Five state placers return to mats for Coach DeCock

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

Caleb Birdwell stands on the podium after taking second place at 132 pounds during last year’s state tournament. Birdwell returns this year, looking to win a state title. 

Wyatt Blythe prepares mentally for one of his matches at last year’s state tournament. Blythe finished sixth in his weight class.                Photos by Doreen Heintz

As juniors, Fergus High’s Tanner Mannin, Caleb Birdwell, Alex Wickens, Wyatt Blythe and Brady Boyce placed at the Class A State Wrestling Tournament in Billings last year. Now seniors, the five, plus fellow senior Chase Farrar, return for their final season on the mats for the Golden Eagles. Birdwell and Blythe won Eastern A Divisional titles last year at 132 and 170 pounds, respectively. Birdwell went on to finish second at the state meet, while Blythe was sixth. Mannin and Boyce also finished sixth at state, while Wickens finished fourth. Farrar and sophomore Duane Otto also competed at state last year.
These seven wrestlers, along with junior Grady Gilpatrick and sophomore Treyvn Nave, will be counted on by Coach Brendon DeCock to lead the Fergus wrestling team this year.
“We will be led by a great group of seniors and expect them to contribute,” said DeCock, who is beginning his third year as head coach for the Golden Eagles.
A large contingent of freshmen is also wrestling for Fergus. The number of Golden Eagle wrestlers is now over 20.
“We will have, and will continue to have, high expectations,” said DeCock. “We have a ton of potential but that doesn’t mean much if we don’t put in the work.”
Assistant coaches for DeCock are Mike Mager and Robert Wallace.
DeCock sees Havre as probably the front runner in Class A. The Blue Ponies have won the past five Class A state championships in wrestling.
“They will have another solid team,” said DeCock, about Havre. “I also see Sidney in the east on the rise again in wrestling.”
The Golden Eagles will begin competition this Friday and Saturday at the Havre Invitational. The team should see just how strong the Blue Ponies will be this coming season.
Fergus wrestling fans’ first opportunity to see the Eagles at a home meet is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. against Havre. Lewistown will also be hosting the Class A Duals on Jan. 19-20. All Class A schools in the state are planning on attending the two-day tournament.



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