Wrestlers grapple for Kato glory
January 25, 2024
As a first-time wrestler watcher the 28th annual Ted Kato Invitational was a perfect start. There was no shortage of great wrestling there. I think I even saw the definition of determination, as a wrestler got his dislocated shoulder popped back into place to not only finish his match but win it as well.
Sanders County had two wrestlers take the top spot at the Thompson Falls wrestling tournament, including Blue Hawk Weston Block, an eighth grader who won the 103-pound bracket, and Savage-Horseman Gavin Schrenk, who took the top spot at 126 pounds.
The Savage-Horsemen have a lot to be proud of, taking third as a team with five wrestlers making the podium. Sandpoint, Idaho, took the top team spot with 170.5 points, Priest River was second with 140.5 and Plains third with 129 points.
Gavin Schrenk took first place in the 126-pound weight class, first beating Collin Magers of Priest River. Schrenk went on to win by decision in the quarterfinals, and then he pinned Jeffrey Burton of Fairfield in the semifinals. For the finals Schrenk had a matchup with Cole Standley of Cascade taking the pin and title. Cody West took third place for the same weight class, first having a bye, then losing in the quarterfinals. He came back in the consolation rounds to pin his opponents, including Garrett Monroe of Valier to take third place.
John Waterbury took third at 152 pounds. He pinned his first two opponents, going on to lose by a 3-1 decision to Lucas Kovalsky of Superior in the semifinals. In the consolation semifinals, Waterbury would quickly pin Bo Daniel of Deer Lodge, finding himself in the consolation finals, where he pinned Krugger Pierce of St. Ignatius to take third.
In the 170-pound weight class, Savage-Horsemen David Chapman and Brenden Vanderwall would take second and third, respectively. Chapman had a bye in the first round and went on to pin Rial McGregor of Cascade to make it to the semifinals, where Chapman was able to pin his opponent. In the finals, Chapman fell to Cade Ball of Fort Benton. Vanderwall won his first matchup, but was pinned in his second. Vanderwall would go on to have a bye, and would find himself in the consolation bracket where he took both opponents to the mat. He would go on to take the pin over Keagin Poirier of Priest River for third place.
Matthew Thurston at 113 pounds had a bye for his first round. He went on to be pinned, only to have another bye for his next two consolation rounds. He would go on to be pinned by Bayden Lamanna of Priest River.
In the 132-weight class, Andrew Waterbury lost his first match, then had a bye. He went on to lose by pin to Dean Moran of Arlee.
Beau Crabb found tough competition, getting two wins and two losses in the Ted Kato. After winning his first two matchups, he lost two in a row and missed the podium.
Devin Barnes lost his first matchup in the 160-pound weight class, then went on to pin his next two opponents. Barnes lost the semifinal consolation match by pin.
Gabe Rassumussen had a bye for his first round. He went on to pin Dillon Connelly of Valier and then was pinned by Max Hannum of Thompson Falls. In the consolation bracket, Rasmussen pinned Bridger Smith of Arlee but lost by pin in the finals to take fourth.
Block had a bye the first two rounds, but pinned his opponent in the first period in his first mat action. Block then faced Korbin Pearson of Fairfield, quickly getting the pin and the title.
The only other Blue Hawk to place came as no surprise as Max Hannum took second falling to McCoy Banner of Fairfield in the championship match. Hannum had a bye for his first round, he went on to pin his opponent in the quarter final, he then faced Savage-Horseman Gabe Rasmussen swiftly getting the pin in the semifinals. With that Hannum met Banner in the title match. At the end of regulation the two were tied at 8 and went into sudden death overtime. Banner was able to get the first takedown and won 10-8.
"That match had the whole gym on its feet," Thilmony said of the 182-pound final. "They have been ranked 1 and 2 all year and it was a great match to have in Thompson Falls. To have that competition in your own gym is exciting. Banner wrestled great and Max wrestled great. Max did a great job of firing back to put the match in overtime. That's the champion in him and it's great we saw that. It shows us he's willing to do whatever it takes to win a state title."
Brock Ryan took third in the Ted Kato at 138 pounds, pinning his first two opponents, Ryan went on to be pinned by Colm McLaimtaig of Priest River in the semifinals but wrestled back to third place. Ryan pinned Wyatt Cline of Fort Benton in the second period in the consolation semifinals and in his final match beat Dakota Zeiler of St. Regis by a 9-3 decision. Jonah Sorraco lost his first matchup, he went on to win by decision over Billy Gaertner of Priest River. Sorraco would go on to be pinned in his final match.
In the 120-pound weight class, Blue Hawk Carson Kenney had one win and two losses, with his win being a pin over Troy Rodriguez of Sentinel.
Deigo Long in the 126-pound bracket also had one win and two losses on the day, winning a 12-7 decision over Dallin Covington of Sentinel.
Luke Pastorius and Trevor Peterson fought hard in the 145-pound weight class but were unable to get a win at the home tournament. Also at 145 pounds, Chris Schwab won one match before losing out to the competition.
"We have a young lineup but even the younger inexperienced guys battled deep," Coach Thilmony said of the Blue Hawks. "The consolation semifinals is an important round. We want to see how they compete in those consolation rounds. We have some things we need to clean up and we need to wrestle smarter."
In the 152-pound weight class, junior Noa Stevens won his first match by 13-5 major decision over Grady O'Connor of Arlee. Headed to the quarterfinals Stevens would win this matchup, but would lose in the semifinals due to an injury.
At 285 pounds for the Blue Hawks, freshman Alex Albano had a bye for his first round. He went on to be pinned by Caleb Grow of Priest River. Albano would be pinned in his next two matchups.
After this final week of the regular season, the Blue Hawks will be fine-tuning some things ahead of the divisional tournament Feb. 1 and 2 in Shelby. "The West division has a lot of depth. That tournament is going to be a war," Thilmony said. "We know we've got our hands full."
The Hawks will host Superior and Plains on Thursday for duels. Action starts at 6 p.m. at Thompson Falls High School and the Hawks will celebrate their seniors as well on Thursday.