The Libby High School wrestling team came away from the Whitefish Duals Thursday with a team win over Whitefish, 40-36, and overwhelming individual wins against Frenchtown and Hamilton/Darby, despite the team losses due to forfeits.
Against Whitefish, the Greenchain won every match that was wrestled. Against Hamilton, where they lost 42-36, the Loggers lost only one of the six matches wrestled.
“We didn’t lose a match against Whitefish and only dropped one against Hamilton, who has some really good wrestlers,” said Libby Head Coach Kelly Morford. “With the empty holes in our lineup, we can’t get too hung up on score, but it was fun to win that dual against Whitefish regardless.”
Frenchtown was the toughest opponent for Libby, with even returning State Champion senior Buddy Doolin losing in a 7-3 decision at 120 lbs.
Sophomore Cody Crace was the only Logger to take a win against a Frenchtown wrestler, and he made it decisive. Crace won by a 10-1 major decision over Frenchtown’s Adam Vang at 152 lbs.
“I thought we wrestled really well overall. Our conditioning looked better and I thought the boys did a really good job of using some of the stuff we have been working on technique-wise,” Morford said.
Morford praised the team spirit of sophomore Tucker Masters, who usually wrestles at 152 lbs, but went up to 170 for the duals.
“We are kind of jammed up in the 145-152 weight classes so we asked Tucker to weigh in at 160 so he could bump up to 170 for the duals. He did what was best for the team without hesitation, and on top of it all, wrestled his 170’s really tough,” Morford said.
Against Whitefish, Masters won by a 9-0 major decision against Robert Bertelsen, though he lost in a 12-5 decision to Canyon Shope of Frenchtown, who Morford noted is a ranked wrestler.
“I was proud of him for being willing to put the team first and going toe-to-toe with those bigger kids,” Morford said.
On matchup that Morford said he was looking forward to was that between Libby junior Trey Thompson and Hamilton’s ranked wrestler, Bridger Williams.
“Trey didn’t disappoint. He crunched him right up in a cradle and stuck him,” Morford said. “That was probably our best win of the night.”
Morford said that one of the best matches of the duals was an exhibition match between Zack Morrison and Hamilton’s Michael Golden, who is ranked number one in the state for the 138 lbs weight class. Morrison normally wrestles at 132 lbs.
“Zack really wrestled tough and ended up losing a close one point match. If they wrestled again, I would put my money on Zack,” Morford said. “That is how tough he is wrestling right now.”
Morford said he was proud of Morrison and Masters for taking on the tough matches.
“It may not help their personal stats, but being willing to go head-to-head with tough kids and using the experience to be better in the long run is an awesome trait to have,” he said. “Those matches will pay off big time down the road.”
Morford said he felt the duals were probably one of the team’s better performances from top to bottom, and a good way to end the first half of the season before going on break.
“We can take a little breather over break and get back after it come the new year.,” he said. “I am excited to see how far these boys can go this season if they keep putting the work in.”
The Greenchain will compete next at home, where they will face Sandpoint on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 20
Libby 40, Whitefish 36
170: Tucker Masters - won by major dec. (9-0) over Robert Bertelsen
182: Daniel Rigne - won by forfeit
120: Buddy Doolin - won by pin in 3:28 over Carter Moran
132: Zack Morrison - won by pin in 0:26 over Leroy Orel
145: Trey Thompson - won by pin in 1:45 over Carlitos Bertelsen
152: Cody Crace - won by forfeit
160: Hunter Hoover - won by pin in 5:22 over Camren Ross
Frenchtown 54, Libby 16
120: Buddy Doolin - Walker Dyer won by 7-3 dec. over Doolin
132: Zack Morrison - Jake Bibler won by pin in 0:42 over Morrison
145: Trey Thompson - won by forfeit
152: Cody Crace - won by major dec. (10-1) over Adam Vang
160: Hunter Hoover - won by forfeit
170: Tucker Masters - Canyon Shope won by 12-5 dec. over Masters
182: Daniel Rigne - Dylan Hicks won by pin in 3:02 over Rigne
Hamilton/Darby 42, Libby 36
120: Buddy Doolin - won by pin in 1:08 over Deegan Martin
132: Zack Morrison - won by pin in 0:52 over Ethan Cramer
145: Trey Thompson - won by pin in 1:44 over Bridger Williams
152: Cody Crace - won by pin in 5:00 over Cole Anson
160: Hunter Hoover - Noah Hurst won by pin in 3:30 over Hoover
170: Tucker Masters - won by forfeit
182: Daniel Rigne - won by pin in 3:41 over Cadagen Wheat