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Ronan’s Neiss state champion, Pirate grapplers earn team silver

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BILLINGS — Local wrestlers topped off their season at the state tournament at Billings’ Metra Park over the weekend, where Ronan’s Jared Neiss earned the sole individual championship title in his weight class and the Pirates clinched a second-place team finish.



Eight Polson wrestlers placed in the top four of their weight classes to propel the Pirates into second place on the final day of the Montana State High School Wrestling Tournament in Billings on Saturday, Feb. 3. 

After a “disastrous semi-final round” in which the Pirates dropped all six matches, the wrestlers rebounded with “one of the greatest runs ever at that tournament,” according to Head Coach Bob Owen. Polson won eight out of eight consolation semi-final matches to put all eight of the remaining team members in the consolation finals. 

“We were sitting in sixth place after that championship semi-final round,” Owen said. “We gathered up the troops and asked them to put aside their disappointments and finish business so that they could achieve their team goal.”

The toughest match in wrestling comes after that semi-final loss, when you know you cannot be in the finals going for first, according to Owen. Owen was proud to see his team bounce back. 

“I was just amazed at how they rallied for that round. We had either pins or bonus points in each match,” Owen said. “We blew back into second and made it impossible for any other team to catch us as we went ahead of the third place team by 35 points.”

Everyone on the team contributed team points, even the four that did not place.

In the 103 class, Polson’s Mateo Quinones took on teammate Rene Pierre for the third place match. Quinones and Pierre have been battling back and forth all season. Quinones had a season record of 18-5 and Pierre a season record of 17-4. Quinones took the third place match at State beating his teammate with a 3-1 decision. 

Bridger Wenzel took third place in the 120 class for Polson beating Wyatt Vanburen from Sydney/Bainville with a 10-5 decision. Wenzel ended his season with a 21-1 record.

Falling in the third place match in the 126 class, Polson’s Thunder Morales lost to Ben Windauer from Columbia Falls. Morales finished with a 12-8 record taking fourth at State. 

In the 132 class, Cameron Brown took third place beating Hunter Peterson from Columbia Falls with a 3-0 decision. Brown ended with a 21-1 season record. 

Jaben Wenzel ended his senior year with a third place finish in the 138 class. Wenzel took on Bryce Roan from Hardin and won the match with a 13-7 decision. 

Polson’s Parker Adler fell to Hardin’s Brenden Roan in the third place match for the 145 class. Adler lost the match with a 11-0 major decision, but ended his season with fourth place finish at State and 17-3 season record. 

Rounding off the Pirates was Mike Corrigan in the 205 class. Corrigan fought for the third place finish but lost to Justin Hinson from Hamilton/Victor with a 3-2 decision. Corrigan ended his senior year fourth at State and a 16-6 season record.

Colton Cote and Koby Garcia were one match away from placing and Noah Humphrey avenged a Divisional Tournament loss to a rival from Columbia Falls to contribute to the team point total.

Owen is excited to see what the future holds for Polson wrestling.

“It hurt a little to not get a state champion out of the mix, but we are full of freshmen and sophomore wrestlers that will get some more opportunities at that crown,” Owen said. “Our program definitely took a quantum leap this season, and we have the kind of kids that are willing to do the work that will make them even better next season.”



Jared Neiss ended his season as a State Champion in the 145 class. Neiss won the match against Eureka’s Cannan Smith with a 16-6 major decision. Neiss had a 38-3 season record. 

Two of the Ronan Chief wrestlers made it to the State Championship match. Chief’s Hunter Peterson gave it his all in the final match for the 113 class. Peterson took on Glasgow’s Matt Reyling for the title. Peterson lost the match with a 5-2 decision which gave him a second place finish and 20-2 season record. 



Senior Alex Bertollt led the Warriors finishing fourth at State at 182 pounds. Bertollt lost to Jace Pancake from Florence/Carlton with a 6-5 decision. Bertollt finished with 10-4 season record.



Junior Trent Dennison took on Jake Norby from Chinook for the third place match in the 152 weight class. Dennison lost the match with a 13-6 decision but ended his season with a fourth place finish at state and a 20-6 season record. 

In the 182 weight class, Gus Bosley defeated James Slaughter from Fairfield/Simms for a fifth place finish at State. Bosley won the match by pinning his opponent at 1:38. 

Ethan Goss Dickie also took fifth place at State in the 285 class for St. Ignatius/Charlo. Dickie beat Kaelan Yanak from Eureka with a 5-2 decision.


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