Young Mission-Charlo wrestlers have high hopes for season
This year, Mission-Charlo wrestling boasts one of the largest (and youngest) teams head coach Lyle Cronk has ever coached.
The 18-man squad consists of two seniors, two juniors and 14 underclassmen.
“It looks really good for the future,” Cronk said. “We have a good team and lots of potential as the freshmen and sophomores progress through the year.”
Cronk said even though the season has a long way to go, many of his wrestlers have already put forth some resounding individual performances.
Jacen Petersen has yet to lose a match this season. Barret Sargent has won every tournament he’s entered. Israel LaFrombois, a freshman, took first in his weight class at the Corvallis meet Dec 15. Several Mission-Charlo wrestlers are ranked at the state level or are returning state placers.
“We’ve really got it,” Cronk said. “If we can put it all together, we’ll be in good shape.”
LaFrombois, fresh off a pair of top-two finishes in his last two tournaments, said that while the team is young, the seniors help out quite a bit by taking the younger guys under their wings.
“They’re really good about that,” LaFrombois said. “I always say, ‘I wrestle because I’m too short to play basketball,’ but in reality, I love it.”
Because of the close proximity of teams in the valley, wrestlers will face each other several times in a given year. While rivalries always play a role in competitive sports, Cronk said the repeating match-ups make for some intense bouts.
Cronk offered Petersen (St. Ignatius-Charlo) and Shelby Grant (Ronan) as an example.
The athletes were ranked first and second in the state heading into the Dec. 11 Mission-Charlo versus Ronan wrestling meet. Petersen won this round, but it won’t be the last time the two meet.
“We know those two are going to battle all year long,” Cronk said. “They’re both good wrestlers. It’s always exciting when you can come out on top in those good match-ups.”
Unlike most schools in the valley, St. Ignatius and Charlo pool their wrestlers into one team. As the team is made up of athletes from two different towns, Cronk started a new tradition last year in an effort to create a unified atmosphere during practice.
The wrestling season always starts on a Thursday, so Cronk organized a lock-in for the following Friday night and Saturday morning. Two practices on Friday followed by dinner, a good night’s sleep in the wrestling room, a morning workout and a breakfast completed the team-building ritual.
“We have a lot of fun together, and I think it’s easy to underestimate the value of your teammates in wrestling,” Cronk said. “A lot of people see it as an individual sport, but if you’ve ever wrestled, you understand how much you rely on your practice partner and your teammates to push you to the next level.
“And if you’ve ever watched a wrestling tournament, you can see how much the momentum builds when one team starts getting a bunch of pins. It really is a team sport in that aspect.”
Both Cronk and LaFrombois set a goal for the team to reach the divisional tournament this year — a goal they both believe is well within reach.
“We need our older wrestlers to wrestle up to their ability and we need the younger wrestlers to mature and start progressing,” Cronk said. “If we can do that, I think we’ll be good.”
The Mission-Charlo wrestling team hosted the Mission Valley Championships Dec. 22. The tournament was run in round-robin format and featured Mission-Charlo, Noxon, Plains, Thompson Falls, Eureka, Polson, Superior, Arlee, Florence and Deer Lodge.
While no official score was kept, wrestlers were tasked with remaining undefeated throughout the tournament. Those who succeeded earned a Mission Valley Championship T-shirt.
Emilio Bravo and Petersen finished the tournament undefeated while recording several pins and earning T-shirts for the Mission-Charlo team.
“It was an exciting day for us,” Cronk said. “We got plenty of compliments on the format of our tournament because of the increased number of matches each wrestler got to wrestle.”
Steven Bravo, LaFrombois, Bridger Smith and Morgan Shultz each finished the day with three wins and one loss.
"It was great to see Steven compete after taking nearly two weeks off due to injury, and it was an exciting day for Emilio, who dominated the 215-pound weight class,” Cronk said.
