Flathead to Host Class AA State Wrestling Meet

Billings will not host tournament for first time since 2011; MHSA also approves basketball and swimming state locations

By Micah Drew
Flathead High School faces Glacier High School at Flathead High in Kalispell for the annual crosstown wrestling match on Jan. 10, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Montana High School Association (MHSA) executive board announced on Friday that Flathead High School will host the Class AA state wrestling tournament on March 5-6.

“This is a huge wrestling community and what a great opportunity for Kalispell,” Jeff Thompson, head coach for the Brave Brawlers, said. “We are not going to miss the eight-hour bus ride to Billings this year.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the boys wrestling tournament will change from its usual all-classification event to split tournaments. Class A will take place in Miles City and Class B-C will be hosted by Shelby High School.

This marks the first year in a decade that a split tournament system has been implemented, and the first time MetraPark in Billings will not play host since 2011, when the arena suffered damage from a tornado.

“Our boys get to sleep in their own beds and get to eat mama’s cooking,” Thompson said. “Hopefully we can get a little home mat advantage.”

Flathead has won nine state wrestling titles, including a five-year streak from 2006-2010, and back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. The Braves are currently ranked No. 2 in the statewide wrestling rankings.

The first girls state wrestling tournament will be held Feb. 19-20 at Lockwood High School in Billings as an all-class tournament.

MHSA also approved a request that the Class AA basketball tournament move from a playoff to a tournament format. The state tournament will be held in Great Falls at Four Seasons Arena March 10-13.

In addition, MHSA voted for Polson High School to host the Class A-B state swim meet on March 6. Tickets for one-day swim meets will be set at $10.

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