Five Mustangs reach podium in Malta
February 5, 2020
The Malta Mustang Wrestling team took seventh place at the 2020 Malta Athletic Club Wrestling Invitational last Saturday, February 1, as 15 teams competed in the Malta High School Gymnasium.
Glasgow won the event with 200.5 points. Cut Bank took second with 164 points, Havre was third with 147, Great Falls High was fourth with 122, Billings Central was fifth with 89.5, Shepherd was sixth with 81, and Malta was seventh with 77.5.
The Mustangs also hosted a mixer on Friday, January 31, an event that also served as the team's senior night. Senior wrestlers Callan Mears and Kendall Moore and managers Rya Soul and Georgia Orahood were honored.
Mears was asked about how he thought his final home meet was going.
"It's pretty cool I guess to have this last time to wrestle in the gym," Mears said.
Wrestling at 160 pounds, Mears led Malta the next day as the team's lone champion, defeating Aaron Foster of Billings Central by 19-4 technical fall, after several takedowns.
"I had to keep my pressure on, move my feet and not let him score any points," Mears said. "I couldn't turn him or anything, so I just went to cutting (releasing) him and seeing if I could take him down."
Mears, only having two other matches last weekend, defeated Payton Gonser of Great Falls by pin fall with 54 seconds remaining in the second round.
Mears had a total of 21.5. Freshman Cameron Mikesell was second among the Mustangs with 18 points and a third place finish in the 113 pound class. Mikesell defeated Devon O'Neill of Billings Central by pinfall at 4:47.
Mikesell was named the Malta Mustang Wrestler of the Week and went 3-1 at the tournament, defeating Harlem's Landen Gray in 15 seconds, the team's Quick Pin of the week, by way of Fireman Carry Takedown.
"He went 5-1 on the weekend," Malta Head Coach Steve French said. "He didn't make it to the finals but he is improving."
Coach French went on to praise Mikesell's efforts on the bottom and his ability to use his legs this past weekend.
Mikesell would go on to lose in the semi-finals to Havre's Mick Chagnon, who would go on to lose the title match to Circle's Krayle Stormer. Chagnon won the Class 103 State Title last season.
"I was a little upset that I had lost in the semis but that kid is a stud," Mikesell said of Chagnon. "I guess I can't be too disappointed. I did pretty good."
Mikesell would defeat Shepherd's Langdon Smith in the consolation semifinals to make the third place match.
"The first round, I was pretty slow because I had just got done eating," Mikesell said. "I worked up a sweat and then it just came to me and I started moving."
Freshman Camryn Mears took third place in the 145, scoring 14 points for Malta. Mears defeated Cut Bank's Raice Strand by 13-3 major decision. Mears was 3-1 that day, falling in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Nathan Popichak, winning three straight to take third.
Senior Kendall Moore had five matches on Saturday, and won three before losing by 8-3 decision to Chinook's JT Hauer in the 170 consolation semi-finals.
Moore, who had previously played on the Mustang basketball team in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons, had a chance to be honored in the wrestling team's senior night last Friday. He was 1-1 on Friday.
"The support that we had from the Malta community was really cool to see," Moore said. "I am proud of myself but I think I could do a little bit better. I am going to push myself a little more next week because I want to make it to state and maybe place."
Moore scored 10 points for Malta, grabbing three wins by pinfall, the first in his opening match against Cut Bank's Dalton Estey at 2:20. The second was against Harlem's Michael King in the second round of consolation matches, and the third was in the third round of consolation matches as he pinned Billings Central's Pete Saliaris. His match against Saliaris was the team's Most Exciting Match of the Week.
"We have been looking for kids to get more aggressive with their leg attacks and shooting at the legs and I felt that Kendall turned a corner in that match," Coach French said.
205-pounder Dre Oshio scored four points, and 170-pounder Tye Jones added three by pinning Gunnar Bark of Billings Central at 1:34.
The Mustangs are heading to Conrad for the Northern B-C Divisional tournament, a tournament that Malta has won in the past three seasons. The event is scheduled for Saturday, February 8, at Conrad High School.