The Hardin Bulldog wrestling team placed fourth overall at the Eastern/Central A divisional tournament and will be taking 12 wrestlers to the state meet starting Friday.
“We were in contention for a trophy all day,” Head Coach Travis Kreiger said. “We had some opportunities and had some matches that, if they went the other way, we would have taken second place.”
This combined divisional tournament shows that the strength lies in the Eastern A with four of the top five teams comprised of Sidney, Laurel, Hardin and Glendive.
According to Kreiger, Hardin received some good draws on the brackets and everyone had an opportunity to go to state.
Kreiger pointed out Corbin Wigley and Ronald Anderson.
“These boys received bad draws,” he said. “They both battled hard. Anderson’s first two matches were against returning state placers.”
The top eight placers in each weight class earned a spot at the state meet.
At 103, Wyatt Harmer took fifth place, defeating Austin Rollins of Belgrade, and at 113 Eric LaFontaine placed third.
“Eric wrestled tough,” said Kreiger. “We just have to get over that Glendive hump.”
Both the first and second places were owned by Glendive wrestlers.
At 132, Hunter Popetsaitke took seventh place, defeating Miles City’s Jacob Swope. “Popetsaitke was in contention the whole time,” said Kreiger. “He’s working on that killer instinct.”
Two Hardin wrestlers placed at 138. Bryce Roan took third place and Kade Pitch placed eighth.
“Bryce had a tough semifinal round with the Havre kid,” said Kreiger. “He got caught and lost. Bryce battled back pinning the Miles City wrestler for third place.”
At 145, Brenden Roan placed second for the Bulldogs, losing to Jarrett Degen of Belgrade. Degen is rated No. 1 in the state.
Justin Zier took fifth place at 152 and Phillip Rising Sun placed eighth at 160. Rising Sun missed the semifinals by one match, losing to a Livingston wrestler in overtime.
At 182, Connor Murdock took second place by being defeated by Jase Stokes of Havre. “He lost the match 3-1,” said Kreiger. “It was a tough, hard-fought match.”
LaRenzo Roan Bear, also wrestling at 182, took fourth place. He lost 3-4 in overtime against Jon Jares of Laurel.
At 205, Uriah Turner placed sixth and at 285, Grant Scalpcane placed fifth, beating Kolton Wippert of Browning.
“I’m super proud of these guys,” Kreiger said.
The Bulldogs will be in Billings on Friday for the start of the All Class State Wrestling Tournament.