Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Cronk, Crump and Fainter Divisional Champs

by AVERY HOWE
Photographer | February 7, 2024 2:00 AM

Fifteen total Columbia Falls wrestlers will head to the State Tournament in Billings this weekend after qualifying in Western Divisionals Feb. 2-3.

The boys team was third overall, with Traic Fainter (113), Blaise Cronk (160) and Rowdy Crump (182) earning first place for their weight classes. Joining them at state will be Dylan Delorme (145) and Winslow Peters (152) who took second place, Blake Hoerner (132) and Billy Gustafson (152) in third, Bradley Beck (120) fourth, Cash Byrd (126) sixth and Adam Lolli (205) eighth. 

“Ultimately we wrestled where we were expected to,” coach Jessie Schaeffer said. There were no real upsets, though the boys competed well. At state, the Wildcats will make one last effort to shake up the competition and bring home some hardware. 

“We definitely have kids capable of that,” Schaeffer said. 

The girls had eight of ten competitors place, though only five will be able to attend the state tournament due to restrictions that exist because the program is comparatively small. 

“That’s a little frustrating,” coach Ben Schaeffer said. “As we grow our sport, we will try and move away from that.” 

However, Ben Schaeffer noted that the girls performed very well and perhaps exceeded expectation. With a goal of 100 team points, they walked away with 109 and fourth overall. 

Jaelynn Nace (100) Jaici Watt-Duran (145) and Samantha Larsen (152) took second, Seirra Born (120) and Kinsey Ward (165) fifth, they will attend the state competition. Also placing were Vanessa Nace (100) in fifth, Kaycee Orvis (114) in sixth, Shelby Norman (114) and Ella Timlick (138) in seventh. 

The girls had one on the podium last year, Jaelynn Nace, and hope to match or exceed that. 

The State Tournament will take place in Billings Feb. 8-10. 

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