The Libby High School boys wrestling team didn’t have as strong of a weekend as some of them had hoped for at the 2019 MHSA State Wrestling Championships, but still came away with something to be proud of.
“We had some high goals going into the tournament, especially considering how well we had been wrestling the previous few weeks,” said Libby Head Coach Kelly Morford.
While it was disappointing not to reach those lofty goals, the weekend still had some highlights, he said.
Senior Buddy Doolin had his sights on returning to the finals, but a loss in the semifinal round set him back, and he ended the tournament by winning the third-place match at 120 pounds.
“It wasn’t easy for him, but I couldn’t have been more proud of him for bouncing back and taking third. It says a lot about his character that he was able to do that,” Morford said.
The coaches and team took Doolin’s loss hard, Morford said. But it does nothing to diminish how important Doolin has been to the Greenchain program.
“He goes down as a three-time finalist, four-time state placer, and the winningest wrestler in our school history,” Morford said. “That is certainly quite the resume, and he has nothing at all to hang his head about.”
Morford said Doolin will be missed, and that the Greenchain will be watching and rooting for him as he goes on to wrestle in college.
Taking fifth place, junior Trey Thompson took fifth place at 145 pounds.
“Trey had a real roller coaster of a tournament,” Morford said.
That included an upset when he lost to Havre’s Orion Thivierge in the quarterfinal, and a loss in a tiebreaker — with what Morford called a controversial decision — in the consolation semifinal to Hamilton’s Bridger Williams that kept him out of the third-place match.
Morford said he doesn’t like to blame a loss on calls, but said he felt bad for Thompson and some of the calls he dealt with.
But, Thompson came back to win the fifth-place match against Thivierge, ending on a high point, Morford said. “Although his finish wasn’t where he wanted, it was a pretty good way to end the weekend all things considered.”
The third Logger who placed this weekend wasn’t just taking his first time on the podium, but his first trip to a high school state wrestling tournament. Freshman Hunter Hoover started off his high school career strong, taking sixth place at 152 pounds.
“The thing about Hunter is that he expects to win every match regardless of who he is wrestling.,” Morford said. “Hunter is so fun to coach because he competes exactly how you want everyone of your wrestlers to. He just keeps pushing the tempo and eventually wears his opponents down and breaks them late in the match.”
With how far Hoover has come in such a short time wrestling, Morford said he is excited to see how he will continue to grow.
Though the Greenchain wanted to perform better at state, Morford said that they all have a lot to be proud of coming off this season.
“We won a lot of matches, and I thought we were really consistent in our effort and grit out there,” he said. “This team, from top-to-bottom, really encompassed what it means to be a Greenchain wrestler, and I am most proud of that.”
2019 MHSA State Championship
120: Buddy Doolin (41-12, 3rd place): Championship round 1 - Doolin won by pin in 0:56 over Cael Nearhoof, Fergus; Quarterfinal - Doolin won by pin in 3:32 over Jimmy Schmitt, Corvallis; Semifinal - Cameron Pleninger, Havre, won by 12-6 dec. over Doolin; Consolation Semi - Doolin won by 6-3 dec. over Kedrick Baker, Polson; Third place match - Doolin won by 9-2 dec. over Jordan Darby, Sidney/Fairview.
132: Zack Morrison (41-14): Championship round 1 - Morrison won by pin in 1:09 over Randy Tommerup, Havre; Quarterfinal - Kolton Reid, Sidney/Fairview, won by pin in 5:23 over Zack Morrison; Consolation Round 2 - Carter Brown, Corvallis, won by pin in 2:40 over Morrison.
138: Jeff Offenbecher (28-11): Championship round 1 - Jeff Offenbecher won by pin in 2:48 over Wyatt Hansen, Havre, 12-17 (pin 2:48); Quarterfinal - Triston Davis, Corvallis, won by pin in 3:29 over Offenbecher; Consolation Round 2 - Offenbecher won by pin in 4:19 over Allan Allsop, Corvallis; Consolation Round 3 - Kade Graves, Sidney/Fairview, won by pin in 1:31 over Offenbecher.
145: Trey Thompson (49-9, 5th place): Championship round 1 - Thompson won by pin in 0:35 over Dalton Tvedt, Miles City; Quarterfinal - Orion Thivierge, Havre, won by pin in 5:47 over Thompson; Consolation Round 2 - Thompson won by pin in 2:44 over Kaid Campbell, Miles City; Consolation Round 3 - Thompson won by pin in 2:59 over Brendan Gill, Belgrade; Consolation Semi - Bridger Williams, Hamilton/Darby, won in tie breaker-1 (10-7) over Thompson; Fifth place match - Thompson won by 2-0 dec. over Orion Thivierge, Havre.
152: Zane Nordwick (18-26): Championship round 1 - Connor Harris, Havre, won by pin in 1:15 over Zane Nordwick; Consolation Round 1 - Nordwick won by pin in 1:52 over Tristin Lowell, Dillon; Consolation Round 2 - Camren Ross, Whitefish, won by pin in 2:37 over Nordwick.
152: Hunter Hoover (27-15, Sixth place): Championship round 1 - Hoover won by 7-3 dec. over Nate Mcavoy, Miles City; Quarterfinal - Hoover won by 7-3 dec. over Camren Ross, Whitefish; Semifinal - John Mears, Belgrade, won by tech. fall (17-2, 5:35) over Hoover; Consolation Semi - Jace Winter, Sidney/Fairview, won by pin in 2:16 over Hoover; Fifth place match - Jacob Morgan, Billings Central, won by 5-4 dec. over Hoover.
160: Tucker Masters (38-19): Championship round 1 - Masters won by 10-7 dec. over Easton Hopes, Sidney/Fairview; Quarterfinal - Cooper Hoffman, Dillon, won by tech fall (17-1, 6:00) over Masters; Consolation Round 2 - Masters won by pin in 3:41 over Kaleb Unger, Polson; Consolation Round 3 - Noah Hurst, Hamilton/Darby, won by 9-2 dec. over Masters.
182: Daniel Rigney (15-28): Championship round 1 - Cameron Younger, Laurel, won by pin in 1:03 over Rigney; Consolation Round 1 - Brayden Stadell, Havre, won by 9-2 dec. over Rigney.