BILLINGS — Riley Gurr found out he was moving to Montana during a wrestling camp.
The Frenchtown 138-pounder, who on Saturday won his third total state tournament wrestling title and second Class A championship in Montana, came back to his home in Washington state after the camp in a little bit of shock.
“There were boxes out and front and my dad was like, ‘We’re moving,”’ said Gurr, who pinned Sidney’s Jace Winter in the finals. “That’s how it went and I came here and started wrestling, got involved in clubs and wrestling all the time.
“It’s still the same thing I did in Washington. I trained as much as I could and it paid off.”
Gurr thrashed his way through the bracket, pinning every opponent and got all four in a combined 11 minutes and 45 seconds.
A senior, he lost just one match all season and hopes to wrestle at the next level. But right now, he’s just going to enjoy his third championship.
“I’m really excited, it’s been great for me,” Gurr said. “I love wrestling here, I love the people here and that’s all I can really say. I’m just glad to be here and win it.”
• Hardin’s Bryce Roan (152) and Justin Zier (182) both took first place and both won via fall. Roan took out a tough opponent in Polson’s Parker Adler in 5:24 to secure his championship. Zier got his pin just 24 seconds into the second period, sticking Lewistown’s Wyatt Blythe.
Both seniors, it was each wrestlers first title.
“It feels pretty amazing right now,” Roan said. “It’s something I could have never imagined, but I’ve been working my whole life for it.”
It’s been a long time coming.
“We both started out first grade, second grade and we’ve been wrestling together ever since,” Zier said. “Our senior year, we finally take state, it’s a pretty great feeling right now.”
• Ben Windauer, who took the state title 170 pounds, was award the quick pin award, getting four falls in 8:06. The Columbia Falls senior had never won the tournament, finishing second last year and third in 2016.
It made the moment all the more special.
“This year, coming into the championship, it’s just meant everything to me,” Windauer said. “To get the fall, first period, it’s just everything. There’s only a certain amount of champions out here and I came out as one of them.”
• Belgrade’s John Mears, the winner of the quick pin award at the 2017 meet, may have not repeated that particular honor, but the sophomore is once again a state titlist.
He took the 132 pound championship bout with a 9-2 win over Polson’s Bridger Wenzel and had a good reason for not going for the fall. Mears is more concerned about going for four-straight titles, something two other Panther wrestlers — Jarrett and Sawyer Degen — have done in recent history.
“Ever since I’ve been wrestling I’ve been with them,” Mears said. “I’ve always wanted to be like them, so I definitely had that in my mind tonight.”
• Finishing his match strong, senior Brent Tezak managed to win his third state title, becoming the first Dillon wrestler to accomplish that feat as a Beaver.
Tezak got early points in the 160 pound bout against Glendive’s Tyler Clapp, but the Red Devil wrestler was able to scrap his way back into the match. Two late takedowns from Tezak, however, made him a three-time champion.
“This is pretty special, it’s been a lot of fun,” Tezak said. “He wasn’t really doing a whole lot on his feet to start out with and then I took advantage of that and did what I could.”
• Lewisville brothers Cooper and Caleb Birdwell each won state championships at 113 and 126 pounds, respectively.
Cooper, a freshman, put the finishing touches on a perfect season (37-0) with a 7-3 decision of Libby’s Buddy Doolin. Caleb beat Sidney’s Christian Dean 5-3 to end his career with a state championship after finishing second the previous three tournaments.
“It feels nice to finally say I did it,” Caleb said. “It was nice, instead of walking off crying, to walk off with everyone cheering instead of sad.”