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Libby's Leir fights way to state wrestling title

by Brad Fuqua & Western News
| February 17, 2011 10:48 AM

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Libby coach Mort Curtiss, right, reacts to Kyle Leir's state title on Saturday.

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Libby's Kyle Leir also battled a bloody nose in the finals.

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Libby's Kyle Leir makes a move on Laurel's Tommy Cooper.

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Libby junior Dylan Berget placed third at 160 pounds.

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Josh Bowers competes at state last weekend for Libby.

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The Greenchain’s Mitch Haugen went the distance in all three of his state tournament matches at 125 pounds.

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Libby's Robin Kyes competes at state.

It had been two years since Libby’s

Kyle Leir and Laurel’s Tommy Cooper had faced one another on the

wrestling mat.

Back during Leir’s freshman season, he

lost to Cooper during the State A Duals but rebounded later at the

state tournament to win the fifth-place match.

Round 3 materialized on Saturday at the

Butte Civic Center and Leir once again raised his hand in victory –

this time for a state championship.

Grappling for the Class A title at 140

pounds, Leir and Cooper showed patience while looking for the right

moment to try for points in the first period.

“He was pretty high-tempo and we were

feeling each other out at first,” Leir said. “He got called for

stalling because he wasn’t taking any (attempts for points). He got

in on a couple shots but I stopped him.”

In the second period, Leir opened in

the down position and picked up an escape point in about 5

seconds.

“Then I took him down out of bounds but

I kept my toes in,” said Leir, who went up 3-0 with that

takedown.

Leir eventually took a 5-1 lead and

then held on for the 6-4 decision. The Greenchain junior battled a

bloody nose in the match which created a few stoppages on the

mat.

“If I wasn’t bleeding, I think it

would’ve been better for me,” he said. “He’s a tough kid, though.

It could’ve gone either way but I think I was just in a little

better shape.”

Leir said he didn’t really have a

particular strategy in mind in the finale.

“When you’re out there, you don’t

really think too much,” Leir said. “You see something open up and

you hit it.”

Leir finished his season with a 37-1

record – unbeaten in Montana with the only loss coming to a Bonners

Ferry wrestler. The goal all along this season has been to win

state.

“If you’re not going to a tournament to

win it, what’s the point?” he said.

Leir had perhaps a tougher match in the

semifinals in a 4-2 win over Sidney’s Jayme Kelly. In their

first-ever meeting, Leir trailed 2-0 early but got things going in

the second period and controlled the match the rest of the way.

Leir cruised into the semifinals with a

pin in 44 seconds over Dillon’s Jacob Lenegar and an 11-3 major

decision over Glendive’s Cole Bilbrey.

Leir will return for his senior season

with an eye on another state title. Leir said he expects to gain

weight and could possibly wrestle at 145 but may try to stay at

140.

Another Libby junior, Dylan Berget,

also placed at the season-ending tournament. Berget snagged third

place at 160 pounds with a 5-1 decision over Belgrade’s Jordan

Malarchick.

Berget won his first two matches by

decision to set up a showdown against Laurel’s Dylan Kramer in the

semifinals. Kramer ended up winning by pin with just 1 second left

in the third period. He went on to lose to Lewiston’s Connor

Malone, 4-3, in the championship match.

Berget fell down into the consolation

bracket but advanced to the third-place match following a 7-2 win

over Frenchtown’s David Anderson. That set up his final bout

against Malarchick. Berget’s early wins were over Sidney’s Dace

Fisher (6-0) and Havre’s Grant Pattison (5-1).

As a team, Libby took 14th place –

third-best among Northwestern A schools. Polson placed seventh and

Ronan was 10th. Columbia Falls finished right behind Libby in

15th.

The conference had two other state

champions – Ronan’s Cole McArthur (171 pounds) and Toby Cheff

(189). Craig Feistner of Polson (112) and Justin Whitman of

Columbia Falls (125) lost in the finals.

Austin Bailey was the only other Libby

wrestler to win more than one match at state. Bailey – a

171-pounder – did not place with a 2-2 record and missed advancing

into the fifth-place match after a 5-0 loss to Layne Johnson of

Miles City. Bailey’s wins came on pins over a pair of Billings

Central wrestlers – Forrest Mawyer (5:27) and Sean Getchell

(1:40).

Isaac King (105), Mitch Haugen (125),

Aundre Condit (140) and Robin Kyes (152) each posted one victory.

King took a 20-11 major decision over Dillon’s Chance Snellman;

Haugen had a 5-2 decision over Havre’s Thomas Gruber; Condit pinned

Browning’s Kiin Salois in 3:32; and Kyes stuck Dillon’s A.J.

Johnston in 1:55.

Other wrestlers competing for the

Greenchain were Aaron Seefeldt (119), Devin Williams (130), Josh

Bowers (145), Ricky Roach (152), Justin O’Brien (160) and Logan

Neubauer (189).

