Hawks hit the mats
Win 7th place in prestigious Bob Owen Invitational
December 12, 2019
The upper MHSA classes have absolutely nothing on Class B-C when it comes to wrestling in western Montana.
The Thompson Falls Blue Hawks finished a strong seventh and three other Western B-C squads finished in the top nine in team scoring in the 20-school strong Bob Owen Invitational in Polson Friday and Saturday.
Class A power Frenchtown won the meet with 186 points, Lake City out of Coeur d’Alene was second with 179, Class AA schools Belgrade (176) and Missoula Sentinel (165) were third and fourth, Mission-Charlo (143) fifth, Superior (128) sixth and Thompson Falls (124) seventh.
The Hawks finished ahead of nine other Class A teams and one Class AA squad, in addition to three other Class B teams in the meet. All in all a quality showing by the Blue Hawks.
Blue Hawk coach Mike Thilmony and his new assistant Jase Miller were very happy with their team’s efforts in Polson.
“We easily could have finished sixth,” Thilmony said. “If Roman didn’t get hurt in his consolation match, he probably would have won that and got us enough points to move up in the standings.” A total of five Hawks medaled in Polson.
The second place winner in the State B-C meet at 120 pounds last winter, Roman Sparks settled for fourth in Polson after injuring his knee and defaulting in the 132-pound conso final.
Sophomore Trae Thilmony, who won third at 113 in the State B-C, led the Hawks in Polson with a strong second place finish at 120, losing only 6-5 to Eureka’s Gunnar Smith in the championship match.
Promising freshman Elijah Ratliff, perhaps wrestling a little light at 138, overcame a loss in the quarterfinals to come back and win third place nonetheless, earning an 8-2 win from Jaxon Heinz of Columbia Falls in the consolation final.
Senior Dakota Irvine won third at 205, losing only 5-4 to Mahlon Clark of Lake City in the semifinals (Clark won fourth at State in Idaho last year) in the semifinals before coming back to claim the conso title, earning a major decision (9-1) win over Xaden Cumming of Belgrade in that match.
Junior Dane Chojnacky was the other Hawk to place in Polson, winning sixth place at 170.
Shane Reishus (145), Derek Andersen (145), Lucas Andersen (152), Josh Baldwin (160), Seth Alarcon (182) and Will McPherson (285) also all wrestled and wrestled well, according to coach Thilmony.
“I thought it was a really good tournament for us, I am pleased with our efforts, everyone wrestled well,” he said. “We had five placers, three in the semifinals and seven still alive in the quarterfinal round.”
Even the Hawks’ newbies, guys who had not wrestled in high school before, gained a lot from the meet. “They got the chance to get out there, compete and build some confidence,” Thilmony said, “and they all wrestled hard and learned a lot.”
Thilmony is looking at the big picture as the season moves forward.
“We are filling all the weights above 120 right now and are looking at moving some kids around a little at the lower weights,” he said. “But the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and we will see where it takes us.”
The Hawks have a busy week on tap, participating in the Mission Quadrangular along with Eureka, Plains-Hot Springs and Mission Thursday, and then will grapple in the Bob Kinney Classic tournament in Superior Saturday.
Thilmony said the schools involved were discussing changing the Mission Quad into a dual format, but that could not be verified at press time.
Sparks’ knee injury was checked out by a doctor Monday and no tear was found, but Thilmony said he may still be out for a while recuperating.