Chinook Wrestling Honors Jesse Dannels at All-Class State Wrestl - News, Sports and Weather

Chinook Wrestling Honors Jesse Dannels at All-Class State Wrestling Tournament

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It's been a long week for members of the Chinook community with the loss of wrestler Jesse Dannels. But after winning a Class C title, one thing was certain: Jesse was here.

"Yes he is here, yes he his here," said Chinook head coach Perry Miller. "Jesse is here with these kids, he's here with this coaching staff. He's in our hearts."

Jesse's death came only five days before the All Class State wrestling tournament in Billings, and though he wasn't here in body, his spirit lived on. Armbands, signs, and shirts were worn both days of the tournament by all those who knew what an incredible person Jesse was.

"This wrestling community has to be the tightest sporting community in the state of Montana," said Miller. "There's a lot of love in this buiulding. You get 8000 people in this building, and we can't thank them enough."

"How everybody wanted to help the Dannels family, it's amazing to see a small community get together like that, and we can do so much," said Sugarbeeters 138 pound state champion Tate Niederegger.

After each match, the Chinook wrestlers felt the loss of their friend. Win after win, the same result. But they kept to the mission.

"We had a mission coming in: we're doing it for Jesse," said Niederegger. "And we did it."

"Since his passing I made it a mission to get on top of that podium," said Sugarbeeters 170 pound state champion Kenny Pruttis. "I prayed for him every night, and he came through for me today."

All five of the Sugarbeeter wrestlers placed at state tournament leading to a Class C crown. It was their way of saying goodbye to Jesse one last time.

"Jesse was an incredible kid," said Miller. "And when he touched your life he couldn't not leave a mark. We were very fortunate to have Jesse for the 18 years that we had him, and we love him."

"This was for him," said Pruttis. "God bless him."

This week was without a doubt one of the hardest the Chinook community has had to go through. But luckily, they didn't have to go it alone. As he always has been, and undoubtedly always will be, Jesse was here.

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