BILLINGS — Hania Halverson provided an individual title for the Bravettes and Kalispell Flathead rolled to its second consecutive team championship at the state girls wrestling tournament Saturday at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.
The Brave Brawlers scored 205 points to earn the championship in the second year of a sanctioned girls wrestling division by the Montana High School Association. For the second year in a row Billings Senior was second with 157 and Billings Skyview improved off its fifth-place showing from a year ago to win the third-place trophy with 115.5.
“Our girls were lights out tough this weekend,” said Flathead coach Jeff Thompson. “Each and every one contributed to the team.”
Halverson said it was joyful to win an individual championship and be part of a team state champion. Halverson was the tourney's quick-pin winner with five pins in 6:36.
“All of the girls, we have been working so hard and it really paid off at the end,” she said.
Winning the championship will make the long bus ride back to Kalispell seem to go by quicker.
“It will be a good memory to end the season,” said Halverson.
Gorder, Gubler, Kirn, Wahl, Tucker, and Savaria all won titles last season as well.
The championship round began at 205 pounds, so Savaria became the very first girl to win two state championships in Montana.
“It feels really good. I’m excited to stay wrestling this summer and to go to some out-of-state things and come back next year and hopefully get my third,” Savaria said.
Savaria, a junior, finished the season 25-0 with all of her wins by fall. Last year she was 13-0 with 13 pins when she won the 205-pound crown.
“Hard work. You have to keep at it, even if you don’t feel you are doing your best,” Savaria said. “And even on your bad days, you have to keep going.”
Tucker, a sophomore, won all four of her matches by pin at the tourney to finish 24-0 on the year. It is the second straight year she has won the 152-pound bracket.
“It’s hard, you just can’t get too cocky,” said Tucker of going undefeated. “You have to think the whole time this could change any second.”
Tucker was proud of the Broncs for their accomplishments.
“Being a team and even though we had people get injured left and right, we just worked harder,” she said, “and knew we had to lift everyone up.”
Gorder had five pins over the three days to win her championship. This one was especially meaningful she said because last year there were COVID-19 restrictions and some of her family and supporters couldn’t commute to Lockwood High School for the tourney because of the social distancing efforts.
“I feel like all the time I put in all year round has paid off,” said Gorder, as she wiped away tears of joy. “It feels amazing to be No. 1 in a sport. I’m really thankful for all the people who came out to support me from my hometown.”
Kirn also scored five victories by pin, including a fall in 2:41 over Lily Schultz of Bozeman Gallatin, last year’s 145-pound champion, to earn the championship.
Kirn, a sophomore, said her goal is to become “a four-timer.”
The Eagles boys team won the Class A team title.
“It was fun being here with my team,” said Kirn.
Donally, the only girl on Project’s team, said winning the title was “surreal. It’s amazing. I don’t know how to explain it. It doesn’t feel like I’m here.”
Project won the Class B boys team title and Donally said that it was “fun to be a part of that. They are my practice partners.”
Hood was a finalist at 285 last year. After winning her title, the senior from Columbus said she felt “over the moon right now. It’s crazy. I worked all season for it.”
It was a season of firsts for Hood.
“This year I got to be the first four-year girl for Columbus; no other girl has gone this far,” she said. “I’m also the first female state champ for Columbus. I broke a lot this year.”
Broncs coach Mickey Mahlmeister was proud of his team’s efforts, but also credited the Bravettes for their success.
“We definitely had high expectations and we had a state championship caliber team, but it did not happen,” he said. “Kalispell brought their big team, wrestled a good tournament, and brought good wrestlers and took first.”
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