After Bozeman High led the 40th annual CMR Holiday Classic Wrestling Tournament by just three points over Great Falls heading into the second day of competition, the Hawks pulled away from the field on Saturday and won the championship going away.
Bozeman amassed 230.5 points in the 54-team tourney, compared to runner-up Billings Senior’s 192. Great Fall wound up third at 189.5.
Capital, on the strength of six top-eight placers, finished ninth with 114.5 points. Helena High tallied 74.5 and placed 18th, with most of their points scored by just three wrestlers.
“I’m happy for the team, everyone competed really hard this weekend,” CHS coach Jeff Mahana said. “They battled to collect a lot of pins.”
Three local matmen finished in the top-four, led by Helena’s Isaac Romero, who garnered the runner-up medal at 113 pounds.
Having won his first 12 matches of the year, Romero was the Capital City’s last grappler to fall from the ranks of the undefeated, when he sustained an 8-5 loss to Cooper Birdwell (Lewistown) in the championship bout.
He advanced by pinning Roman Sparks (Thompson Falls) in 1:02 in the semifinals.
Earlier in the day, HHS teammate Devin Crawford was defeated by Jackson Currier (Colstrip) in the semis, 6-4, for his first loss of the year. Crawford went on to place third at 138, after defeating Trey Taylor (Circle) 6-3 in the consolation semis, and Brock Rodrigues (Bozeman) in the consolation finals, 7-2.
Crawford and Romero now stand at 13-1 and 12-1 (eight pins) on the year, respectively.
“Both Isaac and Devin had excellent tournaments,” HHS coach John Burke said. “They both had tough losses that could’ve went either way. Those matches should be a little motivation for them going forward.”
Seth Jensen, Capital’s 205-pounder, was the club’s highest placer, with a fourth-place showing. Jensen lost to Jarrett Leinwand (Billings Senior), 3-1 in semis, before earning a bid in the conso finals by pinning Clancy Gout (Anaconda). In the third-place match, the Jensen was bested by Alan LaRoucque (Great Falls High) 5-1, and now owns a 13-3 mark, with 10 pins.
“Seth had a good tournament, he was really strong on his feet this weekend,” Mahana said.
Capital’s other placers were Travis Schulte, fifth at 145; Noah Kovick at 138 and Lee Lambrecht at 138, both finishing seventh; and Nolan Dulaney and Chance Lee, who each took eighth, at 126 and 170.
After qualifying for the semis in the 120 division, Helena's Austin Murphy lost his next two bouts, then he sustained an injury and finished sixth.
The local area Class B schools were led by Jefferson, which tied for 24th place with 48 points, while Townsend finished in a three-way tie for 26th at 46 points.
Broadwater’s Easton Held, who took seventh at 126, was the lone Elkhorn area grappler in the top-eight.
It was the first time in 20 years, since 1997, that Jefferson had competed in the CMR tourney. JHS coach Troy Humphrey stated that it had also been “several years at least,” since the Panthers finished higher than their Elkhorn area rival Bulldogs in a mat tourney.