P-HS wrestlers compete at State B-C
February 20, 2020
It’s the State B-C tournament and it’s like regular season wrestling on steroids; if you want to compete you had better be the best prepared you can be.
Coach Jeff Kujala’s Plains-Hot Springs Savage Horsemen team of four – Brady Schrenk at 113 pounds, Mason Elliott at 120, Conrad Vanderwall at 138 and Bert DeTienne at 152 – got a good look at the State B-C tournament in Billings last week, and he wants them to remember what they just saw.
“State is always a wake-up call,” Kujala said. “It can be a brutal place if you are not ready for it.
“But it is also a good learning experience about a place where you are going to have to rise to the challenge if you want to compete,” he added. “And it represents the time to start working for next season because the kids that are really successful in this sport are the ones that work hard at it all year-round.”
Knowing the hard work required to succeed at this level, learning those lessons along with and through his son Russell Kujala, a two-time individual B-C champion several seasons ago, coach Kujala said he figured his young team may be hard-pressed to truly excel this year, but looks for improvement in the future as a result of getting this far this time.
Vanderwall, after finishing a strong second at 138 pounds in the Western B-C divisional tourney, looked to be P-HS’s biggest threat to medal in Billings this year.
After an encouraging start, pinning Shane Soul of Malta-Whitewater in 5:30 of the first round, Vanderwall then lost a 16-5 decision to Canyon Casterline of Circle in the quarterfinals. Faced with elimination, Vanderwall then lost a 10-4 decision to Garrett Sholley of Huntley Project in the consolation round.
A senior, Vanderwall was a team leader for the Savage Horsemen this season.
“We thought Conrad had a legitimate shot at earning a medal,” Kujala said. “But he was little under the weather last week, not quite up to par, and that hurt him.”
Schrenk lost his opening round match by pin to Cooper Lane of Huntley Project, but won an 11-2 major decision from Rebecca Stroh of Chinook to stay alive in the consolation bracket. Cameron Mikesell of Malta-Whitewater eliminated Schrenk in the consolation quarterfinals.
Elliott fell to Circle’s Tugg Taylor by fall in the first round out to Cascade’s Nate Wadlow by pin in the consolations, and DeTienne was also eliminated in two matches, losing to Andrew Anderson of Cut Bank in the first round and Klause Rauser of Townsend in the consolation.