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P-HS sends six on to State B-C


February 8, 2018

John Hamilton

SCRAMBLE KING Daniel Uli scores three near-fall points against Mission-Charlo's Bailey Weible in the 126 pound title match.

SUPERIOR – Plains-Hot Springs coach Jeff Kujala said he had a feeling when the season started that six of his wrestlers were good enough at the sport and tough enough mentally to earn their ways to the State B-C tournament in Billings at season's end.

That feeling turned into reality Saturday in Superior as six Savage Horsemen – Daniel Uli (first at 126 pounds), Josiah Vanderwall (second at 132), Conrad Vanderwall (third at 120), Austin Stafford (third at 145), Luke Lile (fourth at 160) and Peter Carey (fourth at 113) – earned placing medals at the Western B-C divisional tournament in Superior Saturday and punched their tickets to the biggest high school wrestling show in Montana, the Class B-C portion of the State All-Class tournament at the Metra in Billings this Friday and Saturday.

Plains-Hot Springs finished sixth in team scoring at the Western B-C with 97.5 points. Eureka won the divisional title with 209 points, Thompson Falls (144) was second and Florence (135) third.

Kujala is thinking his sturdy six Savage Horsemen grapplers could put Plains-Hot Springs into the top ten in team scoring in Billings this week.

"At the beginning of the season I figured we had six wrestlers that would probably be able to get to State," Kujala said, "and those six were all able to make it. We wrestled well, even our kids that did not place, and look forward to seeing how we do in Billings."

Uli and Lile both placed in the top six last February in Billings as Uli wrestled down third place at 113 pounds and Lile battled his way to sixth place at 145. Individual State champion James DeTienne (152) and runner-up Kane Lawson (160) led coach Kenny Marjerrison's Savage Horsemen to an impressive fourth place team finish in last year's State B-C meet.

"I think we are capable of finishing in the top ten of team scoring again," Kujala said. "If everyone wrestles like they can we could score well in Billings."

Uli, probably P-HS's best hope for an individual title, has a tough row to hoe if he hopes to pull down that elusive State B-C championship. By the luck of the draw, what appears to be the two other best 126-pounders in the state are on his side of the bracket. Uli has not seen either of those two this season.

"That's all right with us, if you are going to be the best you have to beat the best," Kujala said. "We are confident in Daniel's ability and look forward to seeing how he performs this week."

Uli earned his Western B-C title by beating Mission-Charlo's Bailey Weible by a 10-4 decision in the 126 championship match. Now an impressive 42-1 for the season, Uli won two matches by pin to get into the 126 final Saturday.

Josiah Vanderwall, who sports a 40-3 record at 132, won a major decision, walked through his second match due to an injury to his opponent, and lost by pin to Eureka's Hank Dunn in the chipper.

Stafford improved his season record to 37-12 on his way to third place at 145, winning three matches by pin, including a pin in 2:11 of Florence's Anthony Dulac in the conso final. "Austin is wrestling his best right now," Kujala said.

Still relatively new to wrestling compared to most of his

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opponents and teammates, Conrad Vanderwall continued to impress with his efforts at 120 pounds, winning a match by pin to get into the consolation final, and then winning a 7-2 decision from Eureka's Kyle Durden to secure his third place medal. Conrad has a 30-11 record so far this season.

John Hamilton

TURNING POINT - Plains-Hot Springs senior Luke Lile is about to turn his Clark Fork opponent on his back during action at the Western B-C tourney in Superior Saturday.

Locked into one of the most competitive weight classes in Class B-C this season, Kujala also thinks Lile could repeat his medal-winning performance from a year ago. "Luke has a favorable draw," he said. "It would not surprise me to see him do well." Lile sports a fine match record of 32-17 heading into Billings.

For his part, Carey pinned Austin Warren of Eureka in 55 seconds of the consolation semifinals to clinch a top four spot and a berth at State, but lost to Sanders County rival Garrett Jones after that and settled for fourth place. Nursing an injury lately, Carey will carry a record of 22-20 into the State B-C meet.

Bert DeTienne and Jesse Uski both wrestled at 138 pounds, and Seth Yother at 285 for P-HS in Superior.

Kujala and his fellow coaches Kenneth Beech, Jake Lile and Rocky Wagoner look forward to guiding their Savage Horsemen in Billings, regardless of what the outcomes may eventually be.

"These kids have earned their spots and now have the opportunity to perform on the big stage," he said. "We look forward to seeing how everyone does."


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