Cut Bank 152-pounder Andrew Andersen gets a quick takedown on his way to a 14 second pin over Malta’s Spenser Gibbs in opening round action Jan. 10 at the Cut Bank Booster Club Invitational.

The Cut Bank grapplers had a busy weekend on the mat as they traveled to the Fairfield Mixer last Thursday before spending the weekend at the Choteau Invitational. The Wolves took fifth place out of 35 teams in Choteau led by sophomore duo Austin Vanek and Matt Larson. Vanek won the 160 pound division while Larson placed second at 138. 

Three other Cut Bank mat men also placed as the local grapplers trailed only Glasgow, St. Ignatius, Townsend and Columbus in the team standings. 

Vanek pinned all four of his opponents on the weekend as he spent just 5:34 on the mat. In the opening round the local sophomore needed just 32 seconds to pin Byron Hay of Three Forks. Vanek fallowed that up with a 51-second pin over Cyrus Richardson of Manhattan to reach the semifinals. In his longest match of the weekend, Vanek pinned Avery Meinzen of Florence-Carlton in 3:10. Ty Steele was Vanek’s victim in the championship match. He needed just 52 seconds to pin the wrestler from Townsend. Along with the title, Vanek also took home the Quick Pin Award. 

Larson pinned Brent Kelly of Columbus in 1:48 to open the weekend. In the quarterfinals Larson earned a 10-6 decision over Forrest Fairbanks of Manhattan to reach the semis. Larson reached the finals with a 8-4 semifinal decision over Easton Held of Townsend. Nathan Schmidt of Eureka pinned Larson in the title match in 4:00, giving the local grappler a second place finish. 

Freshman Bradin Murphy placed fifth at 103. After suffering a first round loss to Will McDonnell of Three Forks by a 4-3 decision, Murphy won back-to-back matches over Poncho Ibenez of Eureka and Max Giles of Fairfield. 

In the consolation semifinals, Murphy fell to Trevor O’Hara of Fort Benton by pinfall in 1:39 but the Cut Bank grappler bounced back to avenge his earlier loss to McDonnell as he pinned him in 5:27. 

Sophomore Caleb Simpson also placed fifth at 126. Simpson fell to Roper Mycke of Conrad by pinfall in his opening match but bounced back to pin Preston Hastings of Cascade in the consolation bracket. Simpson then advanced after a forfeit from Roman Sparks of Thompson Falls. He reached the consolation semifinals after defeating Porter Blancard of Manhattan by an 11-8 decision. Simpson was pinned by Cooper Cook of Columbus in the consolation semis but he battled back and needed just 18 seconds to pin Harold Miller of Shelby to place fifth. 

Colten Barsness placed sixth at 145, opening with a pin over Sam Lane of Townsend in 2:26. In the quarterfinal round, Barsness was pinned by Colt Crawford of Arlee. Barsness stayed alive as he won back-to-back consolation matches over Malaki Hvamsted of Fairfield and Bridger Gouchenour of Conrad to reach the consolation semifinals. Barsness was pinned by Isaac DuMontier of St. Ignatius and then fell a second time to Crawford to place sixth. 

Kierrin Rooney went 2-2 in the tournament and was one match away from placing in the top six. Hunter Kennedy, Tristan Sydenstricker, Jeremy Gallagher and Wes Omsberg all went 1-2 in varsity action in Choteau while Elijah Greene and Alen Nelson went 0-2. 

In the JV bracket Mariah Wahl went 3-1 to place third while Ethan Sullivan, Sydenstricker, Jacob Hjartarson, Brock Barcus, Raice Strand and Tobias Alvarez each picked up two victories. Dalton Estey, Greene, Kennedy, Gallagher and Omsberg each earned one victory while Nelson, Brandt Seewald and Giovanni Gibson were winless in the JV event. 

Last Thursday in a two- round mixer in Fairfield Wahl, Larson and Vanek all went 2-0 to lead the Wolves. Greene, Sydenstricker, Simpson, Hjartarson, Barsness, Alvarez, Gallagher and Omsberg each went 1-1 and Kennedy, Barcus, Strand, Seewald, Estey and Gibson went 0-2. 

The Wolves are back in action this week as they travel to Valier on Thursday for a mixer followed by a mixer in Chinook on Friday. Saturday the Wolves will be competing at the Harlem Invitational.

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