When you are talking about state title contenders in Class AA wrestling, Kalispell Flathead is certainly a team that deserves to be mentioned.
The Braves are the second-ranked team in the latest Class AA boys wrestling poll and Friday night in Helena, they showed why, flexing their muscle in a pair of wins against Capital and Helena High.
Flathead took on the Bruins in the first of back-to-back duals and the Braves notched a 43-21 win over sixth-ranked CHS. Then, in the Jungle at Helena High, the Braves lost just two matches: one by forfeit and one by decision in a 61-9 victory.
“Any time you can get outside your own room and get some matches, it’s exciting,” Flathead head coach Jeff Thompson told 406mtsports.com. “I think we are doing well. We still have a lot of room to grow before that state meet, but we feel like we wrestled a lot better in the second dual with Helena High.”
The Braves (7-0) might be ranked second in Class AA, but Flathead is the only undefeated team in AA and with a number of contenders in Ethan Freund (126) Asher Kemppaninen (138), Cade Troupe (145), Fin Nadeau (152), Noah Poe-Hatten (160), Chase Youso (170) and Ryan Nelson (182), who are all ranked third or higher, there’s no doubt they are a contender.
Each of those individuals won their matches Friday, outside of Kemppaninen who didn’t wrestle.
“We are really solid in those middle weighs,” Thompson said. “We just need to get a little bit better on both ends, the high and the low and hopefully that will put us in the hunt.”
After Flathead went up 6-0 on Capital, Hunter Rahn got the Bruins on the board with a pin. Yet, another forfeit and a pin by Freund helped push the lead to 21-6.
Carson DesRosier, a two-time state finalist and one-time champion, notched a pin over Anders Thompson in 3:48. The only other wins for Capital came in the upper weights as Talon Marsh beat sixth-ranked Gaige Winter at 205 pounds.
Marsh is actually ranked in the 285-pound weight class, but he didn’t wrestle in the heavyweight spot. That was Keaton Pouliot, who knocked off fourth-ranked Timber Richberg by way of a 4-2 decision.
In the win over Helena High, Gunnar Thompson, Troupe, Poe-Hatten and Anders Thompson each won by fall for the Braves. A number of others won due to Helena having an open weight.
Nathon Elmose of the Bengals got a win via forfeit at 120 pounds. The other victory for Helena was at 103 pounds from Caleb O’Shea.
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