HELENA — Missoula Sentinel High wrestlers overpowered a banged up Helena team Tuesday in The Jungle, 63-11.
Sentinel won 11 of the 13 bouts, posting seven pins and two major decisions, to go along with four forfeits.
Helena's two victories were a 19-2 technical fall by senior Austin Murphy over Will Walker at 126 pounds, and junior Devin Crawford's pin of Blake Dolma in 4:23 at 138. Crawford's win moves him to 23-4 on the year with 12 pins.
The Bengals were without the services of last year's state champion Isaac Romero at 113, who sustained an injury in his championship match at the Bozeman LeProwse tournament last Saturday.
"I'm very happy with the team's performance, we wrestled well," Sentinel coach Jeremy LaPorte said. "We had a couple freshmen up from the JV filling at 113 and 132, and they stepped up nicely and both got wins."
Helena coach John Burke stated that it was "a tough match, Sentinel is very talented, so gotta give props," to them.
In Crawford's match, he found himself in a cradle by Jolma during the opening period, but was able to secure an early 2-point lead with the takedown.
"It was a matter of hipping down, looking away and a lot of scrambling," said the 6-foot Crawford when asked how he got out of the cradle to get the takedown. "And I'm pretty long, so that helps, too."
Crawford proceeded to build a 7-2 advantage heading into the third period, before taking Jolma down with a knee pick, and putting him to his back with a reverse half Nelson, for the pin.
Crawford has lost four of his matches by just five points, and owns two top-four medals after the season's first two tournaments; third at the CMR Holiday Classic, and fourth at Bozeman. He placed fifth at the State Tournament as a freshman, and third last year, and has the opportunity to join an elite Helena group of four-time all-staters.
But perhaps his No. 1 achievement would be a state title.
"I've had some close losses, but that's all part of the process of peaking at state," he said. "I definitely feel good about where I am at this point in the season. And yeah, a state title is on the goal list, for sure."
Winning by pin for the Spartans were Bryson Danzinger (103), Jackson Bakken (113), Dakota Thomas (120), Cam Hegel (145), Luke Joy (160), Reese Rahn (170) and Tanner Stack (205).
In Murphy's bout, he scored his tech fall on three takedowns, three 3-point near falls, and two 2-point near falls.
"Austin did a heck of a job, he was relentless. But that kid (Walker) was very flexible, so credit him also for not wanting to get pinned," Burke said.
Romero, who stands at 21-1 with a pair of tourney titles so far this season, said that the injury just cost him two days rest, and he will be back at practice Wednesday to get ready for the prestigious Jug Beck Rocky Mountain tourney on Friday.
"I'm happy with my season, I avenged my only loss, so next is the Missoula tournament, and it's going to be a tough one," said Romero, who added he "takes one match at a time, and focus on my grades."
Burke said both Romero and Crawford have been very consistent all year.
"Isaac and Devin have wrestled well, and this weekend we find out where they're at, in Missoula; that's a tough tourney," Burke said.