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Cut Bank sophomore Austin Vanek locks up with Bridger Williams of Hamilton during their 160-lb. semi-final bout at the CMR Holiday Classic Dec. 21 in Great Falls. Vanek pinned Williams to advance to the championship match where he fell to undefeated Dougie Swanson of Missoula Big Sky.

The Cut Bank Wolves closed out the year at the CMR Holiday Classic Dec. 20-21 where they finished 23rd out of 60 teams. The Wolves were led by Austin Vanek’s second place finish. Vanek may have been the only local grappler to reach the podium but the Wolves scored 70 team points to finish as the fifth highest Class B team in the competition. 

Vanek received a first round bye at 160 before pinning Trevon Fisher of Browning in just 50 seconds in the second round. Vanek followed that up with pins over Connor Lohss of Bozeman in 1:32 in the third round and Brenan Hager of Miles City in the quarterfinals in just 39 seconds. In the semifinals Vanek pinned Bridger Williams of Hamilton before falling to undefeated Dougie Swanson of Missoula Big Sky late in the third period to finish second. 

Matthew Larson went 3-2 at 138. After dropping his opening match to Canyon Casterline of Circle by a 4-1 decision, Larson picked up a 6-0 decision over Cael Giles of Fairfield. Larson then pinned Kolter Kidrick of Whitefish and followed that up with a 5-2 decision over David Kemp of Helena High before being eliminated by Espyn Hostetler of Glendive by a 6-4 decision. 

Andrew Andersen also went 3-2 on the weekend, opening with a pin over Ethan Cramer of Hamilton at 152. Andersen then pinned Kellan Lawhon of CMR JV to reach the third round where he was pinned by Adin Gibson of Livingston. Anderson rebounded with a pin over Nathan Popichak of Great Falls High but was eliminated by Kaden Zimmerman of Glasgow by a 5-1 decision. 

Tristan Sydenstricker, wrestling at 120, went 2-2 in the tournament, dropping his opening match to James Kenelty of Ronan before pinning back-to-back opponents from Missoula and Chinook. Cody Frost of Glacier eliminated the local freshman in the consolation fourth round by pinfall.

Colten Barsness also picked up a pair of victories at 145. After dropping his opening match to Peyton Thiessen of Great Falls, he won back-to-back matches over Tate Hanson of Dillon and Connor Sawyer of Cascade before being eliminated by Mason Whitmer of Glendive. 

Jeremy Gallagher went 2-2 at 205 in the tournament, pinning his opening round opponent from CMR and following that up by pinning Sean Kellegher of Anaconda in the third period. Gallagher then fell to Kolter Bouma of Fairfield in the first period and was eliminated by Tyler Pribbernow of Poplar. 

Caleb Simpson, wrestling at 126, also picked up a victory for the Wolves as he won his opening match by a 12-8 decision over Isaac Ayers of Missoula Big Sky. The local sophomore then dropped back-to-back matches to Irish Furthmyre of Great Falls High and Currey Brown of Miles City to end his day. 

Grapplers who were eliminated on the first day of competition competed in the Walt and Trudy Currie JV Tournament the following day. (See related story.)

Sydenstricker, Simpson, Barsness and Gallaghercompeted in the JV tournament as did Hunter Kennedy, Mariah Wahl, Dalton Estey and Wes Omsberg, who all went 0-2 in the varsity tournament.

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