The Bulldogs wrestling team got back on the mat during the Cut Bank Invitational last weekend.
Robert Bertlesen (160) and Nathan Sproul (103) were the team’s top finishers, taking fourth and fifth respectively.
Sproul got a quarterfinal win over Jefferson High School’s Dominick Davis but fell to Havre’s Mick Chagnon by fall in the semifinal match. After picking up a win in the consolation semis, Sproul again took down Davis in the fifth-place match.
Bertlesen fell in the semifinal match and lost due to an injury in the third place match after picking up a win in the consolation semis.
Head coach Ryan Boyle said he felt Bertlesen was wrestling his best tournament yet, but it was the coaches’ call to end the match after Bertlesen tweaked his foot.
“Those things happen. We’re trying to keep kids healthy for down the road, not just place higher [now],” he said.
Dakota Flannery (138) went 3-2 in the tournament as well, but did not place.
As a team, Whitefish finished 16th overall in the large tournament.
Boyle said he’s seeing progress with his wrestlers, but it’s time for them to take the next step as the season moves into the second half.
“Overall, we made a step in the right direction. Over Christmas break it’s always tough, kids aren’t in school and they don’t have that schedule they’re used to,” Boyle said. “That kind of plays with everybody a little bit, but we went to Cut Bank and wrestled better in some spots. We were close, we were losing matches by one point instead of getting blown out, but we need to figure out how to win those by one point or get that last take down, we’re just not doing that yet.”
The Bulldogs have a full dish this week.
On Tuesday the team hosted Glacier High School after presstime. Then on Thursday they’ll head to Frenchtown for a triangular with Belgrade and Post Falls. On Friday and Saturday they’ll compete in the River City Duals in Post Falls, Idaho.
There’s a lot of wrestling in the next few weeks, Boyle said, so right now the focus is on putting all the pieces together.
“With the schedule we have right now, we have 14 more days of practice before the divisional tournament. We’re wrestling a lot,” he said. “We’re just focusing on those situations where we’re down — how do we score that last take down or that last turn to win it? We don’t have very much time to figure that out, but that’s what we’re going for.”