Friday, February 23, 2018

Hunter Popetsaitke goes for the takedown in wrestling action Saturday. Popetsaitke placed second at 132B. The Bulldog team placed second overall.


Bulldogs top off regular season with second place finish at Hardin invitational
The Hardin Bulldog wrestlers finished their regular season strong, defeating Shepherd 42-24 on Thursday night, Columbus-Absarokee 72-6 and Colstrip 47-23 Friday, and taking second place at their own invite on Saturday. Twelve teams were in Hardin for the invite.
During Friday’s action in Huntley, the Bulldogs racked up seven pins against Columbus-Absarokee, earning their 66-point lead. Corbin Wigley, Hunter Popetsaitke, Bryce Roan, Brenden Roan, Justin Zier, Uriah Turner and Preston Bad Bear all had pins. 
Against Colstrip, the Bulldogs’ Wyatt Harmer won with a pin, Brenden Roan and Connor Murdock won by major decision and Grant Scalpcane won by decision.
“We wrestled well,” said Head Coach Travis Kreiger. “We kept getting better every day.”
Saturday at the Hardin Invite, the Bulldogs took home second place, losing only to Class AA Billings West. The Bulldogs racked up 200 points, only 8 points behind West and 32 points ahead of third place finisher Glendive.
Hardin brought away four first place awards: Bryce Roan at 138B, Brenden Roan at 145A, Justin Zier at 152B and Connor Murdock at 182A. Hardin also had four second place finishes: Eric LaFontaine at 113B, Ronald Anderson at 120A, Popetsaitke at 132B and Lorenzo Roan Bear at 182B.
The Bulldogs took four third place finishes with Wyatt Harmer at 103A, Will Caprata at 170C, Turner at 205B and Scalpcane at 285.
Placing fourth was Kade Pitsch at 138A; and at fifth place were Miguel Lopez at 152A, Phillip Rising Sun at 160B, Jesse Murdock at 205A and Tucker Simpson at 205B. Placing sixth was Preston Bad Bear at 285A.
“It was quality wrestling,” Kreiger said. “Harmer wrestled well and got to see conference opponents he’s never seen before, Popetsaitke beat the Miles City kid in overtime. They just battled each other. Bryce Roan had a comeback win. Zier had a big matchup with the Glendive kid. It was a good round robin tournament.”
This weekend, the Bulldogs with be traveling to Havre for the Eastern/Central A divisional tournament. This is the first year of the combined divisional tournament and, according to Kreiger, the guys who would qualify for state under the old system will still qualify in the combined divisional tournament. 
“It will making seeding interesting and produce some disadvantages for some wrestlers. There could be a lot on jockeying for seeding,” said Kreiger.
Kreiger thinks that six or seven Bulldogs will qualify for state with a possibility of having as many as 10 to 12. 
“It will depend on seeding and draws,” he said.