It was a weekend of firsts for Kalispell’s wrestling and swimming programs.
Glacier High School had its first individual state swimming champion and first state champion wrestler. For Flathead, it was the first time since 2005 that it hasn’t taken home the Class AA wrestling title.
Jordan Loyda, a sophomore at Glacier, won the all-class state swimming title in the 200-yard freestyle over the weekend after posting a time of 1:51.10. Loyda was also part of two state champion relay teams, along with Josh Loyda, Aaron Murry and Logan Streit. The foursome won the 400 freestyle relay (3:24.94) and 200 freestyle relay (1:32.42).
The Wolfpack placed fourth overall, while Flathead’s boys placed 12th. Glacier’s girls finished 11th and Flathead’s girls came in 15th. Helena High was the state champion for boys and C.M. Russell won the title for girls.
In wrestling, Wolfpack senior Boyce Ballard won a 3-2 decision over C.M. Russell’s Ryan Otto to claim the 189-pound Class AA title, becoming the first state champion in school history.
As a team, Glacier nearly won the overall title, coming in second with 231 points. Bozeman won the tournament with 270 points. Flathead placed fifth with 162.5 points. The Braves had won the last five Class AA championships and six out of the last seven.
In addition to Ballard, Glacier’s placing wrestlers were Christian Knopp, fifth at 98; Kaleb Mitchell, sixth at 105; Alek Mitchell, sixth at 112; Zack Barber, sixth at 125; Lucas Mantel, third at 130; Cooper Sipe, third at 140; Brayden Roberts, second at 145; Shane St. Onge, second at 152; Riley Pisk, fourth at 160; Mack Sutherland, fifth at 215; and Joel Horn, second at heavyweight.
Flathead’s placers were Caleb Piasecki, fifth at 119; Cody Tally, third at 125; Steel Hahn, fourth at 152; Larry Francis, second at 160; Josh Erickson, fifth at 171; Travis Ozegovich, fourth at 215; and Connor Thomas, third at heavyweight.
Just as Flathead’s winning streak was broken in Class AA, Havre’s came to an end in Class A. Havre had won the last four state titles before Laurel took home the top prize over the weekend. Laurel edged Havre and third-place Belgrade for its first title since 1998. The three teams scored 198, 186 and 179.5 points, respectively.
Polson finished seventh in Class A, Ronan was 10th, Libby was 14th, Columbia Falls was 15th and Whitefish was 20th out of 22 teams.
Polson’s top wrestlers were Carlos Quinones, third at 98 pounds; Lucas Polk, sixth at 98; Dylan Moll, fifth at 105; Craig Feistner, second at 112; Mike Devlin, fourth at 152; and Josiah Clairmont, third at heavyweight.
Ronan had two state champions: Cole McArthur at 171 pounds and Toby Cheff at 189. Cheff was the 189-pound champion last year as well. Ronan’s other placers were Andrew Teigen, sixth at 119, and Colby Roberts, sixth at 215.
For Libby, Kyle Leir capped off his quest for a state championship by claiming the top spot at 140 pounds. Leir won a 6-4 decision over Laurel’s Tommy Cooper. Libby’s other top performer was Dylan Berget, who placed third at 160.
Columbia Falls had two wrestlers who just missed out on state titles. Sal Baccaro finished third at 119 pounds, while Justin Whitman came in second at 125 pounds.
Whitefish had no wrestlers who placed in the top six.
Taylor Vaughn of Eureka finished second at 171 pounds in Class B/C. As a team, Eureka placed 13th out of 38 teams.
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