Whitefish wrestlers finish 4-3 at Class A Duals in Belgrade

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In a long-fought and close-scoring match, Whitefish’s Dakota Flannery, at 138, is awarded the only take down of his 3-2 win against Libby’s Jeff Offenbecher on Jan. 15 in Libby. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

The Bulldogs brought their all to the Class A Duals last weekend, finishing the tournament with a winning 4-3 record.

Whitefish beat Glendive, Miles City, Billings Central and Livingston-Park in the duals, while losing to the Beaverhead Country team, Frenchtown and Hardin.

Dakota Flannery (138) went undefeated in the tournament, while Camren Ross lost only one match.

Head coach Ryan Boyle said the highlight of the tournament for him was edging out Miles City in a close win.

The dual came down to Robert Bertlesen, who stepped up to wrestle at 170 instead of his usual 160. Bertlesen won by fall over Liam Pauley to secure the go-ahead points and the win for the Dogs.

“That was a really cool moment for this team,” Boyle said. “Everybody was excited and screaming and yelling and jumping out of their chairs. That’s exactly what you want for a tournament like this.”

Boyle said Bertlesen wasn’t alone in switching weight classes for the tournament.

He had a number of kids changing things up to fill gaps against different team and avoid forfeits, which have plagued the Dogs so far.

“Everybody was super responsive to that,” Boyle noted. “Everybody was buying into the whole dual concept — ‘Put me where you need me to be.’”

All in all, it was a strong weekend for his wrestlers.

“There are some guys that came through and won some big matches. Some of our older kids really stepped up. Our younger kids had a rougher time in terms of wins and losses, but without them filling those weight classes we wouldn’t win those duals. It was definitely a team weekend,” Boyle said.

Earlier in the week the Dogs tied with Libby/Troy in a Northwest A dual.

Whitefish and Libby/Troy went to a 33-all tie, with most of the teams’ points coming from forfeits and pins.

There were six forfeits (103, 113, 126, 170, 182 and 285), including one double forfeit.

Bertlesen got the Dogs’ lone pin at 160, compared to Libby’s four.

Flannery (138) got a big win by decision for the Bulldogs as well.

This week Whitefish will host a Friday meet featuring Bigfork, Bronwing, Columbia Falls, Eureka, Glacier, Polson, Libby and Thompson Falls.

All season long the team has been improving, Boyle said, and this week is about continuing that trend.

“We’ve just got to get better. We’ve been doing that, we got better at Post Falls and the Class A duals and we’ve got to get better again,” he said. “We’re getting closer. We’re on the right track.”

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