Cut Bank’s Austin Vanek works to turn Havre’s Orian Thivierge during their 160-lb. semi-final match Saturday at the Cut Bank Booster Invitational. Vanek won the bout with a 14-3 major decision to advance to the finals.

The Cut Bank Wolves hosted their annual Booster Invitational last weekend at the Willie DeGroot Gymnasium and three local grapplers earned a spot on the podium, led by sophomore Austin Vanek’s second place finish. Fellow sophomore Matt Larson finished third on the weekend while senior Andrew Andersen placed fifth. As a team the Wolves finished ninth overall out of 29 teams with 99 points. Class A Havre scored 211 points to take home the team title. 

Vanek, wrestling at 160, opened the weekend by pinning Colter Ball of Fort Benton in 1:00. In the second round Vanek needed 1:39 to pin Cyrus Richardson of Manhattan. Vanek also pinned his quarterfinal opponent, Miles Hoerauf of Whitehall, in 2:44 to reach the semifinals where he dominated Orion Thiveierge of Havre in a 14-3 major decision. In the championship match, Vanek was defeated by Duane Otto II of Class A Lewistown in a 7-1 decision. 

Larson also pinned his first three opponents at 138. He opened with a victory over Marcus Genia of Poplar in 3:41 and followed that up with a second round pin of Colton Picco of Lewistown in just 43 seconds. In the quarterfinals Larson pinned Valier’s Joe Ramos in 1:32 to reach the semifinals. Larson was pinned by Eureka’s Nathan Schmidt in the semis and was sent to the consolation semifinal where he defeated Kale VanCampen of Havre in a tight 3-2 decision to reach the consolation final. In a battle for third, Larson earned a 4-2 decision over Forrest Fairbanks of Manhattan. 

Andersen needed just 14 seconds to win his opening match at 152, where he pinned Malta’s Spencer Gibbs. He followed that up with a pin over Dakota Dixon of Simms in 37 seconds. Andersen pinned Logan Boadle of Poplar of 1:25 to reach the semifinals where he was pinned by Connor Harris of Havre in 1:15. In the consolation semifinals Andersen dropped a tight 2-1 decision to Riley Forcella of Whitehall but battled back to pin Miguel Perez of Fairfield and claim fifth place. 

A trio of Wolves wrestlers picked up two victories each on the weekend. Caleb Simpson pinned his opening round opponent, Hunter Combs of Conrad, in 1:21 before dropping his second round match to Cooper Birdwell of Lewistown. Simpson pinned Simms’ Dayne Sullivan in the consolation bracket but was eliminated in his next match by Walker Murphy of Mission/Charlo by a pin in 1:39. 

Mariah Wahl opened the weekend with two quick pins as she needed just 37 seconds in each of her first two matches to pin Berlin Larson of Shelby and Payton Klinger of Poplar. Wahl was pinned in 1:10 in the quarterfinals by Levi Wagner of Three Forks and was eliminated by Dominick Perkins of Havre in her next match. 

Wes Ombsberg dropped his opening match to Robert Running Rabbit of Browning but bounced back to win back to back matches in the consolation bracket. Omsberg pinned John Matt of Arlee in 1:28 and followed that up by pinning teammate Alen Nelson in 1:29 before being eliminated by CJI’s Ruebin Swenson by pinfall. 

Several Cut Bank grapplers picked up one victory on the weekend: Bradin Murphy, Kierrin Rooney, Shane Barcus, Jacob Hjartarson, Brock Barcus, Dalton Estey, Jeremy Gallagher and Alen Nelson all went 1-2 to pick up team points for the Wolves. While Elijah Greene, Hunter Kennedy, Dakota Manecke, Tristan Sydenstricker, Wyatt Berkram, Raice Strand, Brant Seewald, Colten Barsness and Giovanni Gibson all went 0-2. 

The Wolves will be back on the mat this week as they travel to the Fairfield Mixer on Thursday before heading to the annual Choteau Classic on Friday and Saturday.

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