Five Statesmen For Scottie Mat Men
By J. Levi Burnfin
Published: Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
As five Scottie wrestlers welcome new opportunities at state, three seniors left the mat for the final time as Scotties.
The Scotties traveled to Wolf Point on Saturday for the Eastern B/C Divisional and five Scotties left with their tickets punched to go to the state tournament.
Mick Reyling, at 105, Jake Shawver, 119, Cody King, 125, Jake Hentges, 125, and Ben Kountz, 140, all were able to place in the top four in Wolf Point and advance to the Metra in Billings.
Reyling, one of only three wrestlers at 105 in the Eastern Division, was guaranteed a spot in state if he made weight. He did. The only thing up for grabs was what seed he would be placed coming out of divisionals.
In the first round, he took on Michael Wark of Shepherd and came away with the win by pin. Reyling then took on oft-wrestled nemesis Maestro Martinez of Wolf Point. Martinez again came out on top with the 9-2 decision.
Shawver had a tougher road to qualification as he wrestled three times overall. He was pinned in his first, but won a 12-0 decision in the consolation bracket to guarantee a spot at state. He lost his final bout, the third-place match, 14-10.
At 125, both King and Hentges won their first match. Hentges also won his second but King was pinned and had to wrestle through the consolation bracket, where he won two in a row to take third place and a spot at state.
Hentges was pinned in the championship match and took second.
Ben Kountz had a bye in the first round at 140 but lost in the second round to the first-seeded Brandon French of Forsyth. That loss set up the unfortunate scenario of having to wrestle fellow Scottie Gage Cusker in a winner-goes-to-state, loser-stays-home match. Kountz came out on top with a pin to move on. He lost in his next match to take the fourth seed.
It won't get any easier at state for the Scotties.
Kountz faces Tryston Kostelecky of Columbus-Absarokee in his first match. Kostelecky took first in the Southern Divisional but is not ranked in the top six at 140.
At 125, King takes on Connor Rogers of Deer Lodge in his first match. Rogers placed second in the Western Divisional and is ranked sixth in the 125-pound class. Hentges is matched up with Chase Rhine of Ronan. Rhine placed third in the West and is ranked fifth.
The most difficult road may be Shawver's path at 119, though.
The 119 class "is about as tough as it can be in the state. There's not an easy match anywhere," said Hallock.
Immediately, Shawver will have to take on third-ranked Zach Durden out of Eureka, who took first in the West. The bright side of that is if Shawver can pull off the big upset, he won't face another ranked wrestler until possibly the quarterfinals.
"It'll be a tough match for him but it's one that he can win," said Hallock.
Finally, Reyling takes on Kenny Stockard of Superior in his first match of the tournament.
Head Coach Byron Hallock noted that the Scotties don't know much about Stockard other than he hasn't been ranked at 105 all year.
"On paper, Mick's a heavy favorite," said Hallock. "But at the Metra, anything's possible."
With a win, Reyling would face Townsend's Sean Roach, who also is not ranked at 105. In fact, the bracket sets up pretty well for Reyling, who won't see a ranked wrestler until the quarterfinals if he wins his first two matches. Reyling also won't see top-ranked Martinez again until the championship match if both win out.
While those five have a tough couple of days ahead of them in the Metra, nothing was tougher than saying good bye to three seniors, according to Hallock, whose choked up just a bit talking about this group.
He noted that they're a good group that worked hard and put the team before themselves.
Earlier this year, after some attrition at the heavier weights on the team, Robbie Henville decided to stay in the heavyweight class despite his ability to drop down to the 215 class because it was best for the team. The Scotties already had two wrestlers at 215 and if Henville dropped down, where he probably would have benefited, the Scotties would have been without a heavyweight. So in interest of the team results, Henville volunteered to stay.
"Robbie went down swinging [at divisionals.] He went for the win in his last match and got caught. He gavee it about as good of an effort as he could have," said Hallock. "Hardly anybody works harder than Robbie."
The same could be said for Cusker, who was new to the Scotties this year after coming from Laurel.
"He made all his practice partners better," said Hallock.
Hallock also noted that Cusker is committed to the Marines and will "serve his country well."
For Austin, his elimination seemed to be even more difficult.
"It's a heartbreaker as a coach because he's done everything right to go, it just didn't work out," said Hallock. "It's a heartbreaker for all his coaches because of all the time he put into it."
When that bus leaves on Thursday for Billings, it'll be a different feel without those guys on it. But the wrestlers still have goals ahead and matches to win.
They two-day meet begins on Friday with weigh-ins at 8 a.m. and matches starting at 10. After the first day, only eight wrestlers will be left standing in each weight class. On Saturday, weigh-ins are at 7:30 and matches begin at 9. Consolation finals are scheduled for 1:45 and the championship finals are scheduled for 4.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This