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Wrestlers finish season at state, look to Iowa

 

March 29, 2018



When you finish the season on top, you keep on wrestling.

Thompson Falls eighth grader Trae Thilmony won first place at the Western Montana Championship wrestling tournament last weekend, and now he and four teammates are on the road to Iowa for a national event.

It’s almost 1,400 miles from Thompson Falls to Des Moines, Iowa. The Thompson Falls wrestlers (Thilmony, Roman Sparks, Elijah Ratliff, Kaleb Frank and Jase Sorenson), along with Coach Mike Thilmony, are making the trek this week for the National Schoolboy Duals. The group will drive to Glendive to join the rest of the Montana team and finish the journey to Iowa.

The Blue Hawk Wrestling Club finished their regular season last weekend at the Western Montana Championships in Kalispell. Coach Thilmony said Trae, wrestling in the junior high 112-pound bracket, had some tough opponents in his quest for his third little guy championship.

Probably not what he faced at the Montana AAU tournament a few weeks ago to qualify for the Iowa duals, but “more than anything he wanted to keep wrestling knowing he’s going to Iowa.”

Trae Thilmony was a bronze All-American in Iowa last year and is hoping to get to the silver or gold level this year.

Coach Thilmony said it was a good effort by all the wrestlers in Kalispell, including some who wrestled up a division. Due to Little Guy rules, if any wrestlers competed prior to the Little Guy season (for example, in the fall), they have to wrestle up a division for the Little Guy championships. Thilmony said that Max Hannum and Isaiah Sprecher both wrestled in a higher division, with Hannum moving up from middle to Junior High as a sixth grader, and Sprecher wrestling at middle instead of novice. Thilmony was impressed with their efforts at the higher level.

“Everyone won matches,” Thilmony said. “We just need some more experience.”

Noa Stevens (Novice-100) and Liam Pallister (Novice-85) also competed in Kalispell. Elijah Ratliff was scheduled to wrestle in Kalispell, but was unable due to illness. Thilmony said that Ratliff will be ready for Iowa this week.

On the other side of the state last weekend, Weston and Hartleigh Block wrestled in the Montana Open in Billings, which Thilmony called the “toughest tournament in Montana by far.” He said wrestlers from Washington, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Idaho and Wyoming gather at the Metra in Billings for the event.

“Those two, for their young age, to go to the Montana Open and win some matches is outstanding,” Thilmony said. Weston Block wrestled in the 8 and under 54-pound division, winning two matches and losing two. His sister, Hartleigh, wrestled in both the boys and girls 6 and under 37-pound divisions, placing sixth among the boys and fourth among the girls.

“We’re very proud of their results over there,” Thilmony said.

For the trip to Iowa, Coach Thilmony said the team represents the best of the best. He said that Thompson Falls has a solid group on the Montana team, with the other western Montana representation being from larger schools such as Libby and Kalispell. “We’re proud of that,” he said.

In Iowa, the Montana team will wrestle five duals in the first day of competition. Based on the results of those matches, the wrestlers will be placed in the brackets for Saturday.

“They go through a lot to make this team,” Thilmony said. “They like the challenge and the Montana team is very competitive.”

 

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