Cowboy wrestlers fall to Laurel, Billings Central

It was Senior Night on Tuesday at the Custer County District High School gym as the wrestlers took on Eastern A matmen from Laurel and Billings Central Catholic.

Open weight classes and few wins did the injury-plagued Cowboy grapplers no favors as they fell 60-12 to Laurel and 42-24 to Billings Central. 

However, points on the board against Eastern A opponents are meaningful when it comes to the divisional tournament. 

“There were some good wins tonight,” said Cowboy head coach Jon Harris, “and it gives us some help when we go into divisionals, seeding-wise,” when tournament officials and coaches look at head-to-head matchups.

Cowboy freshman Braxton Scheeler went 2-0 on the night, taking down Laurel’s Garret Sletten first, followed by a forfeit win against Billings Central. Scheeler also pinned the 10-pounds-heavier Alex Derbyshire of Central in an exhibition match. 

Scheeler, tipping the scales at 103 pounds, and freshman heavyweight Archie Swift were the lone Cowboys to put up team points against the Locomotives.

Scheeler got on the scoreboard first with a takedown on Sletten, which Sletten answered with an escape. Scheeler took a 6-2 lead into the second period, where he scored a 3-point near-fall, but one point was added to Sletten’s tally for Scheeler’s illegal hold. Scheeler quickly recovered and pinned Sletten just before the buzzer sounded to end the period. 

Laurel did not have an opponent for Swift, so Swift won by forfeit. 

Junior Kon Speelmon and freshman Tyler Harms recorded wins for the Cowboys against Billings Central, and freshman Jake Murnion won by forfeit at 120 pounds.  

The 145-pound Speelmon, in complete control of Pete Saliaris, took a 5-0 lead into the second period. He needed just 30 seconds more to stick Saliaris with the pin. 

“I’ve wrestled him before,” said Speelmon, “and I just had to go at it and keep up the intensity.”

Harms, at 185, fell behind Central’s Thomas Cooper after an illegal hand lock. An early takedown and near-fall by Harms at the buzzer put him up 5-3, and his focus and strength showed as he maneuvered Cooper into the pin just over a minute into the second period. 

“Kids have been putting in a little extra work in the practice room and picking up the intensity,” said Harris. “We’ve only got a week and a half until divisionals, so there’s no going back now.”

Speelmon also noted the Cowboys’ efforts. “This dual, we all wrestled with a lot more intensity. We’re coming around.” 

For Senior Parent’s Night, the Cowboy wrestlers have no twelfth-graders on the squad, but Gen Johnson and Kaci Anderson were honored as senior matadors. The Pep Band recognized Cecelia Freese, Hallie Banta, Jerrik Boysun and Kaleb Kurtz.

The Cowboys head to Hardin on Saturday for their last regular-season dual before traveling to the Eastern A Divisional Tournament in Glendive on Feb. 4.