Sports

Braves Repeat as Class AA Wrestling Champs

Flathead led by three individual champions, including undefeated Tucker Nadeau

Led by three individual state champions, including undefeated senior Tucker Nadeau, the Flathead Braves repeated as Class AA state wrestling champions in Billings on Saturday, while Eureka senior Garrett Graves capped off his second straight undefeated season by repeating as the Class B/C 182-pound champion.

The all-class wrestling tournament was held on Feb. 9-10 at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark, with thousands of spectators watching hundreds of wrestlers from all corners of the state.

The Braves finished with 288 points, ahead of Bozeman (222) and Billings Skyview (181.5.) The title was the school’s ninth total, eighth since 2004 and sixth under head coach Jeff Thompson, who led Flathead to four titles during his first tenure from 2000-2008 and added another in his return last year before tallying one more this weekend.

Nadeau, a 182-pound senior, capped off a 46-0 season by pinning Missoula Sentinel’s Dylan Goforth in the championship match.

Payton Hume, 170 pounds, also took home a state title, as did Michael Lee at 285 pounds. Lee won a decision over teammate Alex Paull in the final match, giving Flathead the top two heavyweights in the state.

The Braves had 15 state placers overall, including Tilynne Vasquez, who finished fourth at 103 pounds. She is believed to be the highest female finisher at any classification in Montana high school history.

Glacier finished 13th in AA, while Eureka fell short in its bid to repeat as B/C champion, finishing second behind Colstrip. Gunnar Smith (113) joined Graves as a state champion for Eureka.

Polson was the highest Northwest Montana placer in Class A, coming in fourth. Columbia Falls, led by 170-pound state champion Ben Windauer, was eighth.

The Beacon will provide more in-depth coverage of state wrestling results in its Feb. 14 print edition.

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