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Mission Valley fields state wrestling champions

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MISSION VALLEY — Mission Valley wrestlers took home more than a few  trophies last weekend at the Montana state wrestling tournament in Billings. 

In the B-C division, the Ronan Chiefs placed fourth as a team, while the St. Ignatius-Charlo squad took fifth. Mission-Charlo head coach Lyle Cronk said fifth place is the best his team has ever done. 

“It was really exciting,” he said. “We had a great tournament. Several wrestlers wrestled higher than their rankings, but they just did an outstanding job. I think fifth is the highest placing in school history for our team, so that’s exciting.”

Jacen Petersen finished off his perfect season by winning first place in the 171-pound class. His record on the year was 38 wins and zero losses. Cronk said 35 of those wins came by way of pin. 

“(Petersen) won the final match 10 to 5; he won it pretty solidly,” Cronk said. “You know, when most kids win a state championship they’re pretty excited, but when he came off the mat he looked disappointed that he didn’t beat him by more. He’s a tough kid and a great competitor.”

Junior Morgan Schultz took second place at 105 pounds, and “that kind of set us on fire Friday and Saturday. That was his first time being at the state tournament, and he did an outstanding job,” Cronk said. 

Barret Sargent (215) won third, while Emilio Bravo (215) and Jamie Mullins (119) brought home fifth. 

Sargent lost only two matches the entire year in the B-C division, ending with a record of 32-2. Both losses came at the hands of the state champion. 

Mullins, a sophomore, now has two state-placing finishes under his belt. Bravo, a freshman, seems to be on a similar path after his fifth-place finish.

The Ronan Chiefs took fourth as a team, with Colby Roberts (189) leading the charge and earning a first-place finish. Quentin Denton (152) placed second; Shelby Grant (160) took home fourth; and Kyle Lawson (145) grabbed fifth; while Brandon Dumont (135) took sixth.

“It was good,” said head coach Cory Johnston. “We expected third but got fourth, so not exactly how you want to finish. You put a lot of work in and you want the best for the kids, it just didn’t work out this weekend. But, overall, we had a really good season.”

Johnston said the squad will have a lot of returning leadership in the form of Brandon Dumont, Connor Bend and Trevor McCalister. 

Johnston said it was McCalister’s first year and “he was right in the thick of it. If he had just a little more experience he would have done awesome this year.”

With the season less than two days past, Johnston is already looking toward the future.

“A lot of the kids made a lot of improvements and this is going to help push them for next year, for sure,” he said. “I expect to put in some work and get those guys closer to the top podium for next year.”

In the A division tournament, the Polson Pirates placed 14th as a team and placed three wrestlers. Dylan Moll took home second in the 125 pound class while Carlos Quinones grabbed third at 119. Craig Feistner came in fifth at 140 pounds.

“We did fairly well,” said head coach Bob Owen. “We though we might sneak one more placer in, but it didn’t happen ... we had a very young team and we’ve got everyone coming back but Feistner. We made a lot of progress over the year, so I’m very pleased with that.”

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