Sidney/Fairview/Lambert Wrestlers Finish 2nd at State

The Sidney/Fairview/Lambert wrestling team finished the MHSA State All-Class Wrestling Tournament in 2nd place in Billings Feb. 9-10. The Eagles had 9 state placers including state champion Tyson Syth at 103#. Placing 2nd were Gordon Knapp (113#), Brenner Mullin (126#), Aaron Schmitz (132#) and Brody Keysor (138#). Finishing 3rd was Ty Schepens (160#) and 4th was Reece Graves (145#). Sixth place finishers were Thor Fulgham (205#) and Caleb Kleinke (285#).

Eagles head coach Guy Melby was proud of this young team's performance at the tournament. "I think it went awesome," Melby stated. "Our coaching staff thought we had it in us, nobody else did. When you walk in there with all those young dudes." The team had 10 wrestlers that were 8th graders or freshmen. The Jan. 17 Montana state coaches poll ranked the team 7th prior to the Class A Duals in Butte.

"We knew these guys were coming up. We have been grooming them for a lot of years," said Melby. "I'm really pleased with how they performed. Just how they fought. I told the guys at the beginning of the tournament its hard to beat a guy that fights for six minutes."

Some of the events at the tournament defied even the coaching staff's expectations. "We always thought we could get six (wrestlers) in the semi finals. We got seven in the semis and we got five in the finals," stated Melby.

With the help of the wrestlers in the consolation rounds the team was able to remain in the running on the second day of the tournament. Entering the consolation semifinals the team was in first place with a small lead ahead of Laurel, the eventual Class A team champions. "Any time you can go to the state tournament and be in it going into the placing rounds its a pretty successful tournament," stated Melby.

The Eagles definitely had an outstanding semifinal round. "I'm not going to say it was perfect but it was so close to perfect. I felt really good about it. I was so proud of our younger guys," said Melby. "We had two 8th graders and two freshmen in the finals at the state tournament. It's unbelievable."

Coach Melby has great pride in this year's team and is excited for years to come. "I was very pleased with the performance. What I kinda really liked was if they got beat they were upset about it. This crew loves wrestling and they even like conditioning. It's pretty bazaar," stated Melby. In the years ahead the team is poised to be even more dominate as the wrestlers mature, improve and upcoming wrestlers join their ranks. "Anything lower than second will be a huge disappointment," said Melby. The Eagles have set a high bar with this year's performance. "I think we will be deeper next year. We will have a few more kids out. Instead of bringing 12 (wrestlers) to state I think we will bring 17."


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