Ten Bulldog wrestlers are headed to the state tournament after a solid weekend of wrestling at divisionals.
The team had one individual champion in Dakota Flannery (138), while Nathan Sproul (103) and Camren Ross (152) finished third.
At 113, Jackson Carson edged out Carter Moran for fifth and sixth place. Dean Kellogg took fifth at 120, Noah Cooke sixth at 126, Robert Bertelsen sixth at 160, Ashton Akey seventh at 205 and Carlitos Bertelsen eighth at 145.
The team took seventh overall at the tournament in Butte.
Head coach Ryan Boyle said overall it was a great weekend of team wrestling.
“This year our kids just stepped up a little bit,” Boyle said. “We finished the tournament well. It seemed like they wrestled really well throughout the day, there were some matches we wish we had back but we can’t help that.”
This year’s divisional tournament also saw a doubling of the number of kids going to state compared to last year.
Boyle said he was proud to see his wrestlers take the next step.
“I don’t know if I expected as many [wrestlers going to state],” he said. “We were thinking we could once we got there and saw the seedings, we knew we were going to have a greater number than last year just based on how we’ve been wrestling.”
Boyle also pointed to Akey, a freshman, and commended him for improving through the season to reach Billings.
“For him to earn a spot there at the state tournament is pretty cool,” Boyle said.
Now that his wrestlers are where they’ve been striving to be all season long, Boyle said the focus is on cultivating the right attitude to bring to Billings.
“Talking to the other coaches, it’s a fine line of, ‘Hey guys, this is the state tournament, you need to step up and bring your A-game,’ but you can’t make it so big that they get nervous over it. It’s still a 16-man bracket. Yeah, it’s the best 16 kids in each weight class, but you’ve just got to go out and do what you do best.”
And for his wrestlers returning to state, Boyle says he’s hoping to see a step forward and onto the podium.
“We’re expecting a couple placers. We’re expecting not just one guy on the podium,” he said.
Western A Divisional
Saturday At Butte Central
Polson 221, Frenchtown 220, Columbia Falls 169 ½, Corvallis 150, Browning 142, Libby/Troy 140, Whitefish 126, Dillon 108, Hamilton/Darby 96 ½, Ronan 77, Stevensville/ Victor 52, Butte Central 0.
Top Eight Advance To State
103: 3 - Nathan Sproul of Whitefish
113: 5 - Jackson Carson of Whitefish; 6 - Carter Moran of Whitefish
120: 5 - Dean Kellogg of Whitefish
126: 6 - Noah Cooke of Whitefish
138: 1 - Dakota Flannery of Whitefish
145: 8 - Carlitos Bertelsen of Whitefish
152: 3 - Camren Ross of Whitefish
160: 6 - Robert Bertelsen of Whitefish
205: 7 - Ashton Akey of Whitefish