Missoula Big Sky’s Hunter Meinzen shining in the spotlight at national level

MISSOULA — Hunter Meinzen lost in overtime in the championship match his freshman year, ending his dream of becoming a four-time Montana high school state wrestling champion.

But that might be the only goal he doesn’t reach on the mats.

The KPAX Youth Sports Spotlight shines on a Missoula Big Sky star sophomore that keeps winning big titles.

Meinzen’s most recent triumph came at the Flo Reno Worlds just more than a week ago. He easily won the championship match in the 145-pound bracket, 9-1. Meinzen also took second at the Rocky Mountain Nationals in Denver recently.

All of this comes after he avenged his loss at state. Meinzen once again met Great Falls CMR’s Kai Stewart in the final for a second straight year. This time he hung on for the 8-7 victory, claiming the Montana title in February.

Meinzen admits he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself when he travels to the big offseason tournaments, but that hasn’t hurt any of his results.

“I’ve been there before, but I knew it was going to be a tough tournament,” Meinzen said about the Reno Worlds. “Lots of kids go there. They have like 5,000 entrants in that tournament, so I knew I was going to have a pretty big bracket. But I went in there not too serious. I just went in there to have fun, because it’s the offseason, and to compete, as well. But, you know, just having fun, that’s all.”

Meinzen passed his one stiff challenge early in Reno, and then dominated the rest of the competitive bracket.

“I did have a tough match in the quarterfinals, I won 3-2,” he said. “And then in my semis and my finals match I think I won by 10 points each. It was definitely as big of a win as state. But I don’t know, there is a lot more emotion, definitely, at the state wrestling tournament. But same caliber of kids and everything, so it was about the same.”

Meinzen will head to Las Vegas to compete in a couple weeks, and then travel to Akron, Ohio in May to try out for the U.S. Cadet World Championships team.

Even though he wrestles year-round, he also finds time to compete in football and track for the Big Sky Eagles.

Derek Buerkle

Derek Buerkle

Derek has worked in sports at KPAX-TV in Missoula since 2007. He grew up in Big Timber, Montana, and attended the University of Montana journalism program.
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