It's been a long season for the Helena High Bengals wrestling team, one that saw them place 15 wrestlers to the state tournament. With such a long season, sometimes it's good to let off a little bit of steam.
Dodgeball was the choice of Helena coach John Burke. A well earned a treat after a successful season.
"It's something that keeps them active," Burke said, "yet their having a little fun. We'll get really focused on the important things here a little bit."
The Bengals return 170-pound state champion Hayden Schrull, but all eyes focus on Helena High's new all-time leader in career wins Noah Manibusan. The senior seeks 134 wins and a state title.
"I'm expecting to win this year," Manibusan said.
Across town, the mood was equally light. Capital sends 15 State qualifiers to Billings. This year, the Bruins feel their performance during qualifying provides better scoring opportunities.
"As a team, we feel that we are setup to have an advantageous state tournament," Coach Jeff Mahana said.
Surprisingly, the turning point in the season was Capital's second loss to Helena in crosstown. Since then, Travis Schulte feels the team has wrestled at a high level. "As a team," Schulte said, "we feel like we wrestled well. We just gave up too many bonus points that time around."
The time for learning is over. Now, the focus shifts to execution. With Helena and Capital both placing 15 wrestlers in the state tournament, expect them to be among the top teams in the state.