STEVENSVILLE – In any fight billing there’s always a headlining match, sometimes even a co-main event.
But at the Stevensville wrestling mixer on Tuesday, the 170-pound matches served as a tri-billing of Class A state championship rematches, state placers and state champions.
The state rematch came in the first round of the two-round mixer. Dillon’s Patrick Griffin topped Hamilton’s Manny Rivera in the 160-pound state championship bout a year ago, 8-4, and Rivera had never beaten Griffin in a handful of tries.
This go-around, though, Rivera and his coaches had a simple strategy.
“The plan was just to wrestle smart, get in on the takedowns like we did and not put Manny down,” Hamilton coach Chad Williams said. “We needed Manny to be up on top where he’s tough and that’s up on his feet, and that’s exactly what he did.”
Rivera scored a takedown late in the third round to break a 2-2 tie and gain a 4-2 advantage. The Hamilton senior held on from there, winning 4-3, and gaining his first victory against the Dillon wrestler. Both were up 10 pounds from their title match a year ago.
“I took it to him this time, I didn’t let him take it me all the time like I used to,” Rivera said. “Just keep up the tempo with him because he’s strong and fast. I just had to take it to him also, that’s what made the difference this time.”
The two were locked and on their feet before Rivera shucked Griffin, gained the advantage on the side and scored the takedown. Griffin worked an escape just before the final horn, but it was too late.
“I just didn’t get enough movement on my feet, I should have been moving more and he capitalized on it,” Griffin said. “I just pressured into him like I shouldn’t have, and it’s all based on pressure. I pressured into him at the wrong moment, he pulled it by and did what he needed to do.”
Rivera finished the night 1-0. Griffin had another match in Round 2, though, against Stevensville’s Ben Crews, the defending state champ at 170. This time, Griffin came out the aggressor.
The senior from Beaverhead County earned two takedowns in the first frame, to take a 4-1 lead after the first two minutes. He added a reversal, takedown and near-fall in the second and another takedown in the third.
Crews, who won his Round 1 matchup against Corvallis’ Kye McCollaum, mustered three escapes in a 12-3 loss to Griffin.
Crews’ earlier win needed just one period. The Stevi senior took down McCollaum and secured the pin. He quickly capitalized on a slight slip-up.
“He made a mistake and I caught him in it,” Crews said of McCollaum, who was the state’s sixth-place wrestler last year at 152 pounds. “He just had his hips facing up instead of facing down. We were just in a real scramble, it wasn’t really a move I caught him in.”
At 145 pounds, Frenchtown’s Bryce Williams — a state placer last year — earned two pin wins in his matches. Hamilton’s Michael Golden, a fourth-place finisher a year ago at 113 pounds, split in his two matches.
He secured a 4-0 win against Corvallis’ Tristan Davis in Round 2. Davis won earlier in a close 3-2 decision against Stevi’s Elliot Vanosdell. Stevensville’s Jerry Cassidy scored a 28-second pin in his 182-pound match.
Hamilton’s Justin Hinson and Kyle Anderson each won twice for the Broncs at 205, and a considerable crowd was treated to some 50 matches at the Yellowjackets’ gym — a program just four years into its re-existence.
“When you throw this many teams together it’s just good experience for everybody to get out there and get a little bit better,” Stevi coach Ted Adams said. “Wrestling is really good about building a passionate fan base… The Bitterroot teams are really close…”
Teams involved – Stevensville, Hamilton, Dillon, Frenchtown, Corvallis.
103 – Walker Dyer, F, maj. dec. Kellen Robbins, S, 15-5; Caleb Olsen, S, pin Will Flowers, C, 1:09; Walker Dyer, F, maj. dec. Caleb Olsen, S, 9-0; Kellen Robbins, S, pin Will Flowers, C, 1:27.
113 – Tristan Davis, C, dec. Elliot Vanosdell, S, 3-2; Michael Golden, H, dec. Tristan Davis, C, 4-0; Jake Bibler, F, tech fall Luke Huffaker, D; Carter Brown, C, pin Kelson Bauman, F, 4:40; Elliot Vanosdell, S, pin Luke Huffaker, D, 3:25; Jake Bibler, F, def. Michael Golden, H; Kelson Bauman, F, dec. Luke Huffaker, D, 4-3.
120 – Zach Blanchard, F, dec. Cole Anson, H, 8-5; Dante Venema, C, maj. dec. Zach Blanchard, F, 14-3; Cole Anson, H, pin Richey Jacques, F, 1:20; Benji Opat, C, pin Richey Jacques, F, 5:48.
126 – Owen Inderland, pin Allen Allsop, C, 1:28; Owen Inderland, F, pin Kyler Bair, D, 1:11; Bridger Williams, H, tech fall Allen Allsop, C; Bridger Williams, H, pin Kyler Bair, 5:18.
132 – Quinn Stoddard, maj. dec. Kaleb Behner, H, 13-3; Quinn Stoddard, D, def. Aaron Christianson, C; Cade Labote, F, maj. dec. Kaleb Behner, H, 15-3; Cade Livoti, F, pin Aaron Christenson, C, 4:48.
138 – Will Wissenbach, C, tech fall Cooper Hoffman, D, 18-3; Cooper Hoffman, D, dec. Adrian Garcia, H, 6-5.
145 – Daylon Moore, C, pin Manuel Zapata, :57; Derrick Gasvoda, C, def. Manuel Zapata, F; Ammon Simmons, S, pin Peter Gibson, D, 3:05; Bryce Williams, F, pin Daylon Moore, C, 1:44; Derrick Gasvoda, C, dec. Peter Gibson, D, 8-3; Bryce Williams, F, pin Lane Petri, H, 3:21.
152 – Brent Tezak, D, pin Mike Edwards, F, :57; Brent Tezak, D, pin Dustin Copeland, H, :10; Mike Edwards, F, pin Colton Ewalt, C, 3:43; Colton Ewalt, C, maj. dec. Dustin Copeland, H, 14-4.
160 – Kye McCollaum, C, dec. Hunter Allen, F, 13-8; Hunter Allen, F, pin Aaron Swafford, H, 2:23.
170 – Ben Crews, S, pin Kye McCollaum, C, 0:07; Patrick Griffin, D, maj. dec. Ben Crews, S, 12-3; Manny Rivera, H, dec. Patrick Griffin, D, 4-3.
182 – Jerry Cassidy, S, pin Levi Downard, F, :28; Tate Jones, dec. Jacob Woods, S, 7-2; Hunter Barron, C, pin Tate Jones, F, 1:31.
205 – Harley Wise, C, dec. Bailey Hayes, H, 14-7; Kyle Anderson, H, pin Chase Krone, S, :40; Kyle Anderson, H, pin Jordan Thomas, S, 1:40; Justin Hinson, H, pin Hunter Barron, C, 3:22; Justin Hinson, H, pin Jordan Thomas, S, 1:20.
285 – Hagen Majors, H, dec. Tucker Ewalt, C, 5-1; Tyler Woods, S, pin Coy Whyte, H, 1:33; Hurley Weise, C, pin Kat Riel, S, 3:04; Coy Whyte, H, pin Tucker Ewalt, C, 1:51; Cody Coleman, pin Ben Kruzich, D, 1:38.