Shonn Roberts’ list of achievements are already Hall of Fame like as he nears completion of a third varsity season for the fifth-ranked Columbia Falls Mat Cats.
n He’s a three-time Northwestern A divisional wrestling champion, winning titles at three different weight classes: 98, 112 and 126 pounds.
n A two-time Class A state champion at 98 and 112, he will be going for his third straight in Billings at the state tournament today and Saturday. This time at 126.
n He won the prestigious Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic at 126 last month for the first time.
n He holds the school record for pins in a season set a year ago with 33. He has 27 in 2013-14.
n And he’s been the top-ranked wrestler at his weight class all season in the Class A Coaches Poll.
So, what’s left, or next?
Obviously leaving Columbia Falls as a four-time state champ heads the list.
“I set my goal to be a four-time state champion (in sixth grade),” he said.
“I’ve been training for that.”
Sixty-seven Montana wrestlers have won three state champions. Just 23 have captured four.
But before that happens, he’s on the verge of doing something extra special this season. Roberts is 35-0 heading to state and has won 50 straight matches dating back to last season when he finished 39-2. He was 29-2 his freshman year.
So a perfect record would be an extraordinary achievement.
“I’ve worked really hard my whole life,” Roberts said when it comes to grappling.
“I have a lot of gifts for the sport — I’m long, lanky and actually pretty strong. I’m also coordinated, which helps.”
And there is more.
“I do a lot of things (on the mat),” he said of what makes him difficult to wrestle.
“I’m more of a well-rounded wrestler while most kids get one dimensional. I focus on what their strengths are.
“We do a lot of conditioning and I thank the coaches for that,” he added.
“They get us well prepared for matches ... having us go for six-minutes plus. A lot of kids from other teams don’t have the conditioning Columbia Falls has.”
Roberts says he’s always altering his wrestling style and approach to keep his foes on their toes.
“I wrestle different every single time,” he said.
“I used to go into a match knowing exactly what I was going to try to do and stick to that one game plan even if it didn’t work out as well. Now, I let everything flow more, more muscle memory.”
Roberts expects his biggest challengers this weekend will be Ethan Graves of Sidney, ranked No. 2 in Class A, Hunter Grover of Lewistown, who is No. 4, and Carlos Quinones of Polson, who is No. 5.
Roberts pinned Quinones in the divisional final last week in Libby.
Quinones, oddly enough, holds the distinction of being the only wrestler this season to put Roberts on his back.
“At a Polson dual,” he said.
“I was leading 15-5 and got thrown. I got off my back and still won 15-10.”
Roberts has not trailed in any match this season.
“Keep a good head and stay offensive,” he said.
“I’m going down there (Billings) like I do every single wrestling tournament and not change anything,” he said.
“That’s where a lot of kids go wrong. They get nervous and change things.
“I’m going there and will try to dominate every kid I wrestle and try to get off the mat as fast as I can.”
NOTE: Roberts came into the season with an eye on setting the school record for takedowns in a season, which is 124. He abandoned that goal before divisionals. “I have 90 something,” he said of takedowns, “so I gave up on that. Coach didn’t want me taking down individuals at divisional or state because it’s risky.”