By DAVID LESNICK
The Daily Inter Lake
Flathead started strong and gathered momentum as the match wore on while Glacier put together a strong finish to end on a high note in what was a competitive crosstown wrestling dual for a change on Thursday evening at Glacier High School.
Flathead won 10 of the 13 matches, four by pins, for a 47-15 triumph to improve to 9-3 in crosstown action. However its winning score was its lowest in several years. Flathead had scored 62 or more points in the last three crosstown outings while Glacier combined for just 15.
“Even though the score was a little lopsided, I felt every match was fairly competitive,” Glacier coach Ross Dankers said.
“They have a good, talented lineup, did a good job of riding on top. Overall, I thought our effort was outstanding.”
Glacier’s Colby Martin (205) and Tre Krause (285) capped off the evening with pins. Krause had the night’s fastest fall — 57 seconds.
Glacier’s other win was at 152 pounds with Caden Willis using an escape with 10 seconds remaining to edge Bo Meyer 3-2 for the decision. That stopped a run of seven straight weight class wins for Flathead, who held a commanding 31-0 lead.
“We wrestled with grit,” Dankers said.
“Caden is a senior, so that was a nice way for him to finish his crosstown career.”
Glacier, 5-10 in duals, lost a tough decision at 113 with Flathead’s Damian Naldrett holding on for a 5-4 decision over Dylan Miller.
Flathead’s Brendan Barnes (126) and Fin Nadeau (132) were both 8-0 victors over Tristan Little and Lance Fretwell, respectively.
“It was so exciting for the team to wrestle in front of this many people,” Flathead coach Jeff Thompson said.
“It felt like a crosstown basketball game. There had to be a 1,000 people here and we put on a good show.
“Looking around the gym tonight at all those fans shows me the wrestling is good and strong in Kalispell,” Thompson added.
“What a great experience for young men to be able to wrestle in front of a full house tonight. It will be one of those memories from high school they will always remember.”
The dual opened at 103 with Cole Eastwood of Flathead exiting the mat with an 11-3 major decision.
Asher Kemppainen (120) also won by major decision for Flathead.
“I was really proud of the way our team wrestled in the third period,” Thompson said.
“Our tough Winter Break practices showed in the third period tonight.”
Dominic Battello (138) and Jaden MacNeil (145) had back-to-back pins for Flathead, as did Tanner Russell (170) and Paxton Boyce (182) to wrap up the Braves scoring. Russell is now 25-3 on the season.
“The kids put the foot on the gas and got the offense rolling,” Thompson said. “The momentum just kept going.”
Flathead, now 15-4 in dual action, heads to Bozeman for a two-day tournament starting today.
Glacier will participate in the Ronan Western Duals today and Saturday.
Flathead 47, Glacier 15
103 — Cole Eastwood, F, maj. dec. Thomas Putnam, 11-3; 113 — Damian Naldrett, F, dec. Dylan Miller, 5-4; 120 — Asher Kemppainen, F, maj. dec. Bridger Beach, 13-2; 126 — Brendan Barnes, F, maj. dec. Tristan Little, 8-0; 132 — Fin Nadeau, F, maj. dec. Lance Fretwell, 8-0; 138 — Dominic Battello, F, pinned Kael Willis, 1:58; 145 — Jaden MacNeil, F, pinned Royce Conklin, 2:40; 152 — Caden Willis, G, dec. Bo Meyer, 3-2; 160 — Zaybin Stewart, F, maj. dec. Caden Gilmond, 11-2; 170 — Tanner Russell, F, pinned Thomas Crofts, 1:36; 182 — Paxton Boyce, F, pinned Skiler Hitt, 1:18; 205 — Colby Martin, G, pinned Sebastian Koch, 2:27; 285 — Tre Krause, G, pinned Aydan Prieto, :57.