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Youth grapplers compete at the Monster Match Nationals


November 8, 2018

Courtesy Photo

THE MONSTER MATCH MASHERS - Wrestlers and coaches who attended the Monster Match Nationals in Denver last weekend include Dan Sundstrom, Kevin Sparks, Trey Thompson, Josiah Vanderwall, Garrett Jones, Trae Thilmony, Paul Sundstrom, Dakota Irvine, Roman Sparks, Buddy Doolin, Eli richards, Zach Morrison, Elijah Ratliff, Max Hannum, Andrew Sundstrom, Brandon Fisher, Ian Taylor and Mike Thilmony.

As far as youth wrestling tournaments go, they don't come much bigger than the Monster Match Nationals.

Wrestled in Denver each year about this time, the Monster Match usually attracts competitors from all across the country. This past weekend, there were 14 grapplers from this little part of the world participating in Denver.

Coach and trip organizer Mike Thilmony said that more than 1,700 wrestlers from 29 states, including the 14 from western Montana and northern Idaho that he was with, attended this season's Monster Match event.

"It was a great trip, the kids had a good time with the whole weekend," Thilmony said. "The competition was extremely tough, especially in the high school division, but the kids we took down there all wrestled great. It was well worth the trip for everyone."

Thilmony's son Trae Thilmony, a freshman at Thompson Falls, turned in perhaps the best result from a Sanders County grappler by winning fifth place in the 15 and Under (15-U) 116-pound weight class, going 5-2 in his matches.

Brandon Fisher also won fifth place in the 15-U Heavyweight division and Dakota Irvine was sixth in the 18-U 195 class. Fisher was 0-2 in his matches in Denver and Irvine went 4-3.

Highlighting the efforts of the other Sanders County grapplers in Denver, Andrew Sundstrom was 0-2 (10-U, 100 pounds), Paul Sundstrom 0-2 (12-U, 66), Elijah Ratliff 1-2 (15-U, 116), Max Hannum 0-2 (15-U, 123), Garrett Jones 1-2 (18-U, 113), Roman Sparks 1-2 (18-U, 126) and Josiah Vanderwall 2-2 (18-U, 138).

From outside of Sanders County but also making the trip: Eli Richards won second place with a 2-1 record at 15-U, 144; Buddy Doolin went 3-2 at 18-U, 120; and Trey Thompson was 3-2 at 18-U, 145. Richards hails from Bonners Ferry and the other three wrestlers are from Libby but were invited to join the contingent.

Coach Thilmony said the local grappling entourage also attended the College All-Star Classic, pitting the No. 1 and 2 ranked wrestlers from around the country, Friday night. That meet also included exhibition matches with some of the best high school wrestlers from around the United States.

"There were a couple of Montana high school wrestlers competing, and that was good for our kids to see," he said. "And the wrestling was top-notch, we all really enjoyed it."

Thompson Falls High School coach Ian Taylor and Blue Hawk Wrestling Club coaches Dan Sundstrom and Kevin Sparks also made the trip to Denver last week.


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