A pair of heavyweights on a collision course helped the Butte High and Whitehall wrestling teams get off to impressive starts at the annual C.M. Russell Holiday Classic in Great Falls on Friday.
Butte’s defending Class AA heavyweight state title holder Jeff Queer needed 1 minute, 45 seconds to pin Poplar's Trey Pribbernow and advance to the semifinal round of the tournament’s championship bracket.
Whitehall heavyweight Dawson Hoerauf pinned Thompson Falls' Seth Alarcon in 1:53 to punch his semifinal ticket, and could be set for an all-local match wiht Queer on Saturday.
Butte High is sitting in fifth place as a team with 95 points after Day 1, while Whitehall is 15th with 66 points. Bozeman (126 points) leads, with just a three-point cushion on Great Falls.
Both big wrestlers will have company in the semifinals, as Butte High's Gabe Tierney (120 pounds) won a thrilling 13-11 decision over Thompson Falls' Kaleb Frank to keep his title hopes alive. Whitehall's other semifinalist is Dawson Powers (103), who made quick work Fergus' Colton Picco in just 35 seconds in his quarterfinal.
Dillon's Brent Tezak (160) is the only other local semifinalist after pinning Butte High's Carl Anderson in 1:55 in their quarterfinal.
Butte High saw Quinn Sullivan (152) and Kameron Moreno (182) drop tough quarterfinals, while Butte Central's Clay Fisher (132), Dillon's Cooper Hoffman (152), Jefferson's Brett Hale (170) and Anaconda's Clancy Gout (205) also fell in the day's final matches.