The Valier Panthers are sending three grapplers to the All-Class State Tournament in Billings this weekend after an impressive weekend at the Northern B/C Divisional Tournament in Conrad. Brett Monroe pinned his way to the title at 205 while Joe Ramos finished second at 138 and Kasen Kovatch picked a great weekend to earn his first placement of his career.
“If you were to ask any of the coaches we all lost a lot of sleep worrying about qualifying our kids for State,” said head coach Clayton Gernaat. “It was a tough week with the loss of Ty Curry to injury. We didn’t know how the kids would respond, but they really rose to the occasion and did a great job.”
Monroe pinned Mikkel Rider of Harlem in the semifinal round before needing just 1:49 to stick Kolter Bouma of Fairfield in the title match.
Ramos entered the tournament as the sixth seed at 138 but went 3-1 to finish second. Ramos opened with a pin over Dallas Biggers of Conrad in 3:01 to reach the quarterfinals. Ramos then pinned Braden Evans of Fort Benton in 4:29 before earning a 9-7 decision over second seeded Cael Giles of Fairfield to reach the final. Ramos was defeated by Cut Bank’s Matt Larson in the title match by pinfall in 2:44.
“Joe couldn’t have wrestled better and we were so excited for him,” said Gernaat.
Kovatch lost his opening round match to Miguel Perez of Fairfield and was dropped to the consolation bracket. He bounced back with a pin over Cut Bank’s Brant Seewald in 2:23 and followed that up by pinning Spencer Gibbs of Malta in 2:42. Kovatch earned a 6-3 decision over Morgan Axtman of Fort Benton in the consolation semifinals, securing his trip to the State Tournament. Kovatch fell to Tyler Schoen of Chinook in the final to place fourth.
“Kasen came in as the seventh seed and wrestled the best tournament of his career,” said Gernaat. “This was his first placing at a tournament and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We were so happy for him that he could reach his personal goal of qualifying for the State Tournament.”
The Panthers will be in Billings on Friday and Saturday for the All-Class State Tournament held at the Metra.