At the 40th annual Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic this weekend, the Kalispell Flathead wrestling team turned out the kind of performance it hasn't enjoyed since the the 32nd edition.
And the 31st and the 30th and the 29th.
The Braves captured their first Rocky championship Saturday at Missoula Sentinel High School since a string of four in a row from 2006-09. Flathead, a sure front-runner for the State AA title a month down the road, totaled 202.5 team points with eight placers.
In second was Mead from Spokane with 167 points, then two-time defending Rocky champ Havre at 159.5 in third. Missoula Big Sky took eighth with 108 points while the host Spartans were down the list at 24th after a runner-up finish a year ago.
Hunter Rush was Flathead's only champion out of four boys to make the finals Saturday. He won at 103 pounds.
Trae Vasquez, Flathead's defending individual state 120-pound champ, took second at 132 Saturday to Frenchtown's Riley Gurr, who won by 7-0 decision. Vasquez won the weight here last year.
Hamilton's Justin Hinson, a 205-pounder, was western Montana's only other champion.
Kyle Gordon led a trio of Big Sky top-three finishers. Gordon fell to Belgrade's Sawyer Degen, a state champ last year in Class A, in the 138-pound finals by 7-2 decision. His teammates Douglas and KJ Swanson both took third, the former at 126 and the latter at 145.
Three Sentinel boys placed sixth: Reece Eckley (126), Cam Hegel (132) and Tanner Stack (205).
Polson's Parker Adler was third at 138 after being knocked off the championship path in the semifinals by Degen.
Ronan had a fourth-placer in Hunter Peterson (126) and Columbia Falls' Mason Fetters (152) took fifth.
Havre's Parker Filius was the only wrestler among last year's champions to defend his Rocky title in 2017. He won at 145 on Saturday.