KALISPELL - Flathead High School Head Wrestling Coach Jeff Thompson and the Braves defended their Class AA wrestling title over the weekend in Billings.
The Braves finished with 288 points, ahead of Bozeman with 222 and Billings Skyview with 181.5.
This is the ninth title in history for the Braves and the second straight year in a row that they are the state champs. Thompson has led the team to six of those nine titles.
"Going in we were ranked second and we just wanted to prove that we were the best team in Montana and that we really stepped up Saturday," said Thompson. "This team came to wrestle and they did very very well, it was awesome."
Along with taking home the team title, Thompson and the Braves also had 15 state placers overall, including three individual champions Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Senior Tucker Adenauer capped off an undefeated season by winning the 182-pound championship while senior Payton Hume at 170 pounds took home his first state title who finished runner-up last season, and Michael Lee at 285 pounds.
Lee met teammate Alex Paull in the finals - winning in an overtime thriller that saw him escape with a 3-2 tie-breaker decision.
Coach Thompson says senior captains, Tucker Nadau and Payton Hume who have been in the program since they were freshman set great examples and led the team both on and off the mat.
Along with helping defend the state title both also brought home individual titles.
"It was an amazing win, especially after last year," said Tucker Nadau. "And then there were some doubts among outsiders that we would even be able to achieve the same kind of thing and to have the kind of state tournament we did and with all the guys I've been wrestling with over the last four years. It was just incredible."
"I'd been dreaming of this moment for years and, I mean, to win a state championship is amazing," said Hume. "But to win a state championship individually and with my team. It's unbelievable. I couldn't have dreamed of a better moment.
Thompson says about ten seniors will be graduating it's going to be tough to lose them all but he says it's part of coaching and he hopes other wrestlers will step up next year and fill those big shoes.