won a lot more (that day), but we found a way to lose. It was a tough one to swallow."

Freshman Cameron Mikesell was off to a hot start as he led the team in Chester and at the Cut Bank Invitational going a combined 7-1 for the week. Mikesell took third place in the 113 class with a 5-1 record in the Cut Bank Invitational held on Friday, January 10 through Saturday, January 11. He was also the only wrestler to get a win in Chester, going 2-0.

Mikesell was named this week's Wrestler of the Week by the Malta Mustangs coaches.

"He had lost to (Jase Frederick) of Poplar on the first night and then came back and beat him in the third-place match, so he avenged that loss," Coach French said. "That was special for him."

After having a team meeting prior to the Cut Bank event, Malta bounced back at the two-day Cut Bank Invitational. Zac Judd helped lead the effort going 3-1 on Friday.

Tye Jones also saw success as the only other Mustang to finish above .500, going 2-1.

Saturday, Mikesell, who went 1-1 on Friday, went 4-0 on Saturday and was the only Mustang to record a win at the varsity meet. All other Mustang wrestlers went on to face other wrestlers in the JV bracket.

Spencer Gibbs went 3-0 in the JV bracket and even picked up another Quick Pin time for another week, pinning his last opponent of the week in 11 seconds.

"He was going for it," Coach French said. "The quickest time before that was 18 seconds, so he had a little bit of pressure on him."

Westside Food Court offers extra motivation for Mustang wrestlers to win because the Court donates one personal pan pizza coupon for the team's quickest pin and another for wrestler of the week, weekly.

Tye Jones' match against Peter Johnson of Simms in the Cut Bank JV tournament was dubbed the Match of the Week by the Malta Coaches.

"Peter is a pretty tough kid," Coach French said. "He is a junior and Tye is a freshman... It was an upset."

Jones had fallen behind and opted to take the floor in the second period, a dangerous move given how dominant Johnson was in the first period.

"I said, if you are going to pick down, you better get going," Coach French said. "He got Johnson out of position, and he landed on his back. Tye took advantage and got him in a head and arm, squeezed and stuck him."

The team's individual total were: Mikesell 7-1, Shane Soul 3-5, Judd 4-4, Gibbs 4-4, Colt French 1-5, Jones 3-4, Kendall Moore 1-5, and Dre Oshio 2-5.

Though the team practiced hard throughout Winter Break, Coach French believes that some of those things the team focused on is taking time to translate to the mat. The team will continue working on technique, but this week there will be an emphasis on pin escapes.

"We need to emphasize not getting pinned," Coach French said. "We seem to be getting pinned a lot which is not acceptable to me. Everybody makes mistakes and gets on their back but you've got to get off your back to give yourself a chance to win."

The team was without brothers Callan and Camryn Mears last weekend as they needed to take time to spend with their family.

The Mustangs will head to Fairfield on Thursday, January 16, and then to Choteau for the Bulldog Classic from Friday, January 17, to Saturday, January 18.


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