State A wrestling

Friday-Saturday at Butte Civic

Center

Team Scoring

Laurel 198, Havre 186, Belgrade 179.5,

Glendive 152, Corvallis 151, Frenchtown 139, Polson 120, Miles City

115, Sidney 105.5, Ronan 92.5, Dillon 84, Lewistown 84, Hardin

66.5, Libby 57, Columbia Falls 54, Billings Central 36, Hamilton

33, Anaconda 30, Livingston 23, Whitefish 6, Butte Central 3,

Browning 1.

Championship Matches

98–Karson Kukes, Laurel, dec. Bryant

Dorn, Hardin, 6-2.

105–Dillon Tennant, Glendive, pinned

Glenn Hensley, Frenchtown, 4:59.

112–Tyler Kinn, Glendive, dec. Craig

Feistner, Polson, 8-2.

119–Duell Stadel, Havre, dec. Bryce

Weatherston, Belgrade, 6-3.

125–Kolter Kukes, Laurel, maj. dec.

Justin Whitman, Columbia Falls, 8-0.

130–Zac Westre, Frenchtown, dec. Shawn

Tezak, Dillon, 5-4.

135–Travis Davis, Corvallis, dec.

Brennan Gorder, Sidney, 4-2.

140–Kyle Leir, Libby, dec. Tommy

Cooper, Laurel, 6-4.

145–Eli Hinebauch, Havre, maj. dec.

Riley Nagel, Corvallis, 8-0.

152–Brad Nordal, Frenchtown, dec. Shane

Cooley, Miles City, 10-8.

160–Connor Malone, Lewistown, dec.

Dylan Kramer, Laurel, 4-3.

171–Cole McArthur, Ronan, dec. Casey

Schaub, Havre, 10-6.

189–Toby Cheff, Ronan, pinned Levi

Cade, Belgrade, 3:19.

215–Jess Padden, Laurel, dec. Trevor

Conrad, Glendive, 4-2.

Hwt–Chris Kurkowski, Miles City, dec.

Allen Neulib, Sidney, 7-2.

Libby Results

105–Isaac King (1-2) – Pinned by

Chandler Metcalf, Hardin, 3:11; maj. dec. Chance Snellman, Dillon,

20-11; pinned by Matt Wolter, Frenchtown, 1:42.

119–Aaron Seefeldt (0-2) – Pinned by

Duell Stadel, Havre, 1:16; pinned by Michael Ledford, Hamilton,

2:35.

125–Mitch Haugen (1-2) – Dec. Thomas

Gruber, Havre, 5-2; lost by dec. to Kolter Kukes, Laurel, 6-1; lost

by dec. to Layne Lantis, Glendive, 5-1.

130–Devin Williams (0-2) – Lost by maj.

dec. to Zach Westre, Frenchtown, 12-0; pinned by Zac Brady,

Belgrade, 4:12.

140–Kyle Leir (4-0) – Pinned Jacob

Lenegar, Dillon, 0:44; maj. dec. Cole Bilbrey, Glendive, 11-3; dec.

Jayme Kelly, Sidney, 4-2; dec. Tommy Cooper, Laurel, 6-4.

140–Aundre Condit (1-2) – Pinned by

Devan Williams, Corvallis, 0:38; pinned Kiin Salois, Browning,

3:32; pinned by Raymond Jessop, Corvallis, 2:26.

145–Josh Bowers (0-2) – Pinned by Kody

Heard, Dillon, 5:25; pinned by Jesse Albrecht, Laurel, 3:25.

152–Robin Kyes (1-2) – Pinned A.J.

Johnston, Dillon, 1:55; pinned by Kameron Pribyl, Havre, 3:00;

pinned by Auston Hergenrider, 4:58.

152–Ricky Roach (0-2) – Pinned by Brad

Nordahl, Frenchtown, 1:17; pinned by Jacob Williams, Havre,

3:37.

160–Dylan Berget (4-1) – Dec. Dace

Fisher, Sidney, 6-0; dec. Grant Pattison, Havre, 5-1; pinned by

Dylan Kramer, Laurel, 5:59; dec. David Anderson, Frenchtown, 7-2;

dec. Jordan Malarchick, Belgrade, 5-1.

160–Justin O’Brien (0-2) – Pinned by

Dylan Kramer, Laurel, 0:37; pinned by David Anderson, Frenchtown,

0:53.

171–Austin Bailey (2-2) – Pinned

Forrest Mawyer, Billings Central 5:27; pinned by Matt Merenz,

Dillon, 1:56; pinned Sean Getchell, Billings Central, 1:40; lost by

dec. to Layne Johnson, Miles City, 5-0.

189–Logan Neubauer (0-2) – Pinned by

Trevor Howe, Laurel, 1:01; lost by dec. to Bryce Wigert, Anaconda,

6-3.