Wrestling Revitalized

Park’s 6th place finish at Class A Duals exemplifies success of Big Timber merger
Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Monday, January 27, 2020
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Enterprise photos by Ryan Peerboom

Ranger wrestlers from left, Cade Gubler, Adin Gibson wand Danyk Jacobson get down and ready before practice on Wednesday at Park High. The wrestlers are consistently some of the top finishers for the Rangers so far this season.

The Park High wrestling program put the state on notice with a sixth place finish at the Class A Duals on Tuesday in Lewistown.

All 21 Class A schools competed as the Rangers won four of their head-to-head matchups, picking up a big win over Frenchtown, one of the top teams in the state.

After suffering a loss to Custer County in the first round, the Rangers won three of their next four matches. 

Their first win was a close match where the Rangers beat eight ranked Polson, 40-36. Many of the Ranger wrestlers were wrestling in higher weight classes than usual, but that didn’t impact their chances.

“Most of them were up a weight class, wrestling other tough kids,” Park head coach Ben Hahn said after the team returned home on Saturday.

 Danyk Jacobsen, Cade Gubler and Adin Gibson, who have led the Rangers all season, all notched wins in the match. 

The Rangers picked up another win over No. 7 Columbia Falls, 37-35, after falling to no. 10 Hamilton/Darby. Jacobsen, Gubler and Gibson all picked up wins again in addition to Brayden Linville, Gage McGillvray and Aden Rogge. 

In the first Championship round, the Rangers beat Hardin, 39-30, to secure a sixth place or better finish. Gubler won by Decision and Gibson pinned his opponent to lead the Rangers. 

The Rangers big win came over fifth ranked Frenchtown in the quarterfinals. The Rangers won 48-29 due in large part to six pins in the dual. Jacobson pinned Zane Schoeder, the second ranked wrestler in the 132-pound weight class. Rogge pinned sixth ranked John Warner to help secure the win. Gibson and Alex Kober also pinned their opponents. 

The Rangers lost a few matches down the stretch, but had done enough to secure a sixth place finish. 

Hahn’s excitement was palpable when talking about his team’s performance.

“Just to be wrestling at that level and with those kind of teams — those are good teams — and for us to be in there and winning those matches, that was pretty exciting,” he said.

The tournament gives a new outlook to a season in which the Rangers have had to adjust their goals to fit with their success.

“At the beginning of the year, we said the goal was to be a top-fifteen team, and then we moved it to ten and we’re just going from there,” Hahn said. “We’ll see, if we stay healthy and things keep going well and we’re having fun, we’re definitely looking at top-ten, top-five maybe. 

It’s safe to call the first year of the merger with Sweet Grass County wrestlers a success. 

Three Ranger wrestlers have led the pack so far this season – Gibson, Gubler and Jacobsen. The trio has consistently finished in front for Park, finding the podium. For Gibson, who shuttles over from Big Timber, the opportunity is one that he doesn’t take for granted. Last week, Gibson shared his feelings on getting the opportunity to wrestle with the Rangers. 

“I couldn’t believe it really, because I had almost given up on wrestling since there was nowhere to wrestle,” Gibson said. 

Gibson added that the returning Ranger wrestlers were all welcoming, easing his transition. 

“They were pretty welcoming, we’re all friends now. They were all friendly the first day. 

Jacobsen said he also notices the opportunity the merger has provided. 

“It’s been good working out with other kids,” Jacobsen said last week. “I knew one kid that used to wrestle that is wrestling with us now again.” 

Hahn summed up his thoughts on the season on Saturday.

“Wrestling’s back, we’re having fun,” he said. We’re going to try to do some more duals next year at home and try to get some more home stuff going. Just trying to get the Ranger wrestling fans back.”


Up next

The Rangers are on the road on Saturday for a dual at Hardin.