Fergus grapplers head to Super-divisional in Glendive

Fergus wrestler Grady Gilpatrick (left) competes against a Belgrade wrestler at the Golden Eagles only home meet of the season. Gilpatrick and his 11 teammates compete at the Eastern A Super-divisional on Saturday in Glendive.
Photo by Doreen Heintz

By: 
Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

The Fergus High School wrestling team begins post-season competition this Saturday at the Eastern A Super-divisional Wrestling Tournament in Glendive. Twelve Golden Eagle wrestlers will compete at the divisional meet with the chance to move on to the Class A State competition next week in Billings. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the state meet.
One Fergus wrestler, Bridger Grover, tore his ACL during the Class A Duals in Belgrade against a Glendive wrestler, so he will not be competing at the divisional meet.
“I feel really bad for Bridger,” said Coach Brenden DeCock. “You never want to see that happen to one of your kids. Bridger wrestled well up to the Class A duals, and our team is going to miss having him compete for us.”
Grover finished his season with a 24-13 record.
According to DeCock, the rest of the team should be healthy for the divisional competition.
Teams competing at the Eastern A Divisional include Sidney, Billings Central, Glendive, Miles City, Hardin and Laurel for the Eastern A conference and Havre, Fergus, Park, Belgrade and Browning from the Central A conference.
Havre has to be the prohibitive favorite to win the Eastern A crown, as well as the Class A state championship. Hardin, Sidney and Glendive will also be tough teams at the divisional level according to DeCock.
“Our goal as a team will be a top three finish and to get all of our kids qualified for state,” said DeCock.
Representing Fergus at 103 pounds will be freshman Chance Miller. Miller enters the divisional tournament with 2-29 record.
“Chance hasn’t wrestled for several years so we are doing some catching up with him,” said DeCock. “Chance is a very small 103 pounder. We will be looking to get Chance qualified for state and see what happens there.”
Tanner Mannin wrestles at 120 pounds and brings a 13-20 record into the divisional tournament.
“Tanner has been a nice surprise for us,” said DeCock. “He started wrestling last year as a sophomore with no previous experience. Since then he has come a long way. The goal is to get Tanner qualified for state and win a match or two at the state tournament.”
Another freshman on the Golden Eagle squad this year is Treyvn Nave.
“He is a freshman with not much experience, but has made leaps and bounds this year,” DeCock said. “He is still continuing to improve. He is a very large 126 pounder. His size and ability to be a pinner will be on his side this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing how he does.”
Nave enters the divisional tournament with an 18-21 record.
“Caleb Birdwell is probably our most experienced wrestler of the group,” DeCock said. “He has had his fair share of injuries over the year, so he doesn’t have as many matches as we would like going into divisionals. Caleb is determined to get a divisional and state title.”
Birdwell has wrestled at both 132 and 138 pounds during the year. The junior currently has a 22-5 win-loss record. At last year’s state tournament, Birdwell finished second in the 120-pound weight class.
Another freshman on this year’s Fergus team is Duane Otto.
“Consistency is going to be key for Duane,” said DeCock. “Being able to put a whole match together and limit his mistakes will parallel the success he has. I look forward to Duane getting better and being a big part of this team in the future.”
Wrestling at 138 or 145 pounds, Otto’s current record is 24-13.
“Chase Farrar just continues to surprise people,” said DecCock. “He finds a way to win. Chase’s biggest improvement this year is on his feet. He has gotten so much better. Chase has always been tough on top and bottom, but the improvement in the neutral position is what is going to carry him through divisionals and deep into the state tournament.”
The junior wrestles at either 145 or 152 pounds and brings a 28-13 record into the divisional tournament.
“Grady Gilpatrick continues to work hard and get better,” said DeCock. “Last year, he was a first-year wrestler who only had a couple of wins and now he is in double digit wins (12-25) this year. He has an incredible work ethic and always has a smile on his face. The future is bright for Grady, and I am looking forward to seeing him make his first state tournament.”
Gilpatrick is the only sophomore on the wrestling squad.
Another strong junior on this year’s team is Alex Wickens. Wickens placed second at 152 pounds at state last year, losing to Havre’s Peyton Filius in the championship bout.
“Alex has been fun to watch develop over the last few years,” DeCock said. “He is going from an average wrestler to one of the top kids in the state, regardless of class. Alex puts forth the effort and is always wanting to get better. His goal is to do one better than last year by finishing as a state champion.
Wrestling at 160 or 170 pounds, Wickens has a 35-7 record.
“Wyatt Blythe just goes and goes and goes,” said DeCock. “He is relentless during the six minutes of a match and there are not many kids who would want to go any longer than that with Wyatt. One never has to question his toughness or the effort of Wyatt. Like Alex and Caleb, Wyatt will be shooting for a state title this year, in order to improve on his second-place finish from last year.”
Competing at 170 pounds last year, Blythe was the only Golden Eagle to win a divisional crown last year. This year competing at 170 or 182 pounds, Blythe enters the divisional tournament with a 28-6 record.
The only senior on this year’s squad is Bradley Denton.
“Brad has been wrestling very well the last few weeks, and I hope he peaks at the right time to finish off his career as a state placer. I have no doubt in my mind that he can accomplish this.”
Denton competes at 182 pounds and has a current 19-13 record.
“Brady Boyce is another one of our juniors who continues to get better,” DeCock said. “He knows that if he limits the number of mistakes he makes, the more matches he wins. Brady has been a bonus point machine for us with 29 pins.”
Boyce wrestles at 205 pounds and has a current 29-15 record.
Fergus’s final wrestler is a freshman and is in his first year of wrestling. Elijah Greenberg wrestles at 285 pounds and has a record of 3-22 wrestling in a very tough weight class.
“We are really excited about Elijah and what the future holds,” said DeCock. “He has gotten better every week and is learning a lot. Elijah has been an unexpected addition to the team.”
Follow the Fergus wrestling team at the divisional tournament on Facebook and look for complete results from the super-divisional tournament in next Wednesday’s edition of the News-Argus.
 

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