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DeShazer ties all-time Libby wins mark; Erickson wins first state medal

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | February 16, 2024 7:00 AM

Libby Greenchain wrestler Jace DeShazer capped his senior season with his third straight Montana High School Association wrestling title last weekend at MetraPark in Billings.

DeShazer shut out Miles City senior Easton DeJong, 12-0, in the 205-pound Class A finals to secure the three-peat. He’s only the second Greenchain member to win three titles and the first since J.R. Rebo was a state champion from 2001 to 2003.

DeShazer opened with a pin in 1:04 of Lockwood’s Trey Daly. Next came Havre’s Pierce Caplette and DeShazer won by technical fall in 3:44, 16-1. Lockwood’s Seth Meyer was DeShazer’s next victim as the Libby senior won a 7-0 decision in the semifinals.

For DeShazer, he may not have equaled the pin record he set in 2023, but he did tie former Greenchain standout Zach Crace on the Libby all-time wins list with 154. DeShazer was 43-0 this year, 49-3 a year ago, 36-4 as a sophomore and 26-7 in his freshman season of 2020-21. 

DeShazer’s undefeated campaign was the first of his varsity career and he owns a 154-14 record. Crace wrestled from 2012 to 2015 and was a four-time medalist. He placed third three times and sixth in his freshman season. Crace lost twice to the eventual state champion in that span.

Fellow senior Marley Erickson also left Billings with a state medal after placing sixth at 138 pounds. He was 3-3 at state and reached the 40-win plateau.

Erickson, who was the fifth seed from the West, had to battle his way back through the bracket after a first-round loss to Lockwood’s Brody Ketterling, 10-2. 

In the first round of consolations, he decked Miles City’s Brady Hoverson in 17 seconds. Erickson then decisioned Dawson County’s Matthew Reske, 4-0, before meeting Browning’s Labron Shooter and scoring a 12-2 win.

That set up a rematch with Ketterling where Erickson fell, 11-4. In the fifth-place match, Havre’s Carson Harris pinned Erickson.

Erickson was a three-time state qualifier, making it to Billings in from 2022-24.

Ten other Greenchain members wrestled at state. They included Sami Jocks, 2-2 at 113 pounds, Bridger Bache, 0-2 at 120, Brayson Orr, 0-2 at 120, Xavier Reatz, 1-2 at 138, Gabe Kosters, 0-2 at 145, Zekiah Meyer, 1-2 at 145, Connor Benson, 0-2 at 152, Tristan DeShazer, 0-2 at 152, Joey Wise, 1-2 at 160, and Ian Thom, 0-2 at 170.

Meyer reached 31 wins.

The Greenchain finished 11th in the team standings with 51.5 points. Laurel was the state champ with 192.5 points. From northwest Montana, Columbia Falls was fifth with 131 points and Ronan was seventh with 116.5 points.

Also, former Greenchain wrestler Kurt Spencer officiated his last state tournament while Trey Thompson officiated his first. Thompson now lives in Bozeman.

According to previous reporting in The Western News, Spencer began officiating in 1976 in northern Idaho. He won a state championship in 1972 during Doug Crum’s single season as Libby’s head coach. During Spencer’s senior year he was an original member of the legendary Greenchain.

Spencer’s first invite to officiate state was in 1984. 

It wasn’t long ago that Thompson was earning state medals on the mat for the Greenchain. He placed second as a senior at 152 pounds in 2020 and fifth as a junior at 145 in 2019.

They and current Greenchain head coach Dean Thompson got together for a photo during the two-day event.

    Libby Greenchain members Trey Thompson, Kurt Spencer and Dean Thompson gathered for a photo last weekend at the Montana High School Association Class A wrestling championships in Billings. Thompson was wrestling his first state tournament while Spencer officiated his last. Thompson, the current Libby coach, is also a long-time official. (Photo courtesy Greenchain Wrestling Club)