Thursday, June 01, 2023

State Wrestling: Graham wins state championship

| February 14, 2009 11:00 PM

Libby High School senior Justin Graham wrapped up his prep wrestling career on top by winning a state championship Saturday night in Billings.

Graham defeated Kelly Houle of Columbia Falls for the 215-pound title, 4-0. It was the third straight time that Graham had beaten Houle – the prior two coming on close decisions in a regular-season dual and at divisionals.

Libby's Seth Wright finished runner-up at 171 pounds after a close 7-5 loss to Brock Picard of Polson. The Loggers had one other medalist with Kyle Leir taking fifth at 125 pounds. Leir won by decision, 7-6, over Tommy Cooper of Laurel.

Wright advanced to the finals earlier Saturday after pinning Levi Cade of Belgrade in 1:10. In his two Friday matches, Wright pinned two opponents in a combined time of 1:01.

Graham also cruised into the 215 finals with three straight pins. He defeated two opponents on Friday in 6 and 50 seconds, respectively, and then early Saturday, stuck Havre’s Paul Jensen in 2:39.

Leir reached the semifinals after two straight wins on Friday to guarantee himself a medal but lost twice earlier Saturday to end up in the fifth-place match.

Tate Wilson (130), Cody Elliott (135), Kyle Sweedman (152) and Brandin Mills (Hwt.) all finished with 2-2 records.

Havre easily won the team race with 294.5 points. Belgrade finished second at 179 and Northwestern A's Ronan placed third at 134. The Greenchain ended up 10th 86.5 points.

Following is a rundown of how Libby wrestlers have fared:

125 – Kyle Leir pinned Ben Metz, Frenchtown, 3:03; won by decision over David Preller, Miles City, 8-5; lost by major decision to Derick Singleton, Miles City, 11-0; lost by decision to Ryan Guenther, Belgrade, 6-3; won by decision over Tommy Cooper, Laurel, 7-6 (fifth place).

130 – Tate Wilson lost by decision to Kelby Dorn, Hardin, 8-1; pinned JayDee Page, Frenchtown, 2:34; won by decision over Tate Lucus, Belgrade, 8-2; lost by decision to Keio Salmonson, Polson, 7-3.

135 – Cody Elliott lost by pin to Jayme Kelly, Sidney, 4:51; pinned Seth Sewell, Belgrade, 3:40; won by decision over Shawn Whitman, Columbia Falls, 6-2; lost by pin to Garret Tennant, Glendive, 4:55.

140 – Dylan Berget lost by pin to Clint Dunn, Sidney, 2:30; won by tech. fall over Logan Fulcher, Anaconda, 18-2; lost by major decision to Rex Martin, Lewistown, 13-2.

145 – Charlie Berget lost by pin to James Collins, Sidney, 1:02; lost by decision to Sam Parke, Dillon, 2-1.

152 – Kyle Sweedman pinned Gus Murdock, Hardin, 1:01; lost by decision to Casey Schaub, Havre, 10-7; won by decision over Cody Tacher, Anaconda, 9-2; lost by decision to Easton Padden, Laurel, 10-6.

160 – Josiah Coker lost by pin to Ethan Hinebauch, Havre, 0:45; pinned Jeff Marstaeller, Laurel, 2:11; lost by decision to Tyler Wheeler, Ronan, 6-3.

171 – Dean Willey lost by pin to Levi Cade, Belgrade, 1:25; pinned Tad Logan Maxon, Billings Central, 3:36; lost by pin to Kurtis Gipson, Hardin, 4:48.

171 – Seth Wright pinned Ervin Carlson, Browning, 0:37; pinned Randy Green, Sidney, 0:24; pinned Levi Cade, Belgrade, 1:10; lost by decision to Brock Picard, Polson, 7-5 (second place).

189 – Evan O'Brien lost by pin to Skyler Carroll, Livingston, 2:21; lost by pin to Layne Johnson, Miles City, 0:40.

215 – Justin Graham pinned William Tidzump, Browning, 0:06; pinned Dan Sanderson, Corvallis, 0:50; pinned Paul Jensen, Havre, 2:39; won by decision over Kelly Houle, Columbia Falls, 4-0 (first place).

Hwt – Brandin Mills won by decision over Clint Robinson, Belgrade, 14-8; lost by pin to Wesley Sherman, Hamilton, 2:29; won by decision over David Paul, Anaconda, 5-1; lost by decision to Kaden Thomas, Polson, 6-1.