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Libby Wrestling Club kicks off season in Columbia Falls

by The Western News
| February 24, 2023 7:00 AM

The Libby Wrestling Club kicked off its season last weekend in Columbia Falls.

Coach Jason Harrington explained that the event was put together in a short time and formatted in a way that provided the most wrestling per participant as possible. No individual or team scores were kept.

Club coaches were unanimous, saying they were pleased with the performance of the boys and girls.

Beginner-Novice coach JR Rebo said he noticed the kids having fun and showing great sportsmanship. Peewee coach Jason Harrington knows sometimes it’s hard to tell just how much the team is grasping during the first days of practice before competition. He said his group was on the right track. Coach Dean Thompson for the Middle-Junior group said he’s watching a lot of improvement and notices the desire of his team to get better every day. All coaches agree the club is looking tough in 2023.

LWC believes in building a solid base of fundamental wrestling which provides the athletes with the ability to be disciplined and focused when the tough opponents are on the mat. LWC also encourages additional experience through camps and competition to increase their competitive edge.  

Harrington said the season for Western Montana Little Guy, the league Libby competes in, was put on tilt this year due to some interest in having it end in time for teams and individuals involved in the league to attend the Montana Open in Billings. In normal years the two would overlap. 

“Because of the sudden change in season start date, the schedule was messed up,” Harrington said. “Teams who usually held tournaments on specific weekends were now fighting for their chance to host.”

Libby is headed to Kalispell Saturday, Feb. 25, for the Maverick Bench Memorial Tournament. It will be held at the Northwest Montana Fairgrounds in Kalispell.

“We usually hold the Kootenai Klassic on this weekend of the season, but the LWC board thought it was a better idea to try something else this year and not take away from the special event,” Harrington said. “This season the LWC board took on the second Unit Qualifier tournament. LWC is still considering the event as the Kootenai Klassic but it will be titled the Kootenai Klassic Unit 1 and 2 qualifier. The difference is normal years would have teams participating from outside of the units including out of state. LWC plans to be full steam into the Klassic next season.”

Harrington reported that the club has 125 participants and three age groups.

Peewee, ages 4-6, is coached by Harrington, beginner-novice, ages 6-10, is coached by JR Rebo, and middle-junior, ages 11-14, is coached by Dean Thompson.

“Each group has multiple other volunteer coaches who are greatly appreciated considering the numbers of participants and the involvement needed to successfully run a practice and have a coaching presence during competition in this sport,” Harrington said. “We would like to extend our gratitude to the volunteers, participants and families of these young wrestlers. It’s a tough sport to be involved with.”

Future events

Unit 1 qualifier tournament, location to be determined, March 3-4

Unit 1 and 2 Qualifier (Kootenai Klassic) Libby High School gym, March 10-11

Western Montana Little Guy state tournament, Polson, March 17-18