COLUMBIA FALLS — The Columbia Falls wrestling team pulled a 48-36 upset over No. 7 Polson Saturday.
In a dual that could have swung either way, Columbia Falls 125-pounder Seth McCall fought off his back to pin Polson’s Carlos Quinones, the third-ranked wrestler at 119 pounds, and help his team avenge its 45-36 loss in Polson on Jan. 10.
“I was just going to go out there and try to wrestle as hard as I could for the team,” McCall said. “Just to keep the momentum going.”
McCall scored the first takedown 17 seconds into the opening period, but Quinones escaped and scored a takedown of his own before McCall escaped at the buzzer to even the score at 3-all.
McCall elected to start the second period in the bottom position and scored a reversal 38 seconds in, but Quinones rallied with an escape and a takedown that gave the Polson wrestler a 6-5 lead after two periods.
Quinones looked dominant early in the third period, scoring an escape and a takedown in the opening minute and putting McCall into a cradle. Quinones briefly stuck McCall’s right shoulder and was inches away from a pin when McCall spun out of his grip and stuck both of Quinones’ shoulders for a pin, a stunning reversal of fortune that brought the crowd to its feet and ultimately gave Columbia Falls the points it needed to win the dual.
“(I was thinking) that I was going to pass out,” said McCall of Quinones’ cradle. “It was pretty tight. I just rolled through and was like ‘suck it up.’”
Columbia Falls coach Jessie Schaeffer said McCall’s upset win was a big result for his team.
“He wrestled Quinones very well in the first period,” Schaeffer said. “He had a pretty flat second period, started giving up a few things and was getting pretty sloppy.
“We’ve talked and stressed the past few weeks about giving yourself opportunities to win the match and to put yourself in scramble situations. He put himself in a scramble situation and he capitalized. We talk about when you’ve got a kid on their back to smell the blood, and in that match in particular, he found a kid on his back and smelled the blood, so that’s what we’re looking for.”
Polson coach Bob Owen said he wasn’t too surprised with the outcome of the dual, with the exception of the McCall-Quinones match.
“We got caught there at 125, we had that in hand,” he said.
“We just about had the guy pinned. He had that cradle on him and wound up tipping him up too high and wound up getting pinned himself. That was a big swing, but we had some good matches. We’re pretty well-matched with this team.”
Cameron Linstead, 105 pounds, Shonn Roberts, 119, Colton Sweeny, 135, Chase Ramberg, 140, and Cameron Peterson, 171, also tallied pins for Columbia Falls.
Thunder Morales, 98 pounds, Craig Feistner, 145, Jared Young, 152, Mike Corrigan, 189, and Isaiah Williams, 215, had pins for Polson.
The Northwestern A divisonal tournament, which determines qualifying for the state tournament, is Feb. 2 in Frenchtown and both Schaeffer and Owen said their teams have work to do in the two weeks prior to divisionals.
“Right now we are firing off about eight cylinders,” Schaeffer said.
“And we need to be firing off 15. We have some kids right now that are stepping it up, but in order for us to finish our season on a strong note, we definitely need those other seven kids to step it up and find a way to win close matches.”
Said Owen: “We’ve got a very young team and they’re getting better every week, so we’re just thankful we’ve got two more weeks before that divisional tournament, because they’ve made a ton of progress since Christmas-time. I’m excited about how we’re climbing. Frenchtown is going to be the team to beat (at divisionals), no question about that. I think the rest of us are pretty equal between Libby, Columbia Falls and us, so it will be a dogfight.”
Both teams are back in action on Thursday. Polson travels to Libby while Columbia Falls hosts Whitefish.
Columbia Falls 48, Polson 36
98 - Thunder Morales, P, pin Cameron Goodwin, 1:16; 105 - Cameron Linstead, C, pin Cody Hedeen, 0:53; 112 - Kaleb Gravelin, C, dec. Jaben Wenzel, 7-2; 119 - Shonn Roberts, C, pin Alex Helgeson, 1:14; 125 - Seth McCall, C, pin Carlos Quinones, 5:47; 130 - Josiah Osborne, C, dec. Dylan Moll, 5-2; 135 - Colton Sweeny, C, pin Rhett Burland, 1:26; 140 - Chase Ramberg, C, pin Noah Fouty, 3:14; 145 - Craig Feistner, P, pin Bryan Shaffer, 1:01; 152 - Jared Young, P, pin Cody Walters, 2:34; 171 - Cameron Peterson, C, pin Josiah Edington, 5:16; 189 - Mike Corrigan, P, pin Michael Dennison, 1:45; 215 - Isaiah Williams, P, pin Matt Erhart, 1:13.
Polson won forfeit at 160. Columbia Falls won forfeit at 285.