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Friday, January 19, 2018

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli photo

Red Devil wrestling looks to crown multiple champions

By Anthony Varriano

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The Dawson County High School wrestling team ended up with two wrestlers in the same State final last year — senior Travis Kinn and junior Ben Stortz. This year, they’re both looking to bring home hardware.

Kinn returns as state champion and is at 132 pounds but is expected to wrestle at 126 pounds in his final high school season. Stortz is up to 138 pounds, but DCHS head coach Tim Zody said he’s expected to go down to 132 pounds eventually. 

Returning fifth-place state finisher Tyler Clapp is back at 160 pounds to start his junior season. Junior Brandon Held, who made the 132-pound consolation quarterfinals at state last year, will wrestle at 152 pounds. Also returning is senior Casimir Melton at 170 pounds.

Senior Brandt Ackerman joins the squad and told Zody he plans to wrestle at 145 pounds. Junior Cade Dockter, who won a match at State last year, isn’t available now due to a knee injury sustained during the football season, but hopes to be wrestling sometime after the holiday break, pending an MRI.

Junior Matt Fulton and sophomore Keegan Mires return after scoring three points each at state last year. Fulton is penciled in as one of three wrestlers at 205 pounds along with newcomers Jayden Holley and freshman Kirby Basta. Mires and senior Elijah Marley are in the 285-pound weight class.

Holley, a junior, played basketball last year, as did sophomore Kayden Deckert, who is the lone wrestler at 126 pounds, currently. Even the influx of a few basketball players doesn’t fill every weight class, though.

“We normally have no problem filling lightweights, but we’ve got two open positions,” Zody said. “The first week we could be out three weights.”

The two weight classes expected to remain empty and cost DCHS forfeits all season are at 113 pounds and 120 pounds. Freshman Gabe Mickelson fills the 103-pound weight class.

Zody hopes to fill the 182- pound weight class at some point, and he has the bodies around that weight to do it, with freshmen Austin Heraldson, Jacob Marley and Nelson Crisafulli all at 170 pounds.

Also joining the team as freshmen are Alphonso Bustos and Christian Crockett, currently at 160 pounds, and Louis Harrington at 132 pounds.

As far as competing at state, Zody said the team just has “too many holes” to be a contender right now, citing Havre, Sidney, Polson and Columbia Falls as tough teams. 

Even in the division, Zody expects close-to-full squads from Laurel, Hardin and Sidney. The Red Devils should again improve upon their state point total, though, with Kinn and Stortz wrestling in two different weight classes. They improved by 20 points last season but still finished 11th at state. It won’t get any easier.

“This year is probably going to be our toughest schedule we’ve ever had,” Zody said. That schedule starts with some nationally ranked teams visiting Sidney this weekend, with Glendive set to face off against Billings West at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Reach Anthony Varriano at rrsports@rangerreview.com.

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