Austin Vanek led a trio of Wolves who placed at the annual CMR Holiday Classic last weekend with a first place finish at 182. Vanek is 16-0 on the season after pinning all five opponents he faced in Great Falls. Ty Curry and Alex Wahl also reached the podium with sixth place finishes for the Wolves.

Vanek pined Aiden Krause of Glacier in his opening match in 3:43 before making short work of Kaleb Kirklin of Helena High, pinning him in just 48 seconds to move to the quarterfinals. Vanek pinned Havre’s Kale VanCampen in 3:14 to advance to the semifinals where he put Malta’s Camryn Mears on his back in 44 seconds to reach the title match. Vanek defeated Billings West’s Chris Garcia in 3:37 to claim the title.

“Austin is on another level right now,” said head coach Cody Fetters. “The time and dedication he has put into wrestling is paying off in a big way.”

Wahl pinned his first three opponents to reach the quarterfinal match where he earned a 3-2 decision over Miguel Ramos of Fairfield. Wahl was defeated by Tugg Taylor of Circle in the semifinal round by a tough 5-4 decision. In the consolation semifinals Wahl dropped a 4-0 decision to Kason Olson of Fergus High and in a battle for fifth Hunter Ketchem outlasted the Cut Bank freshman with a 9-2 decision.

“Alex had an extremely tough bracket,” said Fetters. “He had several state placers and highly ranked kids and to finish on the podium at this tournament is a tough feat for a freshman.”

Curry pinned his first round opponent before earning a 9-2 decision to reach the quarterfinals. Curry defeated Gabriel Price of CMR with a 4-1 decision to get to the semifinals where Drake Rhodes of Billings West pinned Curry in the first period. In the consolation semifinals Curry dropped a 5-2 decision to Wyatt Elam of Fergus and Curry lost a 13-5 major decision to Miles Hoerauf of Whitehall to take sixth.

Richard Schmidt went 3-2 on the weekend at 103. Kellan Cassidy was 0-2 at 120 while Kanon Branch finished 4-2 and just out of placing at 138. Matt Larson won his first three matches at 145 to reach the quarterfinals but dropped back-to-back matches to fall short of placing. Raice Strand went 0-2 at 152. Ashton Cassidy was 0-2 at 170, Ron Grant was 0-2 at 205 and Jeremy Gallagher was 2-0 to reach the quarterfinals but dropped his next two matches and was eliminated at HWT.

As a team the Wolves ended the first day in fifth place out of 59 teams. In the final standings the Cut Bank grapplers were in 15th place.

“Dropping down to 16th was tough to take,” said Fetters. “We had several guys that were a match or two from placing and with the caliber of this tournament it’s always the luck of the draw how you end up in the consolation rounds. We had several good matchups we came up just short in but hopefully that motivates us to get better in the second half of the season.”

Mariah Wahl continued her undefeated season with a 3-0 showing at the CMR Holiday Classic last weekend. Wahl ended the weekend atop the podium and was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, voted on by the coaches.

Wahl pinned Makenzee Neal of Billings West in 42 seconds to open the tournament and followed that by pinning Maria Matosich of Gallatin High in 58 seconds. In the championship match Wahl pinned Jessica Gubler of Park High in the second period to win the title.

“Mariah’s weight class was the toughest in the ladies tournament,” said head coach Cody Fetters.

Haylee Fetters placed third, opening the tournament with a third period pin over Paishance Haller of Glacier High. In the semifinals Fetters was pinned by Norah Larson of Belgrade. Fetters and Haller had a rematch in the battle for third and the local grappler needed just 39 seconds to pin Haller and claim third place.

“Haylee is getting better every time she wrestles,” said Coach Fetters. “With hard work she will be contending for a title at the end of the season.”

Madison Price went 0-2 on the weekend as she was pinned by Jasmine Cartwright of Glacier in the opening round and was eliminated by Gena Pannell of Bozeman in her consolation match.

The Lady Wolves are back on the mat Thursday in Shelby to close out the 2021 season before the holiday break.

For more Cut Bank High School sports coverage of last week’s action, pick up a copy or subscribe to the Cut Bank Pioneer Press at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/

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