Whitefish wrestlers got their season started at the Owen Invitational in Pablo last weekend.
Dakota Flannery was the team’s top finisher, taking second at 138. Nathan Sproul took third at 103.
As a team, Whitefish finished 17th overall in a competitive meet featuring Class AA and A schools.
Head coach Ryan Boyle said for a variety of reasons, he brought a small group to Pablo.
“It’s the beginning of the year, we still have some kids that don’t have enough practices, kids who sat out with ankles and stuff like that,” he said. “We had 10 out of the 17 kids wrestling, so it wasn’t like our full team was out there. But we wrestled well.”
This year’s team is balanced between a group of seven freshmen learning the ropes and a group of experienced wrestlers with their eyes on state.
Four of five state qualifiers from last season return to the mat, including Sproul, Flannery, Dean Kellogg and Robert Bertlesen.
For the experienced wrestlers, this season is about seeing the results from work put in during the offseason, Boyle said.
“We expect to have guys on the podium at the state tournament, no doubt about it. We’ve had some guys that have really stepped up in the offseason, traveling the country to wrestle and then being in the weight room consistently over the summer, spring and fall. Guys that have put forth a lot of effort to succeed,” Boyle said.
On the other side of things, these first few weeks of wrestling are all about getting the freshmen used to varsity wrestling.
“We have seven freshman out of our 17. So most of them have never been in a high school wrestling room. They haven’t been out on a mat a lot with varsity competition, so we’re trying to figure out how to get them up to speed,” Boyle said. “Doing the stuff they know but just at a faster pace.”
Whitefish will host the Triangular meet with Browning and Libby on Friday and Saturday. That will be at Whitefish High School starting at 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday at Superior.
17. Whitefish 58
Champ. Round 2 - Nathan Sproul (Whitefish) 4-1 won by fall over Wyatt Zander 0-2 (Fall 0:32)
Quarterfinal - Sproul 4-1 won by fall over Andrew Carmody (Hamilton) 0-2 (Fall 1:09)
Semifinal - Landen Stewart (Frenchtown) 4-0 won by major decision over Sproul 4-1 (MD 11-0)
Cons. Semi - Sproul 4-1 won by fall over Oliver Post (Florence) 3-2 (Fall 1:41)
3rd Place Match - Sproul 4-1 won by decision over Gavin Knutson (Polson) 3-2 (Dec 7-2)
Champ. Round 2 - Matt Foley (Belgrade) 3-3 won by decision over Jackson Carson (Whitefish) 0-2 (Dec 9-4)
Cons. Round 3 - Sheadyn Croft (Ronan) 1-2 won by major decision over Carson 0-2 (MD 13-2)
Champ. Round 2 - Ashton Flamand (Browning) 2-2 won by fall over Alexis Aurand (Whitefish) 0-2 (Fall 1:13)
Cons. Round 3 - Donavin Baker (Polson) 2-2 won by major decision over Aurand 0-2 (MD 13-1)
Champ. Round 1 - Walker Murphy (Mission/Charlo) 5-2 won by major decision over Carter Moran (Whitefish) 1-2 (MD 14-0)
Cons. Round 2 - Moran 1-2 won by major decision over Carson Kateley (Libby) 0-2 (MD 12-2)
Cons. Round 3 - Deegan Martin (Hamilton) 1-2 won by decision over Moran 1-2 (Dec 8-5)
Champ. Round 1 - Kyle Durden (Eureka High School) 5-2 won by fall over Jack Akey (Whitefish) 0-2 (Fall 1:03)
Cons. Round 2 - Joshua Florez (Browning) 2-2 won by fall over Akey 0-2 (Fall 1:12)
Champ. Round 2 - Allan Allsop (Corvallis) 1-2 won by decision over Noah Cooke (Whitefish) 0-2 (Dec 10-3)
Cons. Round 3 - Ricky Thomas (Lake City l) 4-2 won by fall over Cooke 0-2 (Fall 1:52)
Champ. Round 1 - Dakota Flannery (Whitefish) 4-1 won by decision over Benji Opat (Corvallis) 0-2 (Dec 4-3)
Champ. Round 2 - Flannery 4-1 won by fall over Chase Richardson (Lake City) 2-2 (Fall 4:25)
Quarterfinal - Flannery 4-1 won by fall over Ayden Role (Columbia Falls) 4-2 (Fall 3:16)
Semifinal - Flannery 4-1 won by decision over Reece Eckley (Sentinel) 5-1 (Dec 13-9)
1st Place Match - Michael Golden (Hamilton) 4-0 won by decision over Flannery 4-1 (Dec 4-0)
Champ. Round 1 - Jesse Horner (Sentinel) 5-3 won by fall over Carlitos Bertelsen (Whitefish) 0-2 (Fall 5:01)
Cons. Round 2 - Smokey Stoker (Frenchtown) 2-2 won by fall over Bertelsen 0-2 (Fall 3:47)
Champ. Round 1 - Hank Dunn (Eureka) 5-1 won by fall over Hunter Fleming (Whitefish) 1-2 (Fall 0:50)
Cons. Round 2 - Fleming 1-2 won by decision over Caden Plasmier (Florence) 1-2 (Dec 6-4)
Cons. Round 3 - Chance Kittson (Browning) 2-2 won by fall over Fleming 1-2 (Fall 0:40)
Champ. Round 2 - Camren Ross (Whitefish) 2-2 won by fall over Nate Cargill (Eureka) 5-3 (Fall 5:17)
Quarterfinal - Seth Nutting (Lake City) 4-2 won by fall over Ross 2-2 (Fall 4:08)
Cons. Round 4 - Ross 2-2 won by fall over Zane Nordwick (Libby) 2-2 (Fall 3:57)
Cons. Round 5 - Noah Hurst (Hamilton) 4-2 won by decision over Ross 2-2 (Dec 6-1)