Scotties 'Wrestle Back Into Placing Three
By J. Levi Burnfin Courier Sports
Published: Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Four of the five Scottie wrestlers at state found themselves in the precarious position of having to navigate the dreaded wrestlebacks early on at the Metra.
The consolation bracket, or wrestlebacks, is the last place a wrestler wants to be at the State B-C Wrestling Tournament in Billings; but once there, the Scotties responded admirably by placing three – Mick Reyling grabbed fourth at 105 and Ben Kountz (140) and Jake Shawver (119) took sixth – and were close to placing all five wrestlers.
"It went great. Overall, it went better than expected. We looked at how the brackets lined up, we were only supposed to have one wrestler place and we had three," said Head Coach Byron Hallock.
Reyling was the lone Scottie to reach the championship semi-finals as he won his first two matches in dominating fashion. He bested Kenny Stockard of Superior 13-0 in the first round and then pinned Sean Roach of Townsend in less than a minute in the quarterfinals to ensure a place on the podium.
For the other four Scotties, the first matches were much bigger obstacles. Jake Hentges, Cody King and Shawver all had ranked opponents to open the tournament and Kountz had the first-place wrestler out of the Southern Division to deal with.
Hentges was able to come up with a 12-2 win over Ronan's Chase Rhine but the other three lost. Things didn't get any easier for Hentges who had to wrestle second-ranked Teague Jones of Harlem in the quarterfinals. Hentges couldn't pull the upset and was pinned.
Now all four were relegated to the wrestlebacks and had a long road to wrestling on Saturday ahead of them.
Shawver, Kountz and King responded with two straight wins each.
Shawver beat Jared Probert (Jefferson) 4-2 and Morgan Koenig (Conrad) 12-2.
Kountz first pinned Colton Bray (Thompson Falls), then came up with an upset of Cut Bank's Neil Johnson, who had defeated Kountz the three times the two had met earlier this year, with a 7-4 decision.
King, at 125, beat Chinook's Owen Powell by a 14-6 decision and bested Conrad's Blaine Berg by a 6-2 margin to reach the consolation quarterfinals.
Henges, also at 125, reached the same round in the consolation bracket after his loss to Jones by pinning Broadus' Zach Ward to set up a Saturday where all five Scotties were wrestling.
King, Hentges, Kountz and Shawver all had to win one more match early on Saturday to grab a spot in the podium.
Kountz had fifth-ranked John Gunderson (Thompson Falls) standing in the way, Shawver matched up with sixth-ranked Torren Lawson (Florence-Carlton), Hentges had fourth-ranked Cache Giles (Fairfield) and King met up with Cut Bank's Jace Berkram.
Kountz came up with a 8-3 win over Gunderson and Shawver scored a 6-4 overtime win. Hentges and King both fell to their opponents, though – King by a 14-2 score and Hentges by pin.
Now, finally, Reyling was able to wrestle again after making it to the semis on Friday. He had to take on St. Ignatius-Charlo's Morgan Schultz, who was ranked fifth coming into the tournament.
Reyling jumped out to an early lead but Schultz continued to chip away and chip away and ultimately pinned Reyling with only 30 seconds to go in the match. The loss dropped Reyling to the consolation bracket, where it is difficult to rebound well after being so close to a spot in the championship match.
But like the Scotties had done all tournament, he didn't have a let down and responded with ferocity. Reyling "tore up" his next opponent, Townsend's Austin McArthur, according to Hallock. Reyling pinned McArthur in less than a minute.
In the match for third place, Reyling met up with year-long nemesis Maestro Martinez, who defeated Reyling each of the multiple times the two had met this season. This time wasn't any different as Martinez came up with the tight 5-3 win to take third and drop Reyling to fourth.
After Kountz and Shawver ensured themselves a spot on the podium, they had a similar fate as both lost their next two matches to finish sixth.
Perhaps it was a bit of an emotional let down for Kountz after knowing he'd earned a placement.
"I was pretty proud of [Kountz]. We were both teary eyed when we knew he was going to place," said Hallock. "To come back and wrestle like he did was real nice. We were all real happy for him."
Hallock said he was proud of his whole team for responding to early losses like they did.
"Going into day one, on paper, the only one that even had a chance of placing was Mick [Reyling]. Of course that's on paper and not on the mat," said Hallock.
On the mat, the Scotties proved that they were ready for the spotlight.
"As a team, we did about as good as we could have," said Hallock. "They're feeling good about themselves and the coaches and parents are feeling good about it, too."
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