Flathead won an amazing seven of the 13 weights at its seeding tournament last weekend in Helena, setting itself up in prime positions in the state brackets.
All that's left to do is take advantage, Braves coach Jeff Thompson said.
"This week we are just trying to fine tune our technique, keep up our tempo and stay relaxed," Thompson wrote in an email. "... For us to win the state title we have to first show up and focus on what we have control of -- that is ourselves, our matches, our team."
Trae Vasquez is Flathead's top individual. The 132-pound senior is 25-2 and hunting for his third straight state title. Senior Hunter Rush is 29-4 at 103 pounds and junior Tucker Nadeau is 36-3 at 170.
Though the Braves have dominated the west this year -- Flathead took first in the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic in Missoula and second in the Northwest Classic inter-state rumble in Spokane -- Bozeman topped them in the Class AA Duals and is sending 20 to state. Missoula Big Sky was right on the Braves' heels at divisionals, too, where the Eagles qualified 19 wrestlers.
Big Sky is led by divisional champ KJ Swanson, a 145-pound senior who carries a 28-2 record as the bracket's No. 1 seed. He did not place last year at 152, but head coach Lanny Bryant has watched Swanson improve all season toward this moment.
"He's got the capability of winning the state title and quite a few others can place. You never know what's gonna happen," Bryant said.
Trevin Welzien, a 103-pound freshman, and 138-pound senior Kyle Gordon also have sparkling records of 26-5 and 24-5, respectively.
Missoula Sentinel qualified 13 this year, one marked by youth and inexperience. All but four are sophomores and freshmen, but junior Bryar Newbary (205) was the Spartans' lone divisional champ last week.
Six Missoula Hellgate boys are headed to Billings, led by third-seeded Asa Hoerner (138).