Two Shelby Coyote Wrestlers, Wyatt Brusven at 145lbs and Tabris Correa at 126lbs, traveled to Billings for the annual MHSA state tournament seeking gold. The abysmal weather forecast spurred an early departure for many of the teams in Montana including the young Coyote grapplers.
Nearly 14,000 spectators, wrestlers, coaches, and supporters ascended on the city and congregated at the Metrapark Rimrock Auto Arena to watch the two-day event. After months, and albeit years of preparation by the wrestlers, it was time to determine who was the best in the state of Montana.
The first Coyote to grace the floor of the arena was Tabris Correa. A freshman, and 16-20 on the season, Correa was paired with the number one seed and heavily favored Daniel Uli of Plains/Hot Springs. Correa started off fast and furious with a dominating shot but the momentum shifted after Uli, a 43-1 senior, shook off the shot and quickly took control and pinned Correa in :49. Uli would eventually win the weight class. Tabris’ next match in the first round of the consolation bracket was against Mike Wilkinson of Whitehall. The match would go the distance but not in the favor of Correa. The bout was won by Wilkinson in an 8-2 decision.
Brusven’s day started off with a bit of a surprise. His first opponent, Hunter Reum of Poplar would forfeit the match to Brusven placing Wyatt in the quarter-finals against Riley Forcella of Whitehall. Brusven wasted no time and wore down his opponent and would eventually pin Forcella in 3:59. The win guaranteed Wyatt a place on the podium. His next opponent was one that was anticipated all season. Brusven would face Michael Weber of Forsyth. Weber, a junior, was a two-time state champion and 45-0 on the season. He comes from a long line of wrestling champions in his family and is heavily decorated in the sport. Undeterred, Brusven was up for the challenge in the semi-final match-up on day two of the event. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for Wyatt. Brusven lost the bout by fall at the closing seconds of the first period in 1:57. Weber would eventually win the weight class and attain his third state title.
In the consolation semi-final match-up, Brusven was paired with a familiar opponent in senior Quinn Whitmus of Wolf Point. Brusven defeated Whitmus last year in the consolation final at 132lbs. The match was a battle of epic proportion and had all of the hallmarks of a championship match. At the end of regulation, the match was tied 1-1 sending it into overtime sudden victory. After a back and forth flurry, Whitmus shot in and got the takedown given him the win 3-1. Whitmus would eventually go on to place 4th. The loss placed Brusven into the 5th/6th place match against junior Dylan Raihl of Columbus/Absarokee. Raihl defeated Brusven in the semi-final match at the Choteau Classic earlier in the season in a close match. The rematch was an exciting one. The score was 1-0 late into the third period when Brusven was taken down to his back giving his opponent a 6-0 win by decision. Wyatt finished the season with a record of 32-10.
The Coyote team was small this year but all of the wrestlers will be back next season. They are looking to join forces with many up-and-coming eighth graders that have a lot of wrestling experience. This year’s varsity wrestlers will offer great leadership next season and should be able to hit the mat running in November.
“I feel that there is an upswing in interest with wrestling in Shelby. We have a robust Little Guy program and a glut of kids out for the JH program. I attribute this to the group of kids I currently have in the room and a desire for some of these kids to be challenged. If kids are looking to be challenged, our program will meet them head-on. We not only will challenge the kids, we will teach them proper technique, how to live a healthy lifestyle and how to enjoy team camaraderie. This can easily cross over into other sports and ultimately life. I am excited about the prospect of success in the future.”