HAMILTON — Even though the Hamilton wrestling team was celebrating senior night Tuesday for two of its upperclassmen, the Broncs opening dual with Dillon came down to a sophomore, Reece Buchanan.
Midway through the dual at the quadrangular meet in Hamilton's gym, coach Chad Williams relayed to Buchanan that his heavyweight match might be for all the marbles.
"I was looking at the board and thought, 'This is going to come down to Brock (Jones) or Reece,'" Williams said, and the Beavers led the Broncs 31-29 before the final heavyweight match. "...I told one of the assistant coaches to tell him to get ready. It's going to come down to Reece. I don't like to put that pressure on the kids, but..."
...Buchanan came through, the sophomore, who wrestles well below the heavyweight maximum of 285, secured a pin 1 minute, 10 seconds into the match and gave the Broncs a 35-31 team win.
"Every time I go into a match, even if it's practice or a match just like there, I go out and go my hardest," Buchanan said, adding there weren't many nerves going into the deciding match.
Buchanan followed his win against Dillon with the quad's closing match against Corvallis' Harley Wise. Wise took an early 5-0 lead, but Buchanan scored a reversal and landed a pin on the edge of the mat 19 seconds before the end of the first period.
He executed a move coach Williams has been working on with Buchanan since the wrestler was a freshman.
"He's Hamilton's wrestler of the week," Williams said. "I knew the head and arm was coming; the big guy moves and you gotta be able to roll through that. It's taken a year and a half and (Buchanan) finally figured it out.
"I love it when kids turn that corner, and he turned a corner for us today."
Buchanan's second pin came in a more comfortable match for Hamilton — the Broncs topped Corvallis, 57-6.
The Blue Devils were, however, resting some wrestlers after a weekend of wrestling at the Class A Duals in Belgrade, including Class A's No. 4 ranked wrestler at 138 pounds, Tristen Davis.
"We're resting a bunch of kids to get them healthy for divisionals," Corvallis coach Matt Davis said. "It went fine, though, we're right where we thought we were."
Corvallis did get pin wins from Carter Brown, Benji Opat, Randon Weidow and Derrik Weisweaver in the Blue Devils' match against Dillon. Brown, Class A's No. 4 wrestler at 132 pounds, flattened his opponent the quickest with a 1:07 pin just after his first take down.
It was Hamilton's day, though.
And it was Adrian Garcia and Michael Golden's night.
The two Bronc seniors won both of their matches on senior night, as Golden — ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds in Class A — got a pin against Dillon and a 14-0 major decision against Corvallis. Garcia, meanwhile, secured a pair of pins.
He won with his favorite move in the finale against Corvallis.
"Every time I throw a double arm bar and sit out. It's one of the pinning combos that's really hard to escape from and I just like to execute," Garcia explained. "
Garcia's move and pin came at the 1:11 mark.
Also winning by pin for Hamilton against Corvallis was junior Noah Hurst (170 pounds) and Cole Anson (145). Bridger Williams, Class A's No. 3-ranked 145 pounder for Hamilton, won both of his matches by techfall.
Both Bitterroot squads will suit up again Saturday for the Battle of the 'Root wrestling meet in Stevensville starting at 9 a.m. Stevi and Florence will also join in the quad.
Note: Butte Central was also at the meet Tuesday, but the Maroons did not field a full team for the dual.
In other wrestling action, Missoula Sentinel used pins by Bryson Danzinger (113), Novik Thomas (120), Justin Kovalicky (132), Luke Joy (145), Conall Powers (152), Nate Holzer (170) and Reece Rahn (182) in posting a home dual win over Helena, 48-30.
Arlee defeated Hot Springs 60-46 as Alyssia Vanderburg tallied 27 points in the win. Nellie Desjarlais added 12 points and Noelle West chipped in 11. Sydney Jackson and McKennzie Cannon each scored 13 to lead Hot Springs.
Columbia Falls topped Ronan 70-33 as Ryley Kehr scored 23 points. Josie Windauer tallied 14 points and 10 more came from Trista Cowan for Columbia Falls. Jaylea Lunceford led Ronan with 16.
The Florence girls defeated Stevensville 45-26.
Darby got 22 points from Casey Ehmann to win an interstate battle with Salmon, Idaho, 58-37. Kimber Schlapman added 14 points in the win for the Tigers.
Darby pushed its record to 12-1 on Tuesday with a 64-33 home win over Salmon, Idaho. Brandon Winters hit six 3-point goals in tallying a game-high 18 points. Teammate Cole Kayser piled up 12 rebounds.
Columbia Falls topped Ronan in overtime 58-55. The Wildcats used an 11-point overtime period to walk away with the win after the Chiefs came back in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Drew Morgan and Sam Hovde each scored 15 points for Columbia Falls while Dillon Shipp added 11. Jacob Gatch led Ronan with 17.
Greg Whitesell knocked down eight 3-pointers and finished with 30 points as Arlee dominated Hot Springs 86-50. Isaac Fisher added 16 points in the win. Tyler Knudsen scored 17 points to lead Hot Springs.
Stevensville defeated Florence 73-44.