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HELENA — At the All-Class Wrestling Tournament in Billings in February, Helena High’s Isaac Romero successfully repeated as state championship, becoming just the second grappler in Bengals history to win mat titles his sophomore and junior years.

During the season, Romero captured an invitational tourney and the divisional title, in addition to two other top-four invite placings.

For what he accomplished this past season, Isaac Romero is the Independent Record’s 2018 Wrestler of the Year.

“I’m just super proud of how Isaac handled himself as a returning state champion,” Helena coach John Burke said recently when learning of Romero’s wrestler of the year award. “He was never satisfied with what he had done, and he worked like crazy to get back to the top again. This honor is well deserved.”

As a sophomore last year, Romero captured Bozeman’s LeProwse Invitational title and the state championship at 103 pounds. He helped the Bengals to a fifth-place showing in the 2017 team standings, and finished with a 33-4 record with 14 pins.

This season he opened with a runner-up effort at 113 at the CMR Holiday Classic, and then avenged his only loss of the season to a Montana wrestler — Lewistown’s Cooper Birdwell — at the non-sanctioned University of Providence’s East-West all-class invitational.

After repeating as the LeProwse titlist, he finished fourth at Missoula’s prestigious Beck Rocky Mountain tourney, before garnering the Western AA Divisonal crown in Kalispell.

At the all-class tourney in Billings’ Rimrock Metra Park, Romero repeated his championship when he stapled Bozeman’s Jaimie James in the third period of the state championship.

He ended the season with eight consecutive pins, while garnering the Class AA tourney’s Quick Pin Award.

“You just have to have fun and work hard to get what you want, and don’t let anyone take what you want away from you – it’s yours, so take it,” Romero said after his repeat.

He now has the opportunity to join Grant Boggs (2012-14) as Helena's only 3-time state champions.

Romero finished the season with a dazzling 38-3 mark with 23 pins, and did not lose to an AA grappler all season. For his career, he moves to 96-21 with 47 pins.

“It feels really good to win this award,” Romero said. “I’d like to thank my coaches, my dad and my team, for being able to push everybody through it.”

Independent Record All-Area Wrestling Team

103 – Sam Lane, Townsend, freshman

Fifth place at State B, Division champion, Season 34-13

113 – Isaac Romero, Helena, junior

Two-time State AA champion, AA Quick Pin Award, Division champion, Two-time Bozeman LeProwse champion, Season 38-3 (23 pins), Career 97-21 (48 pins)

120 – Tyler Coddington, Capital, sophomore

Third at State AA, Division runner-up, Two-time all-stater, Season 18-4, Career 40-12

126 – Austin Murphy, Helena, senior

State runner-up, Division champion, Fourth place at Bozeman tourney, Three-time all-stater, Season 34-12, Career 104-55

132 – Easton Held, Townsend, sophomore

Fifth place at State B, Division champion, Season 43-7 (31 pins), Career 71-15 (49 pins)

138 – (tie) Devin Crawford, Helena, junior

Division champion, Two-time all-stater, Third-place at CMR tourney, Season 39-8 (20 pins) ties school season wins record, Career 104-31 (45 pins)

Lee Lambrecht, Capital, junior

Fifth at State, Third at Divisionals, Season 27-7, Career 80-33

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145 – Travis Schulte, Capital, senior

State runner-up, Division champion, Three-time all-stater, Season 39-9 (18 pins), Career 106-53 (50 pins)

152 – Kameron Rauser, Townsend, junior

Third place at State B, 39-6 (31 pins), Two-time division champion, Choteau champion, Two-time all-stater, Season 39-6 (31 pins, Career 112-21 (75 pins)

160 – Nate Brunett, Jefferson, senior

State B runner-up, Three-time division champion, Division’s Quick Pin Award, Two-time all-stater, Season 36-7 (29 pins), Career 105-30 (90 pins)

170 – Kyle Spritzer, Townsend, senior

Two-time division champion, Season 33-10, Last two years 60-23

182 – Justin Denton, Townsend, junior

Two-time division champion, Season 36-13, Last two years 66-25

205 – Seth Jensen, Capital, junior

Fourth place at State AA, Division runner-up, Fourth-place at State, Bozeman LeProwse runner-up, Two-time all-stater, Season 36-10 (25 pins), Career 69-32 (43 pins)

Heavyweight – Nathan Rasch, Jefferson, senior

Divisional runner-up, Helped JHS to division championship, Season 28-13

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Associate Sports Editor

Associate Sports Editor for The Independent Record

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