Mission Valley Championships
105 Morgan Schultz (Mis) vs Anthony Parkin (Sup) 8-11
105 Morgan Schultz (Mis) vs Thunder Morales (Pol) 16-1
105 Morgan Schultz (Mis) Pin 2:51 vs Leana Babcock (TF)
105 Morgan Schultz (Mis) Pin 1:35 vs Cody Hedeen (Pol)
119 Jamie Mullins (Mis) vs Zach Durden (Eur)6-19
119 Jamie Mullins (Mis) vs Alex Helgeson (Pol) 14-2
119 Jamie Mullins (Mis) vs Torren Lawson (Flo) Pin 3:04
119 Jamie Mullins (Mis) defalt vs Daniel Overman (Nox)
125 Koltin Polinsky (Mis) Pin 1:13 Jacob Mitchell (Nox)
125 Koltin Polinsky (Mis) vs Dustin Henning (Pla) Pin 5:47
130 Jay Wadsworth (Mis) vs Cody Eden (Flo) Pin 1:58
130 Jay Wadswoth (Mis) vs Rhett Burland (Pol) Pin 1:11
130 Jay Wadsworth (Mis) Pin :37 vs Will Wood (Nox)
130 Jay Wadsworth (Mis) (pin 2:49 vs Anton Schultze (TF)
135 Israel LaFrombois (Mis) vs Logan Goodwin (Pla) 20-5
135 Israel LaFrombois (Mis) Pin 1:35 vs Raz Walhood (Pol)
135 Israel LaFrombois (Mis) vs Nikko Bakkila (Eur) Pin 1:25
135 Israel LaFrombois (Mis )Pin 5:28 vs River Sides (Sup)
140 Pascao Green (Mis) vs John Gunderson (TF) Pin 1:35
140 Pascao Green (Mis) vs Luke Crow (Nox) Pin 1:53
140 Pascao Green (Mis) vs Jacob Duerr (DL) Pin 1:49
140 Pascao Green (Mis) Pin 1:00 vs Lance Brannon (Eur)
145 Bridger Smith (Mis)Pin 2:13 vs Randell Dugan (TF)
145 Bridger Smith (Mis) Pin 1:43 vs Tristen Huff (DL)
145 Bridger Smith (Mis) vs Austin Rubel (Arl) Pin :24
145 Bridger Smith (Mis) Pin :50 vs Cory Neal (Nox)
145 Kyle Couture(Mis) vs Jacob Duerr (DL)Pin 3:36
145 Kyle Couture (Mis) Pin 2:15 vs Randell Dugan (TF)
145 Kyle Couture (Mis) vs Cory Neal (Nox) 10-7
152 Steven Bravo (Mis) Pin 3:33 vs Alex Bertollt (Arl)
152 Steven Bravo (Mis) vs Mike Devlin (Pol) Pin 1:55
152 Steven Bravo (Mis) Pin 2:18 vs Jace Panecky (Flo)
152 Steven Bravo (Mis) Pin 4:45 vs Kyle Millner (TF)
171 Ethan Goss (Mis) vs Josiah Edington (Pol) Pin 2:27
171 Ethan Goss (Mis) vs Jacen Petersen (Mis) Pin :11
171 Ethan Goss (Mis) vs Caleb Fickas (Nox) 2-17
171 Jacen Petersen (Mis) Pin 2:46 vs Caleb Fickas (Nox)
171 Jacen Petersen (Mis) Pin :11 vs Ethan Goss (Mis)
171 Jacen Petersen (Mis) Pin 1:59 vs Josiah Edington (Pol)
189 Joseph Hawkins (Mis) vs Tanner Cobbs (Flo) Pin 2:35
189 Joseph Hawkins (Mis) vs Mike Corrigan (Pol) Pin :55
189 Joseph Hawkins (Mis) vs Marlin Burke (Pol) Pin :27
215 Emilio Bravo (Mis) Pin :27 vs Alan Chanjacky (Nox)
215 Emilio Bravo (Mis) Pin 1:12 vs Caleb Connolly (Pla)
215 Emilio Bravo (Mis) Pin 1:03 vs Zach Daniels (Mis)
215 Emilio Bravo (Mis) Pin :38 vs Isaiah Williams (Pol)
215 Zach Daniels (Mis) vs Isaiah Williams (Pol) Pin 1:58
215 Zach Daniels (Mis) vs Emilio Bravo (Mis) Pin 1:03
215 Zach Daniels (Mis) Pin :48 vs Alan Chanjacky (Nox)
215 Zach Daniels (Mis) vs Caleb Connolly (Pla) Pin 1:40
285 Tyler Spidel (Mis) vs Ben Gorham (Pla) Pin 1:02
285 Tyler Spidel (Mis) vs Brandon Shael (Pla) Pin 1:00
285 Tyler Spidel (Mis) vs Braxton Eubanks (TF) Pin :19
285 Tyler Spidel (Mis) Pin :52 vs Robert Bearheart (Pol)