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Wrestlers hit the mat for Holiday Classic in Great Falls

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | December 21, 2022 1:00 AM

Two Whitefish athletes placed last weekend at the CMR Holiday Classic in Great Falls, which is a massive two-day tournament that pins athletes from all over Montana, all classes, against each other.

Whitefish coach Danny Neff says it is one of the biggest and toughest wrestling tournaments in the state at the high school level.

“We haven’t had anyone place at the CMR Holiday Classic for a few years now so that was really exciting to see,” Neff said.

Bulldog junior Henry Bennetts and freshman Sam Bennetts, brother and sister, placed sixth at the tournament. Sam Bennetts placed in the girls’ 120-pound division and Henry Bennetts placed at 160 pounds.

Sam wrestled in seven matches over the two days. She went 4-3 and lost in the fifth-place match to Ryleigh Warner, lasting 3:52 before getting pinned.

“Sam is fun to coach, there’s a lot of things we can work on, just being a freshman there are some silly mistakes that she makes, but more mat time means we fix those errors,” Neff said.

Henry Bennetts fell in his first match of the tournament, setting up a long way back to make it to the placing rounds. He wrestled in eight matches, going 5-3 through the tournament.

“Henry, who is one of our captains, shows a ton of grit in his matches,” Neff said. “He’s been battling injuries really his whole high school career. This year he’s battling an elbow injury. He persevered and pushed through some pain to take sixth.”

Whitefish senior Kitar Olsen wrestled in his first-ever matches as he is trying high school wrestling out this year. In a mixer against Browning and Columbia Falls last Thursday, Olsen went 2-0. At the Holiday Classic, he nabbed another win on the mat before losing the next two rounds.

“Those were his first matches ever, so I’m really excited to see what he can do the rest of the year,” Neff said of Olsen.

Also competing last weekend was Landree Aurand. He won his first match at the Holiday Classic, but had two tough losses after and was eliminated from the tournament. Those eliminated on day one head to the Walt and Trudy Memorial tournament at Great Falls High School on Saturday. Aurand wrestled hard despite the losses from Friday and won the tournament in the 126-pound division.

“He got his mindset for the next day and came out meaning some business. It was really good to see him bounce back. That’s key mentally for kids,” Neff expressed.

The Whitefish team is thin right now with several athletes battling illness or injury, as well as some heading on vacation. Neff is looking forward to the winter break to get the team healthier for the second half of the season. His goal remains to take a healthy, competitive squad to the postseason.

After the break, Whitefish will host a meet with Corvallis, Hamilton and Eureka coming to WHS to compete. The meet will be on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 5 p.m.

Girls

120

5th Place Match

Ryleigh Warner (Anaconda Girls) 8-4, Jr. over Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7, Fr. (Fall 3:52)

Cons. Semi - Emma Klingaman (Chinook Girls) 3-2 won by decision over Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7 (Dec 4-3)

Cons. Round 5 - Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7 won by fall over Destiny Taylor (Belgrade Girls) 3-2 (Fall 2:32)

Cons. Round 4 - Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7 won by fall over Jersey Berg (Billings Senior High School Girls) 5-5 (Fall 2:08)

Quarterfinal - Taylor Lay (Helena Capital Girls) 5-1 won by fall over Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7 (Fall 1:58)

Champ. Round 2 - Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7 won by decision over Destiny Finley (Ronan Girls) 0-2 (Dec 14-11)

Champ. Round 1 - Sam Bennetts (Whitefish Girls) 10-7 won by fall over Senja Lynby-Cox (Billings Senior High School Girls) 0-2 (Fall 1:20)

Boys

126

Champ. Round 2 - Landree Aurand (Whitefish) 7-3 won by fall over Evan Spry (Great Falls CMR) 0-2 (Fall 2:46)

Champ. Round 3 - Joshua Melton (Glacier (Kalispell)) 8-4 won by decision over Landree Aurand (Whitefish) 7-3 (Dec 4-2)

Cons. Round 4 - Devin Grossman (Billings Skyview) 7-1 won by decision over Landree Aurand (Whitefish) 7-3 (Dec 8-2)

138

Champ. Round 1 - Chris Rathjen (Columbia Falls) 13-4 won by fall over Rylan McDaniel (Whitefish) 5-7 (Fall 4:35)

Cons. Round 2 - Rylan McDaniel (Whitefish) 5-7 won by fall over Hawken Haakanson (Harlem) 0-2 (Fall 2:57)

Cons. Round 3 - Jaeger Elmose (East Helena) 5-6 won by decision over Rylan McDaniel (Whitefish) 5-7 (Dec 6-3)

160

5th Place Match

Logan Linn (Belgrade) 10-5, Sr. over Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4, Jr. (Fall 2:10)

Cons. Semi - Conner Kovick (Helena Capital) 5-2 won by major decision over Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 (MD 11-0)

Cons. Round 7 - Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 won in sudden victory - 1 over Zach Cox (Colstrip) 10-8 (SV-1 6-2)

Cons. Round 6 - Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 won by fall over Levi Giles (Great Falls CMR) 2-2 (Fall 4:47)

Cons. Round 5 - Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 won by major decision over Cooper McGovern (Gallatin HS) 8-3 (MD 13-4)

Cons. Round 4 - Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 won in sudden victory - 1 over Tel Holland (Beaverhead Co. (Dillon) / Twin Bridges / Sheridan) 9-7 (SV-1 9-7)

Cons. Round 3 - Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 won by fall over Dameon Furthmyre (Great Falls / MSDB) 0-2 (Fall 2:35)

Champ. Round 2 - Conner Kovick (Helena Capital) 5-2 won by tech fall over Henry Bennetts (Whitefish) 9-4 (TF-1.5 4:59 (19-2))

182

Champ. Round 2 - Kitar Olsen (Whitefish) 1-2 won by fall over Troy Anderson (Beaverhead Co. (Dillon) / Twin Bridges / Sheridan) 3-9 (Fall 3:01)

Champ. Round 3 - AJ Lafurge (Great Falls CMR) 11-2 won by fall over Kitar Olsen (Whitefish) 1-2 (Fall 1:40)

Cons. Round 4 - Logan Sloan (Great Falls CMR) 3-2 won by fall over Kitar Olsen (Whitefish) 1-2 (Fall 3:53)

Walt and Trudy Memorial tournament

126

1st Place Match - Landree Aurand (Whitefish) won by fall over Dayton Brown (Jefferson) (Fall 2:04)

Semifinal - Landree Aurand (Whitefish) won by decision over Ross Tolliver (Great Falls) Dec 5-2

Quarterfinal - Landree Aurand (Whitefish) won by fall over Aiden Files (Great Falls CMR) Fall 0:40

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