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Blue Hawk wrestlers battle through ultra-tough Choteau Tournament


January 23, 2020

With only about a month of the season remaining, it’s time for Montana prep wrestlers to gather amongst themselves, fight it out and build the pecking order for what really counts – the upcoming divisional and state tournaments.

The Choteau tournament last week and the Kato Memorial in Thompson Falls this week are just such the kind of places where champions are forged, made by flesh and blood struggles.

Thompson Falls coach Mike Thilmony was very satisfied with his Blue Hawks last week at the Choteau Tournament in spite of the fact that the Hawks had only one placer – Trae Thilmony won second place at 120 pounds – and scored 38 team points in the two-day wrestle-fest on the Hi-Line.

“I am not disappointed, the kids really battled in Choteau, everyone wrestled a lot of quality matches,” he said. “We got a lot out of this tournament, even if we didn’t end up with many medals or compete for team honors.”

What Thilmony liked best about the Choteau tourney was the atmosphere surrounding it, and the fact that the organizers ran it exactly like the state tournaments are run.

“It was a dogfight, the most competitive Choteau Tournament I have seen,” he said, “and they mirror it to the state tourney with the same bracket system, so you get a good feel for what that is like.”

The favorite to win the State B-C team title in Billings next month, Glasgow swept to the Choteau crown with 173 points, Western B-C power Mission-Charlo was second with 114.5 and Townsend third with 114.

“There were 36 teams in it,” Thilmony said, “and we learned that Class B-C is very deep in talent this year. It was good to get a close-up look at everyone like this before we go to state.”

Trae Thilmony’s run to his second place medal was a highlight for the Hawks in Choteau.

Facing familiar nemesis Tanner Cook of Columbus in the championship match, Thilmony took a 5-4 lead into the third period but saw Cook come back to claim the 9-6 decision win.

“One-twenty is a tough weight class and Trae did a good job of competing,” father Thilmony said. “We look forward to seeing everyone again in Billings.”

Elijah Ratliff also had a fine tournament at 132 pounds, just missing out on landing a berth in the match for fifth and sixth.

Shane Reishus (138), Derek Andersen (145), Lucas Andersen (152), Josh Baldwin (160), Dane Chojnacky (170) and Will McPherson (285) also all wrestled for Thompson Falls-Noxon in Choteau.


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