The Battle of the Root which features the four wrestling teams in the in the valley was renamed this year. It is now the Mike McChesney Memorial Battle of the Root. McChesney was a fixture at wrestling meets across Montana. He was instrumental in wrestling to Florence and worked for years in the Little Guy program there and throughout Western Montana. He was also a wrestling official and worked meets across the state.He passed away last summer. The trophy, which is actually a tree root that has been sanded and finished, holds small plaques of the previous winners. Corvallis has won four of the five times it has been given.
This tournament was held in Stevensville on Saturday morning. With a full slate of wrestling, the title came down to one point between Corvallis and Hamilton. Hamilton had one wrestler who didn’t make weight. That, coupled with the number of pins Corvallis had, the coaches running numbers and pulling out calculators to figure out the final scores.
“Pins are crucial,” said Corvallis Coach Matt Davis. A pin earned the wrestler eight points while a win by decision was only five points. Corvallis wrestlers had nine pins in the two rounds.
Davis said his team is looking forward to Divisional Wrestling this weekend but he still has a few wrestlers who aren’t quite healthy. One more week should make a difference he said. The Western A Divisional tournament will be this weekend at Butte Central.
Healthy and well was the concern of all the coaches at the tournament. Hamilton’s Chad Williams said his team was on the tail end of the sickness that has been running rampant in the valley. He was especially proud of the match between Bridger Willams and Randon Weidow of Corvallis at 145 pounds. The two battled to a 9-5 decision in favor of Williams. Hamilton also won a tough match at 132 pounds between Michael Golden and James Wissenbach of Corvallis. Golden is ranked No.1 in the coaches poll at this weight but it took him three minutes to pin Wissenbach.
In addition to the tournament trophy, two other awards have been added to this tournament. They are ‘outstanding wrestler’, and ‘most inspirational wrestler’ and are voted on by the coaches. Florence’s Spencer Jones was selected as this year’s outstanding wrestler. Jones wrestles at 205 and is currently the No. 1 ranked wrestler in Class B.
Florence coach Bryan Volkmann said Jones is a tough wrestler and a leader on the team. The Falcons have also been battling injuries and illness but are on the mend. “All the team is growing with every meet and we should be at our best next week,” he said. Florence will compete at Thompson Falls at the Western B tournament.
Stevensville coach Ted Adams was pleased with the tournament and the way his team competed. “We lost a ton of seniors last year and are once again rebuilding. When we started, we didn’t have any younger wrestlers to begin with but now we have younger wrestlers coming in that have had experience.”
Adams was especially proud of Devin McLane who wrestles at 103 pounds. McLane suffers from a physical condition called AMC. He cannot use his arms. His core strength and leg strength can be deceptive. Adams said McLane is an inspiration to everyone, whether they are Yellowjackets or opponents.
The Mike McChesney Memorial Battle of the Root
Team results – Corvallis 62, Hamilton 61, Florence 38, Stevensville 25
103 – Mark Spencer, C, pinned Logan Bratsch H, 3:14; 126 – Aaron Edens, F, won by forfeit; 132 – Benji Opat, C, pinned Ethan Cramer, H, :34; 138 – Allan Allsop, C, pinned Aaron Springer, S,4:38; 145 – Caden Plasmier, F, pinned Tristan Riel, S, 1:06; 152 – Dylan Janes, S, pinned Gregory Winegart, F, :20; 160 – Ben Holtzen, C, Pinned Daniel Shved, F, :56; 170 – Jared Pablo, F, won by forfeit; 182, Cadagen Wheat, H, won by forfeit; 205 – Brock Jones, H, pinned Boglarka Zatko, S,1:18; Hwt – Harley Wise, C, pinned O’Maste Foster, F, :33.
103 – Andrew Carmody, H, pinned Oliver Post, F, 3:36; 113 – Hannah Hurst won by forfeit; 120 – Jimmy Schmitt, C, pinned Ty Thompson,S,1:41; 126 – Dante Venema, C,pinned Kellen Robbins, S, 3:51; 132 – Michael Golden, H, pinned James Wissenbach,C, 3:00; 138 – Triston Davis, C, pinned Zach Harrington, F, 1:37; 145 – Bridger Williams, H, dec Randon Weidow, C, 9-5; 152 – Cole Anson, H, pinned Derrick Gasvoda, C, 3:38; 160 – Kyler Pancake, S, dec. Noah Hurst, H, 13-10; 170: Luke Maki, F, def. Ethan Chavez, C; 182- Kale Wanner, H, pinned AidanVan Ostrand, S,1:38; 205 – Spencer Jones won by forfeit; Hit – Jake Woods, S, pinned Reece Buchanan, H.