It’s official: a name will be added to the wall at Libby High School.
The Greenchain representing Libby and Troy came out ahead of 30 other teams at the all-state wrestling tournament in Billings — Eureka took first.
Over the same weekend that a State of Emergency was declared in Lincoln County, in which the towns of both Libby and Troy have faced one of the biggest winter storms in the last 20 years, seven wrestlers, under the wing of coach Kelly Morford, faced off against Montana Class B-C, and brought home a champion.
Buddy Doolin, weighing in at 103 pounds, piled up an 8-0 lead before surrendering a takedown in the third period. He cushioned the lead again, however, running away with an 11-2 decision.
“I wasn’t completely focused (at first), I was really pumped up to be in the state finals,” Doolin told the Daily Inter Lake. “I wanted to take more shots and be more solid. Not do anything stupid, do any dumb moves. It feels good. I’ve been working for it. It feels really nice.”
“Buddy had a great tournament and is a deserving State Champion,” Coach Morford said. “He has been extremely focused on winning that title all season and has put in a ton of work to get to this point. It may be cliche, but those titles are won in the off-season and that is definitely true for Buddy.”
Doolin defeated Shepherd’s Mason Henry in 46 seconds and Whitehall’s Cancy Russell over falls. He then defeated his rival Tanner Cook of Shepherd before ultimately winning by a major decision in 52 seconds over Huntley Project’s Clayton Donally for first.
Doolin has been going to tournaments and camps for a long time, and recently went to a 14-day intensive camp in California over the past summer, Morford said.
“That is what makes these moments so special, it is really a family affair. Buddy’s parents are extremely supportive in getting him to camps and tournaments, there are always siblings that sacrifice along the way, and then his teammates that helped him get to this point.
Morford said that Buddy will be the first to say that his practice partners played a large part in getting him to the next level this season.
“As a coach, it is just so great to be able to be a part of that and enjoy those moments with these kids,” Morford said.
Ahead of Libby was Eureka with 100 points, Colstrip with 73, Ronan with 61, Huntley Project with 58 and Plains-Hot Springs with 47.
All the Greenchain wrestlers won a match during the tournament and six of the seven wrestlers went on to the second tournament day.
“As a team, I was really proud of the way we competed all weekend,” Morford said. “Every single one of those kids, regardless of how they finished, gave everything they had out there and that is all we can ask of them.”
Dillon Yeadon lost in round one in the 113 pounds division.
Reed Christensen went all the way to the quarterfinals in 130 pounds division, but lost to Quinn Whitmus of Wolf Point.
“Dillon really peaked at the end there and he is poised for a great career with the program,” Morford said. “He should gain a lot of confidence from this tournament and going forward, he should know he can wrestle with the best guys in the state.”
Laine Young also went to quarterfinals, before being defeated by Clayton Currier of Colstrip.
“Laine and Reed were one match short of placing, which was a real heart breaker, but they were right there on the doorstep,” Morford said. “As a coach, you know those kids deserve better and see how much they put into this...I wish they could have made the podium but they have nothing to hang their head about.”
While 158-pounds Tim Carvey flexed his muscles all the way to the state championship, he lost over a fall against Dawson Peterman of the Fairfield/Simms team.
“Tim had a couple of tough draws but he really turned it on at the end of the season and was wrestling well,” Morford said. “I am proud of him for his strong finish to the season.”
One hundred and 70 pound Greenchainer Dylan Parrish lost in a tie breaker during his Championship Quarterfinal match against Shepherd’s Sonny Cochran.
Dylan Parrish placed fifth in his district, after bouncing back from missing a month of the season and facing a difficult weight division, Morford said.
“Dylan Parrish also saved his best wrestling for last on his way to a fifth place finish,” Morford said. “It is always great to see a senior end on a high note like that.”
Morford is also proud of Clancy Gout, who, weighing in at 205 pounds, rolled his way to the quarterfinals, but was defeated in a fall against Hunter Mycke of Conrad.
“Clancy wrestled with great determination this week,” Morford said. “He really turned up his aggression level...he is such a strong kid and a great athlete, that when he gets his confidence he is hard to stop.”
Looking towards next season, Morford said it will be difficult to fill the shoes of Christensen and Parrish, but he said he’s excited about the group that’s coming back next year and the direction of the program.
“Overall, I am just thankful for all of these kids’ effort throughout the year,” Morford said. “They responded to everything we asked of them and they really are a great group of young men. We will miss the few that won’t be back and look forward to continued success with the rest.”