Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Troupe, Thompson are champs

Staff Writer | February 11, 2024 12:00 AM

BILLINGS — They were a long time coming, but Flathead’s Anders Thompson and Sawyer Troupe finished their wrestling seasons a combined 90-0 Saturday, each with that elusive state championship.

The paired pick up state title victories at 205 pounds and 285, helping the Brave Brawlers to a second-place finish at the State AA boys tournament.

Billings West’s Cooper Frietag went the distance against Thompson — something no other wrestler did this season — but the Flathead senior brought home his first state title with a 13-4 major decision.

“It was super exciting as soon as I won the match just seeing all my fans and everyone from Kalispell,” said Thompson, who ended the year 46-0. “It's a moment I will never forget.”

Thompson took control of the match right away, getting a takedown just 16 seconds in. He would lead 10-3 after two periods before cruising in for the victory.

Troupe finished his season in style, pinning Hudson Wiens of Bozeman 37 seconds into the second round.

“It still hasn't really set in,” said Troupe, who finished the season 44-0. “It felt fake, and still doesn’t feel real.”

Troupe celebrated his win by throwing Flathead assistant Sam Stoll over his shoulder.

Flathead’s Gunnar Thompson, Anders’ twin, also made the finals, after edging Billings West’s Anthony Garcia 6-5 in the 182 semifinals. He dropped a 5-3 decision to Helena Capital’s Cole Graham, giving the Bruin three wins over the Brawler by a total of five points.

At 152 pounds Glacier’s Nikola Coles finished off a 16-0 season with a state championship win over Great Falls’ Kale Baumann.

Coles took control late in the second period using a pair of takedowns and a 3-point nearfall to seize the lead and never looked back.

“Feeling excited,” Coles said after the match. “This is what I have been working towards all season.”

Coles was the Wolfpack’s lone finalist on the boys side. Kaleb Shine (145) picked up a third-place finish, while Mark Ahner and Garrett Bosch finished fourth.

In the team competition the Braves finished with 221 points, just ahead of Billings Senior’s 219. Billings West finished in first at 237.5. Glacier was seventh with 101.

“The wrestlers gave 100 percent effort throughout the weekend,” Flathead coach Jeff Thompson said. “Getting 12 placers, three in the finals and two champions, that is a great weekend.”

In the girls competition Glacier’s Kaura Coles at 114 pounds and Flathead’s Bella Downing at 120 each won state championships.

Coles completed her second championship run with an 11-0 major decision over Madalyn Deiter of CMR.

She took the lead with a takedown five seconds in and never looked back, nearly pinning Deiter multiple times throughout the match.

“She wanted to get the pin,” said Glacier coach Ross Dankers. “That mindset that she has is what puts her above a lot of the other people in the state of Montana.”

Downing needed a pair of extra periods to defeat Taylor Lay of Helena Capital. Lay tied the match with three seconds left, leading to overtime. Downing earned two points — one for an escape and one for Lay stalling — in the second overtime session to take the win.

“I am feeling overexcited,” said Downing. “My parents bet a tattoo on me, so i said, ‘I need that tattoo. I need to win state.’ ”

In the team competition Flathead’s girls earned a third-place trophy, finishing with 81 points. Billings Senior piled up 236 points on the way to its second straight title. Billings Skyview finished in second with 98. Glacier finished in sixth with 69.

“This morning was a bit rough, dropping two matches we were banking on winning,” said Bravettes’ coach Amber Downing. “(The final) was a nailbiter going into overtime, Bella getting that stall point and that escape, she is just super tough.”

Full results can be found at

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