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Thompson Falls wrestler Hannum medals at state

Feb. 14—It was probably the best match of the state wrestling tournament last weekend in Billings.

Filled with strength, drama and everything else wrestling fans love.

In the end, McCoy Banner, the Fairfield/Augusta wrestler who was defeated in the Western Division final last week by Thompson Falls 182-pounder Max Hannum, 7-6, met up with Hannum in the state finals and this time won by a narrow 6-3 decision.

Hannum, who won a state BC title last year, was going for the rare double state champion club.

In the B-C team race, Huntley Project-Worden, suburban communities in the Billings area, ran away with the title, with four individual champions and three second place finishers out of the 13 weight classes up for grabs. HPW amassed 206 team points to easily outdistance runner-up Lincoln, which took the silver medal with 124 points.

Locally Superior had the most medalists (top six finishers in each weight class) led by 152 pounder Lucas Kovalsky, a senior who placed third via his 7-4 decision over Plains/Hot Springs' John Waterbury, a placer from last year. The two had met several times this year with Waterbury usually coming out on top.

But Kovalsky dug deep in this year's final to pull out the consolation win and improve his season record to 44-10. The loss left Waterbury, a junior for the PHS co-op team, with a 38-5 record.

Another Superior wrestler, senior Jaxson Green was fourth in the 285-pound/heavyweight classification, losing by fall to Florence-Carlton's Arie McLaughlin at the 1:45 mark of their bout. The loss left Green with a 34-5 season match record.

Superior freshman Turner Milender was also a top six placer, securing fifth in the 160 pound division. Milender won by pin over William Mishler of Simms, taking Mishler down at the 1:34 mark. Milender posted a 36-7 record this year.

The fourth Bobcat to medal was 132-pound senior Micah Acker, who lost an 8-1 decision to Columbus/Absorakee's Jake Elison. Acker finished fourth and concluded the season with a 16-6 record.

One other PHS wrestler, senior Drew Carey, won his fifth place bout at 138 pounds when he pinned Malta grappler Trooper Stiles at the 58-second mark of their match.

Among the three BC schools who compete in Sanders and Mineral counties, Superior was highest in the team standings, placing ninth with 62 points.

The Bobcats won the Class C team championship last year.

PHS came in 15th this year with 45 points, while Thompson Falls/Noxon tallied 31 points, good for 20th place.

A total of 208 competitors, 16 in each of the 13 weight classes, participated in this year's championship, which is part of the All-Class event held annually at the MetraPark Arena in Billings.

Plains junior 152 pounder John Waterbury takes control of his Choteau opponent during this year's B-C state wrestling championship in Billings. Waterbury finished fourth.(Photo by Kami Milender)

Plains/Hot Springs senior Drew Carey takes down his 138 pound opponent during the All-Class Montana Wrestling championship meet this past weekend in Billings. (Photo by Kami Miender)

Superior freshman Turner Milender, top, looks for a pin signal during his 160-pound match at this year's All-Class wrestling championship in Billings. Milender finished fifth in his weight class. (Photo by Kami Milender)

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