Toby Cheff, Cameron Neiss earn Rocky Mountain Classic titles
RONAN — The Chiefs wrestling team won a pair of conference duals last week, then tested themselves at one of the biggest wrestling tournaments in the state.
Ronan earned a 43-31 dual win over Columbia Falls Tuesday night at home. The Chiefs won six matches by pin and one by major decision to rack up the points. The Chiefs also edged Libby 42-41 on Thursday in Ronan, with five pins. Cameron Neiss secured the win for the Chiefs by pinning Cody Hader in the 135-pound match to end the dual.
Ronan then headed south to Missoula for two days of tough, tough wrestling at the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Class, held at Sentinel High's gym. Teams from all over the northwest, including Washington and Idaho, competed with Montana Class AA, A and B-C squads.
Ronan finished eighth overall out of 29 teams and second among Class A teams — Havre was an impressive second in the team competition.
"They all wrestled really well this weekend," Ronan head coach Dustyn Azure said of his wrestlers. "They went out and competed ... they didn't just flop over and give up. We've had a couple problems with that over the past few weeks, but they turned that around. The Rocky Mountain and the CMR (tournament in Great Falls) has some tough competition."
The Chiefs placed four wrestlers, including two champions.
Cameron Neiss earned his second Rocky Mountain title by earning an escape in the third period to win a narrow 1-0 victory over Great Falls' Dylan Mendenhall.
"Cameron wrestled tough all the way through. In the finals match he didn't open up as much as he wanted to. It wasn't pretty, but he pulled it off," Azure said. "And he knows he can wrestle better than he did. He was pushing the pace, but wasn't creating the angles and committing to his shots."
Toby Cheff won his first Rocky Mountain championship after finishing third last year. Cheff beat Sentinel's Jace Prideaux in the 189-pound championship with a 4-0 decision.
"Toby wrestled well. He wrestled smart all weekend. We've been trying to focus on that ... staying in control, rather than flopping around. He got in good positions and stayed on the attack all week," Azure noted.
His older brother, Micky Cheff, earned third place at 152 after dropping a tough 9-7 decision to Havre's Kent Pattison in the semifinals.
"Micky wrestled well up until the semifinals. He wasn't attacking, wasn't wrestling his style. When he's attacking that's when Micky's at his best," coach Azure noted. "After the semifinals he changed things up and looked a lot better in the wrestle-backs."
Cole McArthur made it to the quarterfinals at 160 and finished seventh with a 2-1 decision over Sentinel's Josh Hamilton.
"Cole lost to the kid from University High (Jake Mason, who finished second). We knew the kid was tough, but to us it looked like Cole just tried to stay in the match. If he would have gone out and wrestled his match, he could have beat the kid," Azure said. "But after that Cole came through the back door and took seventh place."
Azure was pleased with his team's effort over the week.
"All of them really wrestled competitively. They didn't hold anything back," the coach said. "This week the whole team went out and wrestled the whole six minutes. We were pretty proud of them for doing that. That will just carry over into divisional and state."
The Chiefs will compete in a dual in Columbia Falls on Thursday, then travel to Lewistown for the Central A Duals.
Ronan 43, Columbia Falls 31
98 - Seth McCall, CF, dec. Lukas Conklin, R, 10-8;
105 - open;
112 - Sal Baccaro, CF, maj. dec. Andrew Teigan, 13-4;
119 - C. Falls won by forfeit;
125 - Adam Richardson, CF, pinned Kyle Lawson, 3:53;
130 - Shelby Grant, R, dec. Kohl Thompson, 8-4;
135 - Cameron Neiss, R, pinned Cody Hader, 2:25;
140 - Alex Greenfield, R, pinned Brendan Moseman, 1:01;
145 - Jarrett Smith, CF, pinned Dustin Goldsby, 1:11;
152 - Micky Cheff, R, pinned Billy Gross, 1:54;
160 - Cole McArthur, R, maj. dec. Joe Gross, 16-4;
171 - Tyler Wheeler, R, pinned Aaron Howland, 1:03;
189 - Toby Cheff, R, pinned Josh Folsom, :44;
215 - Colby Roberts, R, pinned Jacob Babcock, 3:49;
Hwt - Kelly Houle, CF, pinned Aaron Yazzie-Whitworth, :52.
Ronan 42, Libby 41
98 - Lukas Conklin, R, pinned Isaac King, 4:51;
105 - Libby won by forfeit;
112 - Andrew Teigen, R, won by forfeit;
119 - Libby won by forfeit;
125 - Mike Roby, L, pinned Kyle Lawson, 3:43;
130 - Mitch Haugen, L, dec. Shelby Grant, 4-3;
135 - Cameron Neiss, R, pinned Kyle Leir, 3:23;
140 - Cody Elliott, L, tech fall Alex Greenfield, 16-1;
145 - Dylan Berget, L, dec. Dustin Goldsby, 6-4;
152 - Micky Cheff, R, pinned Robin Kyes, 1:43;
160 - Cole McArthur, R, pinned Austin Bailey, 4:59;
171 - Kyle Sweedman, L, pinned Tyler Wheeler, 3:38;
189 - Toby Cheff, R, pinned Wes Weichel, 1:10;
215 - Kody Berget, L, pinned Colby Roberts, 1:20;
Hwt - Aaron Yazzie-Whitworth, R, won by forfeit.