BUTTE — Tuesday night went according to plan for Butte High and wrestling head coach Cory Johnston.
The Bulldogs took down Helena High in a sweep, which saw Butte pin five Bengals en route to a 65-0 victory for back-to-back dual wins after last Friday’s 33-30 thriller over Missoula Big Sky.
Johnston credited his team for a well-wrestled dual.
“You can’t do much better than zero losses,” Johnston said. “The kids wrestled really hard. We weren’t even at full-strength, but our depth is something we take a lot of pride in. We don’t panic when a guy has to sit out and we can give a guy a night off, and plug somebody else in. It’s pretty seamless.”
The Bulldogs opened up with back-to-back pins, as Butte’s Kyler Raiha (103) and Trey Whitlock (112) over Helena’s Jason Mandy and Nathon Elmose respectively.
Wrestling at the 120-pound slots, the Bengals’ Ian Mehrens and the Bulldogs’ Kip Pumnea wrestled an excellent match, but one that ended in a 9-3 decision in favor of Pumnea.
Butte’s third pin of the evening came through Keegan Gransbury (126), who pinned Helena’s Cadence Dixon in 54 seconds to propel Butte to a 21-0 lead after four weight classes.
Possibly the most entertaining match of the evening came through Butte’s Gavin Vetter and Helena’s Cameron Wyatt. The pair, wrestling at the 132 slot, entered the third round with a score of 6-5 in favor of Vetter, who then went on to earn five points to seal a decision victory and earn a 24-0 lead for the Bulldogs.
After a 4-1 win from Butte’s Conor Konda(138) over the Bengals’ David Demp, Jerek Rosenleaf earned the Bulldogs’ fourth pin, taking down Jacob Terry during the 145-pound match, extending Butte’s lead to 33-0.
Helena forfeited the 152, 205 and heavyweight matches, so the final matches were at 160, 170 and 182.
Bulldog Quinn Sullivan (160) won a three-round match 11-5 over Helena’s Justice Seamons, but not before Seamons ended the opening round with a 3-2 lead.
Butte’s Dominick Scown took on the Bengals’ Kaleb McKay at 170, earning 12 points in a major decision victory in the penultimate match of the evening.
In the final battle, Bulldog Kameron Moreno pinned Bengal Sean O’Connell before 20 seconds had passed, finishing out the sweep for Butte
Helena head coach Sam Bogard wanted more out of his team, and says that the path forward is not easy but that he and his team will press on.
“It wasn’t what we wanted,” Bogard said. “I’m not sure what that builds, but it does not build motivation… To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what our next step is. It’s too late in the season to start over, so we’ll see.”
Johnston complimented Helena’s wrestlers for always being ready to compete, and said that he made sure that his team took the competition seriously.
“We’ve wrestled Helena three times this year,” Johnston said. “And that’s the one thing I’ve always told our kids is that if we wrestle a kid from Helena High, they’re going to come out and compete hard. Our kids have to wrestle six minutes against them.”
Helena next wrestles at the Rocky Mountain Classic in Missoula on Jan. 17 and 18, which Butte will also be competing at.