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With COVID precautions, Lockwood hosts very first girls wrestling tournament

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Posted at 9:13 PM, Feb 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 23:13:19-05

The All-Class wrestling tournament has been split up this year because of COVID.

If the event were held this year at the Metra, it would have also included the first girls wrestling tournament.

Instead the split created an opportunity in Lockwood.

Family and friends enjoy the very first Montana State girls wrestling tournament at the Lockwood High School gym.

"It's been nothing but positive right now," said Mike Erickson, Lockwood Schools activities director. "And then you know there's always things that we're gonna want to tweak. But right now things have been going great and a lot of smiles. And the most important thing is a smile on these kids' his face."

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Photo Credit: KTVQ

Erickson said this is the first big event at the Lockwood high school gym.

The tournament followed Montana High School Association COVID guidelines, which included masks and distancing.

Each of the 154 athletes received four tickets and schools received 10 tickets for coaches bus drivers and administrators.
and those spectators are split into two sessions,

"One hundred three to 126 was in our first session," Erickson said. "One hundred thirty two to the heavyweights in for the second session."

Even with this being the first tournament and the limited attendance, those at the gym say it was a great atmosphere for a tournament.

"Especially having the parents being able to come and so many girls being out, it definitely feels full," said Aspen Murphy, Missoula Hellgate freshman wrestler. "And like it's real and not in COVID-like scenario."

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Photo Credit: KTVQ

"Why I have to check my pulse before every match because I can hear their crowd noise," said Chris Lavoie, Missoula Hellgate wrestling coach. "And our girls are getting out there so you definitely get that tournament atmosphere."

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Photo Credit: KTVQ

"Energy's great that kids are having a blast," said Ken Miotke, Frenchtown parent. "They don't worry about wreslting boys. I mean I think this is here to stay."

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Photo Credit: KTVQ

And they see the Lockwood gym is a good tournament site.

"The gym is beautiful," Miotke said. "They're putting on a show and the fans are excited."

"We pulled up I was almost in disbelief," Lavoie said. "It's a beautiful venue."

"I've got an office sitting right over top of the gymnasium and it's been pretty lonely out there for this COVID year you know and not seeing everything going on," Erickson said. "But it's surreal. I feel like we're back to some sort of normalcy."

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It's also been good for the athletes.

"I lost both of my matches," Murphy said. "But, I mean, it was so great experience."

About two-thirds of the wrestlers advance for in the next round on Saturday.

Erickson says the wrestling tournament has shown his crew is ready for the next three weeks.

The 3,000 seat capacity Lockwood gym will host basketball tournaments for part of the Eastern A, part of the Southern B and the State C.