Rangers send 4 to state


By Thomas E. Watson
Enterprise Staff Writer


Four of Park High’s seven wrestlers at the Eastern A Divisional Wrestling Tournament placed in the top six of their weight class, including a second-place finish by Adam Bankert and two wrestlers who placed in the same class. 

With their finish at the tournament, all four Rangers earned a spot in the Class A State Tournament.

Park did have three wrestlers, however, who didn’t make it to state.

“I was a little disappointed,” head coach Jeremy Shields said for the three, whose seasons ended. “I thought we came in with a real shot at getting all the guys through. It came down to where you ended up in the bracket, and we had a couple of kids who ended up in a pretty tough spot in the bracket. It was a little disappointing for those kids who didn’t make it in because they work so hard. They are there every day working in the morning, so my heart is hurting a little for those kids, and I’m really proud of the kids who made it through.”

Bankert, who entered the tournament with an impressive 31-10 record wrestling at 103-pounds, received a bye in both the first round and the quarterfinals. He wrestled his first match in the semifinals against Laurel’s Kaleb Ripley, pinning Ripley in 4:20.

In the championship match, Christian Dean of Sidney/Bainville was able to get the best of Bankert — winning by major decision, 9-1.

“He hadn’t seen Dean from Sidney before, and I don’t know that we were ready for his style,” said Shields. “Adam I really feel will see him at the state tournament. We’ll know what we’re getting into, and I think he has a real chance to beat him. But Adam wrestled well, though, he wrestled really well. He’s wrestled well all year long.”

At 160 pounds, Park finished the tournament with two out of the top six wrestlers. Quinton Dirette overcame a first-round setback and battled his way to five straight wins.

After losing to Glendive’s Tyler Clapp by a 17-12 decision in the first round, Dirette was able to turn things around quickly in the double-elimination tournament. 

Dirette pinned each of his next three opponents in 2:10, 0:50 and 2:38, respectively.

In the consolation semifinals, up against Clapp for the second time in the tournament, Dirette earned a hard-fought 9-8 decision. That win put Dirette in the fifth-sixth place match against his own teammate, Tyler Laverty.

Laverty had a different route through the tournament, making his way into the semifinals of the championship bracket before losing.

Laverty pinned Browning’s Ryan Longtime Sleeping in 1:44, then in the quarterfinals he won in overtime in a 5-3 decision over Hardin’s Phillip Rising Sun before Browning’s Dylan Loring won in a 5-2 decision over Laverty to put him in the fifth-sixth place match against Dirette.

Dirette was able to pick up a win by major decision, 17-5, but Laverty will still be jointing Dirette at the state tournament.

“It was very fortunate, and I am very excited that it did not cost either of them,” said Shields. “Those guys wrestled a really good tournament. They wrestled a good match against each other, and after making it to state, they are excited and ready to go. They have a real shot at standing on the podium this next weekend.”

Also qualifying for state with a third-place finish at 285-pounds was Cole Jesson, whose only loss at the tournament was against Travis Adams, who went on to win the division championship at 285-pounds.

Jesson started the tournament with a first-round bye. He met Kolton Wippert from Browning in the next round, pinning him in 1:12.

Against Adams in the semifinals Jesson was pinned in 3:27, but Jesson responded by pinning his next opponent in just 41 seconds.

Jesson also pinned his opponent in the third-fourth place match — giving him a dominating three pins in all three of his wins.

“Cole had a great tournament,” Shields said. “He wrestled the number one kid in the state (Adams) and throws him on his back three times. If he didn’t run out of gas, he was dominating the number one kid in the state in the only match he did lose. Cole has such an opportunity to place very high this weekend. It wasn’t surprising to us. He works really hard, so we’re excited he has afforded himself the opportunity.”

All four of these wrestlers — Bankert, Dirette, Laverty and Jesson — now move on to the Class A state tournament, which starts this Friday at the MetraPark in Billings as part of the Montana High School Association ALL-Class Wrestling Tournament.