Behind an individual champion in Luke Entzel and a host of other placers, the Missoula Big Sky wrestling team climbed the team standings Saturday in the second day of the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic.
Despite the strong finish, the Eagles – or any other school for that matter – couldn’t catch now three-time consecutive Jug Beck winner Great Falls High. The Bison bested last year’s results at the Missoula Sentinel tournament to run away with the championship.
Great Falls tallied 249.5 points – way up from last year’s 213 – behind five finalists and two eventual champions. Class A Havre came the closest in the Bison hunt, scoring 185 points as a team.
“They’re pretty big goals for us,” Great Falls coach Steve Komac said of winning the Missoula meet, along with CMR’s Holiday Classic each year. “One of the things we tell the kids is when we see the best competition, we need to elevate to it, which we did.
“We had a real good weekend here and I’m proud of the kids.”
Behind the Class AA Bison and the Blue Ponies, Central Valley took third with 176.5 points thanks to a tourney-high three individual winners. Fellow Spokane-based school University was fourth (169), followed by Bozeman (153) and Big Sky (146).
The Eagles were tied for ninth after the first day before finishing with six placers in the top four of their weight classes, including Entzel’s triumph at 170 pounds.
“The kids came back battling it out,” Big Sky coach Lanny Bryant said. “We won a lot of matches really close; I mean like by one point.”
Such was the case when Entzel squared off with Austin Stannard of University. Neither wrestler managed a point before the third period as the boys sized each other up. With a minute and a half remaining, Entzel broke a Stannard hold for a single escape point, the difference in his 1-0 victory.
“I was feeling pretty confident because I held him in the second period and I thought I could definitely get out in the third,” said Entzel, a first-time Jug Beck winner who started the third in Stannard’s grasp in the down position. “I knew I could get at least a one-point escape.
“He was on top of me, kind of riding me loose before I could get out. I think I got hold of his leg and ended up getting away from him.”
Both Entzel and his 106-pound teammate, Jon Conklin, made the title bouts by boxing their Sentinel counterparts out of a championship appearance. Entzel earned a 4-2 semifinal decision over Justin Harbison, his third win in three matchups this year with the Spartan, and Conklin edged Jake Hegel 5-2.
Both Sentinel wrestlers finished in third, as did Jaydn Wilson, a two-time defending Jug Beck winner. Wilson came up short in overtime of his semi against eventual champion Dylan Beeler of Clarkston, Wash.
Big Sky’s Conklin fell victim to a wicked pinning maneuver from Havre’s Keegan Kennelly to miss a title. The Pony caught Conklin around the neck with both legs and twirled him to his back just before the first period buzzer for a pin.
The Eagle also had his left leg caught in the hold, which bent it up near his head at a nasty angle. It caused a scary post-match moment that saw Conklin writhing in pain. He had to be carried off the mat, though was standing on his own power during the awards ceremony as he accepted his silver.
Sentinel entered Saturday in good standing in its own gym, sitting in third place, but all four semifinalists fell short. The Spartans dropping to seventh as a team a year after placing third at their home invitational.
Sentinel’s 143 points left it just behind Big Sky, which surpassed its friendly foe on the back of Entzel’s final victory.
Columbia Falls was the next highest area placer, snaring 12th behind an individual champ in Shonn Roberts.
The 126-pounder scored an easy 8-0 major decision over University’s Cameron Sorensen for his first Jug Beck title.
“It feels a lot better than sitting at the bottom of the podium,” said Roberts with a laugh, remarking on fourth- and second-place finishes the last two years.
“In the first period I got a big takedown and back points, which set up the whole match for me,” continued Roberts, who led 4-0 by the first intermission.
Western Montana’s fourth and final finalist on Saturday was Frenchtown’s Cody Lemons, but the Bronc ran into Colton Orrino of Central Valley in the 145-pound title tussle. A defending Jug Beck winner, Orrino earned an 11-4 win on his way to earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler nod.
Several other areas wrestlers made the consolation semis with a few earning third-place plaques. They included Glacier’s Justin Gibson (98 pounds), Big Sky’s Jason Riekena (160) and Flathead’s Axel Bladholm (285).
Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic
At Missoula Sentinel
Team scores – Great Falls 249.5, Havre 185, Central Valley 176.6, University, 169, Bozeman 153, Big Sky 146, Sentinel 143, Powell 127.5, Mead 119.5, Coeur d’Alene 112, Belgrade 110, Columbia Falls 106, Great Falls CMR, 95, Clarkston 93.5, Helena Capital 87, Kalispell Glacier 84, Ferris 78, Helena, 68, Kalispell Flathead 60.5, Frenchtown 59, Butte 49, Hamilton 46, Corvallis 44, Polson 44, Libby 38, Lewistown 35, Lake City 35, Hellgate 20, Superior 16, Florence 14, Ronan 12.5, Bonners Ferry 8.
Championship – Bjorn Schroeder, Boz, maj. dec. Sawyer Degen, Bel, 18-5.
Third place – Justin Gibson, Gla, dec. Cody DeVall, Fla, 4-3.
Fifth place – Nick Kunz, Cap, dec. Kaleb Maciosek, CDA, 3-2.
Seventh place – Korey Hickson, Fer, maj. dec. Denise Tecca, CV, 13-2.
Championship – Keegan Kennelly, Hav, pinned Jon Conklin, MBS, 1:59.
