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Greenchain takes third in divisionals

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | March 2, 2021 7:00 AM

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Greenchain’s Aydan Williamson celebrates after winning the heavyweight class championship match at the Western A Divisional tournament in Libby Feb. 27. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

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Greenchain’s Cody Crace looks to pin Ronan’s Trapper McAllister in the 152-pound championship match at the Western A Divisional tournament in Libby Feb. 27. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

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Greenchain’s Jace DeShazer takes on Frenchtown’s Gavin McLean in the semifinals of the 160-pound class Feb. 27. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

After a weekend of hard-fought battles, the Greenchain came in third-place overall at the Western Class A Divisional wrestling tournament.

“We’re taking home a trophy,” said Dean Thompson, Greenchain coach. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a wrestling trophy.”

In addition to the plaque, the Greechain came away from the Feb. 26-27 tournament, held at Libby’s Ralph Tate Memorial Gymnasium, with a slew of hardware.

Senior Cody Crace and junior Aydan Williamson secured first place in the 152-pound and heavyweight classes respectively. Senior Zack Morrison and Freshman Jace DeShazer took home second-place medals in the 132-pound and 160-pound classes respectively. Senior Tucker Masters came away from the mat with bronze in the 182-pound class.

Following the championship rounds, Thompson commended Crace, who has been a staple in Libby wrestling since he began competing in elementary school.

“He’s just worked so hard … he deserves all the accolades,” said Thompson.

Before stepping onto the podium, Crace said his hardest-won scrap of the tournament by far was the championship match. Facing off against Ronan’s Trapper McAllister, Crace nearly lost in the first period. McAllister managed to get Crace in a hold but before he was able to complete the pin, the senior Greenchain wrestler broke free.

In the second period, Crace took McAllister down but referees stopped the match.

“That made me really mad and I just went out there ... and dropped him,” he said.

For Williamson, the most difficult battle of the weekend came in the semifinals when he confronted Ronan’s Max Morency.

“That kid would not move anything around,” he said. “[Morency] knew exactly what I was going to do.”

Morency and Williamson spent most of the first two periods vying for advantage as they circled the mat with their arms locked on each other's shoulders. In the final seconds of the third period, the junior was able to take Morency down to the mat and pin him.

Williamson’s win is all the more impressive considering this is his second year with the Greenchain.

“He works hard and practices and is a great athlete, credit goes to him,” Thompson said. “Next week is the state tournament and he’s looking to even be at the top of the podium [then].”

While DeShazer might have fallen in his championship match against Columbia Falls’ Lucas Thacker, the Greenchain still has high hopes for the freshman wrestler at the state tournament.

In the semifinals, DeShazer pulled off his first win against Frenchtown’s Gavin McLean, a former state medalist. The scrap lasted all three periods and ended in a 7-6 win by decision for DeShazer.

Reflecting on the final, DeShazer said he tried to do too much work with his upper body.

“I should have started really working in the first minute of the third period instead of waiting for the last,” he said.

While the freshman said there were a few wrestlers in the eastern division who might be tough at the state tournament, he felt that overall the western competitors in his class were better.

In addition to the top-placers, Thompson said the Greenchain will send Xavier Reatz, Marley Erickson, Cael Schwindt, Elijah Edwards, Joey Wise, Xander Spady and Zhane Jenkins to state.