The Northern B/C Divisional Tournament was hosted by Conrad this year and the Shelby Coyote wrestling team was ready to compete and place some of its wrestlers on the podium. Six wrestlers filled the lineup for the Coyote squad: Harold Miller (126lbs), Chase Evans (126lbs), Berlin Larson (132lbs), Tyler Larson (145lbs), Bryant Mertz (145lbs) and Cameron Brusven (170lbs). After the statistics were tallied and the coaches congregated at the annual seeding meeting Harold Miller and Tyler Larson were seeded second and Cameron Brusven was seeded first.
The long-awaited tournament includes teams from Chester/Joplin-Inverness, Chinook, Choteau, Conrad, Cut Bank, Fairfield, Fort Benton/Big Sandy, Harlem, Malta/Whitewater, Hays-Lodgepole, Shelby, Simms and Valier.
After the day was done and the battles were decided, the Shelby Coyotes placed four on the podium and placed ninth as a team. Cameron Brusven led the charge by placing first at 170 lbs. Harold Miller placed second and Chase Evans placed sixth at 126 lbs. Tyler Larson rounded out the effort by placing fourth at 145lbs. Only the top four in each weight advance to the state tournament in Billings.
Harold Miller defeated Hunter Combs, of Conrad, by fall in 3:55 in the quarter-finals, won by fall over Caleb Simpson, of Cut Bank, by fall in 5:12 in the semi-finals and then lost to Roper Mycke, of Conrad, in the finals by decision 11-4.
Chase Evans lost to Caleb Simpson in the quarter-finals by fall in 3:30, defeated Hunter Combs, of Conrad, in the consolation bracket by fall in 2:46, lost to Dayne Sullivan, of Simms, by decision 7-4 and then lost to Aiden Copenhaver in the fifth/sixth place match by fall in 4:28.
Berlin Larson, one of only a handful of girls in the tournament, lost to Beau Peace, of Fairfield, by fall in :50 and lost to Jacob Hjartarson, of Cut Bank, by fall in :12.
Bryant Mertz lost to the first-seeded Ronnie Barnhill, of Conrad, by fall in :41 and lost by fall to Bridger Gouchenour, of Conrad, by fall in 1:08.
Tyler Larson got a first-round bye, lost to Camryn Mears, of Malta/Whitewater, in double OT 5-4, defeated Bridger Gouchenour, of Conrad, by fall in 2:26 and lost to Colten Barsness, of Cut Bank, in the third/fourth place match by decision 6-2.
Cameron Brusven defeated Cole Troy, of Fairfield, by fall in 3:06 in the quarter-finals, defeated Peter Johnson, of Simms, by fall in 3:38 and defeated JT Hauer, of Chinook, by fall in 3:19 to win the 170 lb. bracket.
Cam, Harold, and Tyler will travel to Billings this Thursday to compete for the top of the podium at their respective weight classes.
“I am excited for the kids that made it through. Our guys are at the top of their game right now and are ready to put up a fight,” said Coach Thad White. “Anything can happen on a stage as big as the one they will be on in Billings. We will have a short work week to prepare mentally. This sport is as much mental as it is physical. After running miles and miles and completing thousands of push-ups and sit-ups this season, the boys are physically ready but they have to prepare for the mental toll this sport can dish out. Regardless of the outcome, our town can be proud of our kids. They sacrifice so much to be part of the oldest and best sport in the world.”
Wrestling will commence on Friday morning at the MetraPark in Billings and will continue into Saturday evening. The atmosphere is electric and the competition is fierce. The Shelby Coyotes are looking forward to this opportunity.