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Vanderwall, Fuhrman lead P-HS in Kato


January 30, 2020

John Hamilton

BEFORE THE DQ - Sandpoint's Malchi Fleck and Conrad Vanderwall of Plains-Hot Springs face off early in the 138 pound title match at TFHS Saturday. Fleck was disqualified for using an illegal move and Vanderewall was awarded the championship.

Plains-Hot Springs coach Jeff Kujala likes where his Savage Horsemen are at as far as being ready for the rest of the season goes, now he wants his wrestlers to think about going other places – like the State B-C tournament in Billings, Feb. 14-15.

"I am happy with where we are at as far as how the kids are performing," he said. "Now we need to think about finishing strong with the tournaments coming up."

Fresh off the Ted Kato Memorial tourney in Thompson Falls Saturday, where Conrad Vanderwall won the title at 138 pounds and Gage Fuhrman won fourth place at 145, the Savage Horsemen will visit Thompson Falls for a dual match Thursday and will complete regular season action Saturday hosting Bigfork and Arlee for a triangular in Hot Springs starting at 11 a.m.

"There is not a whole lot of season left but we continue progressing," Kujala said. "We look for some good action this week to help us prepare for what's ahead."

Also wrestling in the Ted Kato tourney Saturday were P-HS grapplers Brady Schrenk (113 pounds), Mason Elliott (120), Peter Carey (132), Bert DeTienne (152), Jesse Uski (160) and Stephen Yother (205). Elliott, Carey and Uski fell only one match win short of the consolation final and placing in the top four.

Vanderwall, the No. 3 ranked 138-pounder in the latest Montana B-C rankings, led the way for Plains-Hot Springs in the Kato. After pinning Austin Reeves of Priest River in 27 seconds in the quarterfinals, Vanderwall then squeezed the fight out of Robert Dempsey of Mission-Charlo, registering a technical fall win of 15-0 by early in the third period.

In the championship, Vanderwall faced off against Sandpoint's Malachi Fleck. Fleck had advanced to the final while gaining attention for his physical style of wrestling, which featured lots of hand action to his opponents' heads during faceoffs.

The heavy-handed action started early in the 138 championship match, and the referee warned Fleck about it a few times. Finally, in a pique of anger, Fleck performed an illegal move, flipping Vanderwall to the mat, and was promptly disqualified at that point.

John Hamilton

THE 1979 AND 1980 Thompson Falls State B-C wrestling championship teams were honored Friday during dual match action at TFHS. Charlie Gardner, Jr., Mike LaBrosse, Kenny Brickzin, Randy McKenzie, Ron Eldridge, Pat Milner, Larry Milner, Lynn McCloskey and Shawn Allen were the members of those two teams who were present.

"We had a long talk before the match about how to approach this opponent," Kujala said, "and Conrad did an outstanding job of keeping his composure."

Vanderwall's valuable practice partner (and vice versa), Fuhrman lost to eventual champion Brady Nelsen of Sandpoint in the 145 quarterfinals but battled his way back after that. Fuhrman pinned three straight opponents – sticking Colten Rice of Florence in 43 seconds, Brody Skillicorn of Big Sky in 53 seconds and Wesley Buchanan of Clark Fork in 1:07 – to land in the conso final.

Fuhrman lost by decision to Arlee's Colt Crawford in that match for third and fourth.

"Gage had a good tournament," Kujala said, "and he wrestled well Friday, too." The Savage Horsemen hosted a quadrangular, involving P-HS, Mission-Charlo, Bigfork and Arlee Friday, which also served as senior night in Plains.

After missing much of the first half of the season, Carey continues to round into fighting shape. "Peter is getting closer to where we want him to be every week," Kujala said.


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