Luke Entzel

Missoula Big Sky senior Luke Entzel is a three-time Class AA state wrestling champion. He will wrestle for Iowa State next season.

TOM BAUER, Missoulian

Luke Entzel couldn't sleep.

He'd just returned from his final recruiting visit last Monday, a trip to Oregon State, and he knew his window for making a decision on where to wrestle in college was beginning to close.

"I felt rushed; I wasn't sure if I was going to be ready to make a decision," the Missoula Big Sky senior said. "I'd told some coaches that I was going to make it by that Friday.

"I was like, 'Holy cow, I've got four days and I have no idea what I'm doing.' "

Entzel spent those next few nights chatting with his parents and close friends, but was left with only his thoughts once everyone else went to bed. He made pros-and-cons lists. He soul searched.

And with a day to spare, he came up with Iowa State. The Big 12 Conference and national power, which finished the 2014-15 season ranked eighth in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches' poll, beat out Minnesota, Purdue and OSU.

Finally the three-time Montana State AA wrestling champ could breath and enjoy what's left of his senior year of high school.

He shipped off his signed national letter of intent Wednesday morning, the opening date for signing for NCAA Division I wrestling programs.

The Cyclones' coaches – head man Kevin Jackson is an Olympic gold medalist – shiny new facilities and tradition were what swayed the recruit. But the state's fervor for wrestling, matching Entzel's own love for the sport, perhaps played the greatest role in his commitment last week.

"Iowa above all the other choices just has the tradition in the state, the support from all the fans," said Entzel, who won his final state title with a sparkling 35-0 record last season. "Wrestling is the biggest sport and ... the fans that they can bring in for each competition were definitely attractive to me."

The Eagle got a taste of Iowa's thirst for wrestling this past weekend when he participated in the Dream Team Classic, a wrestling showcase pitting Iowa's best against those from across the country's other 49 states. He faced a nationally ranked 170-pounder and local wrestler Jacob Holschlag (No. 11) of La Porte City.

Despite a narrow 1-0 loss to the Northern Iowa wrestling commit (Holschlag scored the lone point via escape in the second period), Entzel said he had a blast at the event in Independence, Iowa.

"The atmosphere was awesome," Entzel said. "It was a lot more pro-Iowa, but just a fun atmosphere to be in."

Team USA won the dual 30-22.

Entzel, who won his last two state titles at 170 pounds, expects to wrestle at 174 at the college level next year.

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The flying Wolf

Freeskiing Missoula native Quinn Wolferman took first place in the slopestyle discipline recently at the USA Snowboard and Freeski Association national championships.

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Wolferman, 17, scored 512.5 points in the judged event that features participants doing tricks off jumps and rails while skiing downhill. It was Wolferman's first victory in an Association of Freeskiing Professionals competition.

The event was held March 28 at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

Wolferman, a Missoula Big Sky junior, was previously a member of the Missoula Freestyle Ski Team. His best finish on the national circuit had been a second placing earlier this year at the U.S. Freeskiing Junior National Championships.

He is ranked 74th in the country in slopestyle.

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Big brains

Three area programs were among the highest scoring in terms of academics from the winter sports season in their respective classifications.

The Missoula Sentinel girls' basketball team and the Missoula Big Sky wrestling team led all of Class AA in cumulative grade point average. The Eagles scored an average of 3.028 while the Spartans came in a 3.730, the highest among any AA winter sports team.

The Ronan girls' basketball team posted a cumulative 3.797 GPA for the top mark not only among Class B basketball programs, but across the entire classification as a whole. In fact, the Maidens were the second-smartest unit by GPA in any sport or classification.

Only the Centerville girls' basketball players came in higher. The team had a sparkling average of 3.900 to top out in the Class A demographic.

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