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Wolves strong at season-opening tourney

As the Three Forks/Ennis High School Wrestling team readies for the second week of competition, they will do so with a roster that includes senior leaders Alex Fletcher, Jack Hayder, Gabe Hungerford, and Cole Rogers. Along with four juniors, the 2023-24 team has plenty of talented underclassmen, with 20 wrestlers in eighth to tenth grade. Wolves Head Coach Nye Howey said having 28 out for the team makes it competitive in the wrestling team and allows everyone to have a practice partner.

According to Howey, they have a younger team this season, and the strong senior class has really been instrumental in guiding the underclassmen, adding the entire team has been working hard during the first few weeks of practices.

Three Forks opened their 2023-24 season, finishing in fifth place out of 22 teams at last week’s Cascade Invite.

Howey said the team was rusty, but the first tournament still went well.

A two-time defending state champion, Cole Rogers led the way for the Wolves, finishing in first place at 126 pounds and winning the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the two-day tournament.

After winning his first three matches by technical fall, Rogers finished first with a 15-4 major decision over Blaine VanDyke of Conrad.

Eighth-grader Tatum Todd of Ennis had a fantastic first tournament with the program, finishing in second place at 138 pounds. Todd won by fall over Bridger Slaughtner of Deer Lodge (:11), Delane Lamere of Harlem (:16), and Aaron Sawyer of Cascade (2:22).

Eight-grader Howie Gayle of Ennis finished in fourth place at 113 pounds for the Wolves. Gayle won by fall at the one-minute mark over Gracin Jones of Conrad and picked up a pin at 1:55 against Kaden Isakson of Choteau.

Jacob Murphy finished in fourth place for Three Forks at 120 pounds and had pins over Craig Prangly of Roundup (:36), Seth Kornick of Columbus (1:39), and Izaak Munski of Cascade (1:32).

Hayder had a great start to the season for Three Forks, finishing in fourth place at 152 pounds. He opened the tournament with pins over Kevin Smith of Townsend (:49) and Seth Dennis of Shepherd (1:31). After falling in the quarterfinals, Hayder had three consecutive pins over Evan Clarke of Shelby (1:59), Levi Fuller of Whitehall (:40), and Asher Nelson of Cascade (:40).

Freshman Nicolai Kovnesky finished in fifth place at 182 pounds. Kovnesky won by fall over Draco Reynolds (1:11) and picked up a pin over Dillon Connelly of Valier in the fifth-place match.

Travis Haldorsen had two pins for the Wolves at 145 pounds. Haldorsen won by fall at 2:42 over Kaydan Bullshore of Heart Butte and picked up the pin at 1:32 over Preston Lee of Choteau.

Brock Sneed picked up a win for the Wolves at 138 pounds with a pin over Anthony Tomassi of Roundup at 1:50.

Randy Pyfer had two wins for Three Forks at 205 pounds. Pyfer won by fall over Jacob Pesicka of Townsend (:17) and Cole Christoferson of Boulder (:26).

“The kids have been working hard in the room, and it was good to get to the first tournament,” Howey said.

The Wolves will have a busy week of action, starting with a mixer on Thursday at Jefferson High School in Boulder. Howey said on Friday and Saturday, some more experienced wrestlers would be participating in the Mining City Duals in Butte, while younger team members would be competing at the Whitehall Duals.

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