HELENA — The season's first crosstown wrestling match opened with two of the best in the state in their weight class facing when Capital High's Lee Lambrecht and Devin Crawford of Helena toed the line at 138 pounds.
Crawford, a two-time all-stater, was ranked No. 2 in the first AA Coach's Poll, while Lambrecht was listed at No. 6.
When the dust settled after their six-minute bout in the Bears' Den, Lambrecht emerged victorious with a narrow 7-6 win.
Afterwards, both team's coaches referred to the battle as setting the tone of the intra-city dual, which host Capital won handily, 45-27.
The two juniors grappled back and forth evenly into the third period. Crawford scored first with a takedown, and a Lambrecht reversal made it 2-all after the first period.
In the second period, Lambrecht posted a 2-point near fall and a takedown, while Crawford pulled an escape and a reversal, and the Bruin edged in front 6-5 heading into the final stanza.
In the third, Lambert scored an escape and was then penalized a point for stalling. The clock then wound down and at the final buzzer maintained a 1-point triumph.
"Both guys are ranked and that was a lot of motivation for Lee," CHS coach Jeff Mahana said. "It was a great battle, I couldn't be more happy for Lee, and that win started us off with a lot of good energy."
Bengals coach John Burke stated that it was "a good match, it didn't go our way at the end, and it gave Capital their momentum."
Capital wound up winning eight of the 13 bouts, consisting of five pins, a decision and two forfeits. Helena's five wins included two pins, a decision and two forfeits.
Collecting pins for the Bruins were Noah Kovick over Chin Man Chan at 132, Cole Bradford against Kaleb McKay at 145, Chance Lee versus Bryce Rives 170, Zane McCormick over Jacob Manibusan at 182, and at 205 Seth Jensen over Malik Jungers.
Helena's pins belonged to Ryan Popp against Hunter Gilliam at 120, and Ridge Troupe over Dalton Snyder at 160. In action at 126 pounds, Helena's Austin Murphy beat freshman Wyatt Schneider in a close tilt, 6-4.
Mahana said he was "really impressed with Wyatt's match at 126, against a senior ranked No. 2. He had Murphy on his back, and he was good on his feet. I'm very pleased with his growth and progress" in such a short time.
Popp's performance, which was the evening's quick pin in 29 seconds, drew praise from the Helena coach.
"Ryan showed a lot of spark when the team was down, he really went after it," Burke said.
Those receiving forfeits were CHS' Travis Schulte at 145 and heavyweight Justin Jenks, and Helena's Nathaniel Yargo and Isaac Romero at 103 and 113.
Burke credited host Capital's convincing win, telling his guys to "take a good look at that score. Our job is to turn that thing around."
Capital High 45, Helena High 27
103 - Nathaniel Yargo, HHS, forfeit; 113 - Isaac Romero, HHS, forfeit; 120 - Ryan Popp, HHS, pin Hunter Gilliam, CHS, :29; 126 - Austin Murphy, HHS, dec. Wyatt Schneider, CHS, 7-5; 132 - Noah Kovick, CHS, pin Ching Man Chan, HHS, 4:21; 138 - Lee Lambrecht, CHS, dec. Devin Crawford, HHS, 7-6; 145 - Cole Bradford, CHS, pin Kaleb McKay, HHS, 1:21; 152 - Travis Schulte, CHS, forfeit; 160 - Ridge Troupe, HHS, pin Dalton Snyder, CHS, :40; 170 - Chance Lee, CHS, pin Bryce Rives, HHS, 1:43; 182 - Zane McCormick, CHS, pin Jacob Manibusan, HHS, 2:42; 205 - Seth Jensen, CHS, pin Malik Jungers, HHS, 136; Hvwt - Justin Jenks, CHS, forfeit.