Flathead Wrestling Ranked 37th in Nation

Braves won second consecutive Class AA state championship in February

By Andy Viano
Jeff Thompson, head coach of Flathead wrestling. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Flathead’s powerhouse wrestling team is 37th-best in the nation, according to a poll released late last month by Wrestling USA Magazine.

The Braves check in are the highest-ranked team from Montana, having wrapped up the 2017-18 season with a dominating performance at the all-class state wrestling meet in early February. Flathead won its second consecutive Class AA title behind a whopping 15 top-six placers and three state champions — Payton Hume (170 pounds), Tucker Nadeau (182) and Michael Lee (heavyweight).

“This is a great honor to be recognized as one of the top teams in the nation,” Head Coach Jeff Thompson wrote in a press release. “This is one of those things that these team members will remember and tell their kids: That they were on a nationally ranked wrestling team.”

This is not the first time that one of Thompson’s teams has been nationally ranked. In 2008, the Braves finished ninth in the country after winning the third of five straight state titles. They also claimed top-50 spots in 2004 and 2007.  Thompson was Flathead’s head coach from 2000-08, returning to lead the team in 2016. His teams have won six state championships in his 10 seasons and produced 16 individual state champions.

A pair of New Jersey schools topped the national rankings, with Blair Academy claiming the top spot. The only other Montana school on the list is Sidney at 48th. The complete top 50 ranking is available at http://www.wrestlingusa.com/high-school/ewExternalFiles/WUSA-TOP-50-3-18.pdf.

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