While most of us shy from this week’s heat wave, Altus Bulldog State Champion wrestler, Montorie Bridges, is in Fargo, N.D. competing for All-American status.
If Bridges finishes in the top 8 at the Junior Freestyle Nationals, he gets the All-American tag. If he achieves this tag, it will make him a two time All-American. Bridges finished 4th a year ago.
To put this tournament in perspective as far as what level of competition Bridges will face at Fargo, every contender on the 120 lb. list has at least one state title to their name. Most have multiple state championships and most have either won or finished 2nd at a multi-state Region championship across the country.
The nation’s best are in Fargo going head-to-head in a battle of wills.
I was looking at a pre-tournament breakdown of the list of contenders, their accomplishments and a brief overview of the weight classes. At the end of each weight class breakdown, there were seven people that listed their top four picks to win it.
Despite being one of the most decorated Bulldog wrestlers in history, a 2015 State Champion with an undefeated school record of 47-0 and a 4th place finisher at the Junior Nationals a year ago, Bridges is not even on the longshot list to make noise at this years Nationals. That is all any of us need to see to know the level of his competition this weekend.
Montorie is seeded 5th at this year’s National Finals . As of my deadline for this article to be completed, Montorie was the very first match of the tournament this morning. He won by technical fall, 10-0 over Oregon’s Austin Doescher. He now moves on to face Michigan’s Logan Griffin in the 2nd round.
Two of the top picks in this class are both from Oklahoma. Dalton Duffield is the 2015 Southern Plains Champ and Daton Fix is the Cadet Champ and a two-time Cadet World Team Member and the majority favorite to win this year’s Nationals.
This tournament has been dubbed the “Super Bowl of junior wrestling.” To confirm this, understand that there have already been NCAA collegiate wrestlers who qualified and wrestled for the NCAA National Championships this past year that have lost in this tournament this week to high school kids.
Good Luck Montorie. Remember rankings have never won a single wrestling match and they they don’t reflect your heart or your will to win.
Reach Brad Gilbert@482-1221 ext. 2076