Third place – Jake Hegel, MST, pinned Carson Graham, CV, 1:14.
Fifth place – Cameron Swanson, Univ, maj. dec. Thunder Morales, Pol, 16-2.
Seventh place – Spencer Clegg, Clark, maj. dec. Cody Warner, Fre, 10-2.
Championship – Jarren Komac, GFH, pinned Seth Schroeck, Cap, 3:03.
Third place – Matt Petrini, Mead, maj. dec. Demo Koures, MBS, 8-0.
Fifth place – Caleb James, Boz, pinned Anthony Parkin, Sup, 2:18.
Seventh place – Mikey Garrison, Univ, pinned Mason Fetters, CF, :36.
Championship – Bryson Beard, CV, dec. Landon Bailey, Hel, 2-1.
Third place – Grayson Brenna, Hav, dec. Kenton Evans, GFH, 8-7.
Fifth place – Chance Karst, Pow, maj. dec. Ryder Day, Gla, 11-2.
Seventh place – Jace Kovalicky, MST, pinned Kale Evenson, Boz, 1:38.
Championship – Shonn Roberts, CF, maj. dec. Cameron Sorensen, Univ, 8-0.
Third place – Silas Hopkins, Boz, dec. Nic Urbach, Pow, 5-0.
Fifth place – Tommy McMillen, GFH, pinned Dylan Schulte, MST.
Seventh place – Carlos Quinones, Pol, dec. Cody Decker, Gla, 2-1.
Championship – Casey Dobson, GFH, dec. Jarrett Degen, Bel, 5-4.
Third place – Thomas Gruber, Hav, dec. Elija Kilborn, CV, 1-0.
Fifth place – Colton Parham, Pow, maj. dec. Hunter King, Mead, 11-2.
Seventh place – Torren Lawson, Flo, dec. Dylan Cronkhite, Fer, 2-0.
Championship – Blake Beard, CV, dec. Austin Shupe, GFH, 2-1.
Third place – Parker Filius, Hav, dec. Logan McGreevey, MBS, 7-3.
Fifth place – Ben Manion, Boz, pinned Jake Marr, MST, 4:46.
Seventh place – Tyler Olsen, Cor, dec. Tate LeClaire, Mead, 7-4.
Championship – Colton Orrino, CV, dec. Cody Lemons, Fre, 11-4.
Third place – Gage Bentley, GFH, dec. Isiah Yates, CMR, 6-1.
Fifth place – Zayne Brunz, CF, dec. Kye Catlin, Pow, 4-2.
Seventh place – Cooper Ryan, Hel, dec. Kody Pribyl, Hav, 8-2.
Championship – Jared Dickson, CMR, dec. Kessler Leonard, GFH, 4-3.
Third place – Elijah Ross, Fer, dec. Kade Branson, MBS, 5-1.
Fifth place – Zach Kies, Mead, pinned Eric Benton, Clark, :47.
Seventh place – Matt Widdicombe, Pow, dec. Bryan Shaffer, CF, 4-0.
Championship – John Fairbanks, Univ, dec. Jacob Davis, Pow, 7-2.
Third place – Jason Riekena, MBS, dec. David Shepard, CV, 6-5.
Fifth place – Walker Ferda, GFH, dec. Josh Bowers, Lib, 6-0.
Seventh place – Nick Grasseschi, CMR, dec. Colton Johnson, CDA, 12-5.
Championship – Luke Entzel, MBS, dec. Austin Stannard, Univ, 1-0.
Third place – Justin Harbison, MST, dec. Brayden Schmick, Fer, 7-1.
Fifth place – Garret Chapel, Lib, dec. Chauncye Garigan, CV, 6-3.
Seventh place – Tel Motichka, Pol, dec. Nick Challeen, But, 5-4.
Championship – Hudson Staub, CDA, dec. Randy Keesler, GFH, 4-3.
Third place – Alan Schmitz, Cap, dec. Ethan Blythe, Lew, 12-7.
Fifth place – Payton Sexe, CMV, dec. Cody Wiers, Boz, 6-1.
Seventh place – Dustin Odegard, Hav, dec. Tyler Scheffer, Ham, 6-3.
Championship – Keavon Buckley, Boz, pinned Jaden Bryant, Bel, 1:39.
Third place – Phoenix Duncan, CDA, dec. Jace Billy, Hav, 5-1.
Fifth place – Michael Bumgarner, Ham, pinned Hunter Sisemore, Clark, 1:27.
Seventh place – Lee Cannon, But, maj. dec. Mateo Amatto-Cattaneo, GFH, 9-1.
Championship – Dylan Beeler, Clark, pinned Tyler Adams, Hav, 6:13.
Third place – Jaydn Wilson, MST, dec. Mason Ju, Mead, 7-2.
Fifth place – Bryce Blumenschein, Bel, dec. Dillon Koffman, Cap, 3-1.
Seventh place – Eric Weaver, GFH, dec. Riley Stringer, Pow, 7-3.
Championship – Tate Orndorff, Univ, dec. Matt James, CDA, 2-1.
Third place – Axel Bladholm, Fla, dec. Zach Dennehy, Gla, 5-0.
Fifth place – Spencer Ross, CF, pinned Roberto Smith, GFH, 2:24.
Seventh place – Colter Miller, MBS, dec. Colin Hammock, MST, 4-2.