We've Got The County Covered

Tyler Schoen a 2 Time State Champion, Blackcrow 4th, Snider 5th, Johnson 6th

The Chinook Sugarbeeters and Harlem Lady Cats each placed two wrestlers on the podium at the State Wrestling Tournament in Billings this past weekend. Chinook senior Tyler Schoen claimed his second straight Class B/C State Wrestling title and teammate senior Lane Snider finished fifth in the 145 pound weight class for the 'Beeters. Senior Amelia Blackcrow finished fourth at 165 pounds to lead the Lady Cats while teammate, junior Kaitlynn Johnson was sixth in the 126 pound division.

Schoen was dominate early on at the State Tournament, winning each of his first three matches by pinfall. In the final Schoen faced Jefferson High School's Brady Armstrong and took a hard fought 3-2 decision to claim the 182 pound title. Snider battled through the both Friday and Saturday compiling a 4-2 record to finish fifth at 145. Blackcrow went 3-2 en route to her fourth place finish while Johnson was 3-3 at the State Tournament.

Schoen's whirlwind weekend was packed from the start, "For the first day of the tournament I knew I just had to focus and get my matches over with and prepare for the next day. I went into the semifinals with confidence knowing that I was one away from the finals." A year ago Schoen talked about the wait before the Championship match being tough, "This year they chose to start at weight 103 and 100 so I had another long wait for my match. I learned to relax a lot more during the wait than I did last year. I watched a few of the finals matches and sat and waited for my match to come up."

Schoen recounted how he felt the championship match went, "When the match started the kid came out trying to throw me and get big scores fast, but I wrestled smart and stayed out of most of the throws. I ended up getting taken-down in the first but I got an escape so the score was 2-1. In the second period I got a reversal which put me up 3-2 where I kept him down for the rest of the period. During the third I knew that I could let him get 1 but not 2." His focus was on point with time running down, "After a long third period I was able to hold him in his base for the whole period."

The satisfaction of winning a second straight title was immediate, "It felt great getting my hand raised for the final time. I was glad I won but I'm also sad my final season is over. I felt a lot of pressure from myself going into that match. I wanted to win my second State Championship and continue my undefeated record. Looking back at this season this has been my favorite from playing games at practice to conditioning with the team I had a great year. My coaches and teammates made this year one to remember."

Schoen's future is bright and his plans are already starting to come together, "I plan on competing in track and field this spring, then going to play football for Montana Western while getting a degree in business administrations.

Chinook Head Coach, Ben Stroh reflected on his teams effort in Billings on the big stage, "It was a really good tournament. Again, we wrestled well. The girls wrestled hard, just came up a little short. With the girls being all class those brackets are tough. Tough because our girls, along with the other girls across the state are getting good. It is amazing to see the growth in such a new sport.

Stroh was thrilled to see his wrestlers finish strong, "Lane did well, he had a tough bracket and came to battle. Finally, all the hard work he has put in has paid off with his first podium appearance. Tyler was solid all weekend doing what he has done all year. Finishing the season right with a perfect season at 44-0, very few people have finished a high school season without one mishap. Again, we are super proud of him for being the person he is on and off the mat.

Schoen and Snider impressed the coaching staff all season long with their effort on the mat and off, "Those two seniors are going to be missed next year. I hope that our younger crew was paying attention and can take what these two do day in and day out and mimic that effort it in their own way. Our coaching staff want to thank Tyler and Lane for the exhilarating matches along with the laughs they have given us through the years. They are a couple of guys anybody would love to have on their team, and will definitely be missed. However, as the cycle goes, it is time for a new bunch of young athletes to step forward and become leaders and champions in their own way."

Stroh concluded by stating, "Those younger kids, making it to State, the experience itself is worth so much more than people believe. It is hard for people to wrestle in that big of a venue with that many fans watching. Hopefully for the kids that went, they won't be as starstruck next year. Hopefully that energy carries over into the off season and the wrestling room next year. Makes their desire to get back a motivator."

Harlem Lady Cat Head Coach, Jonny Baker was thrilled to talk about his two placers, "After a hard fought season, these girls finished on the upper side of the heap! Very happy to see these two upperclassmen finished with a state placing. It inspires my younger girls to shoot towards a higher goal next year. After fighting all season their hard work paid off. Baker was full of pride talking about his senior, "Seeing Amilia on that podium after all her effort and battling sickness all season was the ending she needed. Top four in the state! I'm going to miss her. I've been coaching her since Junior High. She's been with me since my second year of coaching.

Next year excites Baker when he talks about Johnson, "Kaitlyn never disappoints, she had a tough bracket and some hard battles, but she pushed through and made her way. Top 6 in the state is very impressive. I'm looking forward to next year with her and moving up that podium!

Baker was pleased with how both his teams navigated through the season, "As the season came to a close I look back at all the wrestlers successes and shortcomings. Laying down a plan for the off season training and destinations for camps this summer will be key to our return next season. Proud of my state team they didn't back down from any fights. Proud of my entire team for finishing the season with pride and a hunger for next year. Thank you to all!

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