Saturday, April 17, 2021

Wrestlers return from Miles City with medals in tow

The Western News | March 16, 2021 7:00 AM

The Greenchain capped off a winning season last week with several medals at the state tournament in Miles City.

Senior Tucker Masters and took fourth place in the 182-pound class. Aydan Williamson, a junior and second-year member of the mixed Libby and Troy team, secured fifth place in the heavyweight category. Pressing through a shoulder injury, senior Cody Crace took sixth place in the 152-pound class.

“[Masters] had the best tournament he’s had in his career,” said head coach Dean Thompson.

After a third-place showing at the Western A Divisional tournament in Libby the week before, Masters beat rivals at the state level who he had never managed to pin before. Thompson said Masters wrestled well during the tournament’s semifinals but came up a bit short. He commended Masters, noting the senior put in hard work in the offseason and bumped up to the 182-pound weight class this year.

Williamson likewise broke into the state semifinals, according to Thompson, but fell to Gabe Walker of Miles City, who would go on to place second in the heavyweight class.

“He fought his way back and got in for fifth and sixth and placed fifth,” said Thompson. “He’s such a great athlete and he’s worked hard to get where he was.”

At divisionals, Williamson claimed the first place title in the heavyweight class.

Crace, another divisional champion, was injured during the consolation semifinals at state. A long-time wrestler for Libby, Crace had never won a match at the state tournament before this year, according to Thompson.

“He’s just worked so hard,” said Thompson after Crace’s divisional win. “He deserves all the accolades.”

After taking second place in divisionals, Greenchain freshman Jace DeShazer came one match short from placing at state. Wrestling in the 160-pound category, DeShazer faced staunch competition from seasoned upperclassmen.

Greenchain senior Xander Spady was also just shy of placing at the Miles City tournament. The week before Spady secured fifth place in the 138-pound class.

Senior Zack Morrison, who placed second at divisionals, was unable to compete at state due to an ankle sprain.

Looking back on the season, Thompson was proud of the progress the Greenchain had made. At the start of the year, the team had trouble filling a few weight classes. By March, the squad was fielding wrestlers in every category except the 103 and 205 pound classes. Securing the third-place trophy at divisionals was a high point for the Greenchain.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a wrestling trophy,” said Thompson after the win.

While the Greenchain is sending off a strong class of seniors, Thompson said he was excited by the capabilities of this year’s freshmen and sophomores. With additional lifting and extra grappling in the offseason, he said these younger wrestlers would become the core of the team.

Thompson is also eying prospective wrestlers in this year’s eighth-grade class to help the Greenchain round out the lower-weight classes.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he said of the upcoming season.