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Cut Bank freshman Kanon Branch, left, and junior Caleb Simpson battle it out during a 126-lb. bout at the Wolves intrasquad dual Saturday afternoon at the Cut Bank gym.

The Cut Bank Wolves wrestling team will get their season underway Jan. 2 with a pair of duals in Thompson Falls. Head coach Cody Fetters’ team is led by Austin Vanek, a returning state qualifier. Vanek, a junior, placed at state last year and will look to improve on last season’s third place finish. 

“Austin looks really good right now and has put in as much work this offseason as COVID-19 would allow,” said Fetters. “He has won a couple of big regional tournaments since last season ended and we are excited for what he will do for us this year.”

Joining Vanek on the Cut Bank roster are seniors, Brock Barcus and Dalton Estey; juniors, Wyatt Berkram, Ty Curry, Jeremy Gallagher, Hunter Kennedy, Matthew Larson, Kierrin Rooney, Caleb Simpson, Raice Strand and Mariah Wahl; sophomores, Jacob Hjartarson, Bradin Murphy, Ethan Sullivan and Tristan Sydenstricker; and freshmen, Kanon Branch, Haylee Fetters, Kavin Krapf and Richard Schmidt. Paayton Branch, Avonlea Andersen and Brianne Murphy are the managers for this season’s squad. 

“Although we had a great season last year, we fell short of our goal of bringing home a state trophy,” said Fetters. “We return almost our entire tournament squad with a few big additions. Our freshmen coming in are tough, hard-nosed kids that I expect big things from.”

This year the Montana High School Association added girls wrestling as a separate sport. While Wahl has been in the program since her freshman season, she and Haylee Fetters will be the first members of the Lady Wolves’ wrestling squad. During the regular season they will wrestle their weight classes against both male and female grapplers but there will be a separate women’s bracket at the state tournament. 

With COVID-19 restrictions for this year, the regular season will be filled with dual and triangular meets rather than the usual big invitational formats.  The annual Cut Bank Booster has been cancelled as well as numerous other annual tournaments across the state. 

Cut Bank will host duals with Fairfield on Jan. 8 and Eureka and Glasgow on Jan. 9 as their lone home meets this season. 

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