Flathead’s Richberg finds himself back on the mat

Mar. 7—A tough week for Flathead senior wrestler Timber Richberg ticked up a little bit Friday, when the heavyweight dispatched his first-round opponent at the State AA meet in 55 seconds.

It was quite a couple minutes for the Brave Brawlers — their other heavyweight, Logan Lang, got a pin in 13 seconds soon after — but especially for Richberg, who lost his mother on Monday.

“Probably the hardest thing I’ve went through in my life,” said the 17-year-old, who was living with Leah Davis and his younger brother Sterling Walker when Davis, just 45, passed away.

Richberg said his mother had suffered from a variety of ailments, including a bout with COVID-19 months ago and diabetes. A heart attack sent her to the hospital Friday.

Faced with this loss, Richberg kept going.

“I just knew she’d want me to keep coming to school and keep wrestling,” he said. “I tried to win state for her, tried to at least place. Sometimes it doesn’t happen.”

Richberg bowed out with a 4-2 overtime loss to Glacier’s Rocco Beccari in the consolation rounds Saturday. He ended up 7-4 in just his third season of wrestling.

“My buddy Gaige Winter (Flathead’s 205-pounder placed sixth Saturday), who’s been wrestling since freshman year, said, ‘Oh, you’re a big kid, You should come out, you’ll win every match,’ ” Richberg recalled. “I was like, I’m going to have to work up to that.'”

He made state as a junior, in a stacked weight class. It wasn’t much easier this year — Ethan Deroche of Great Falls High is still roaming the mats — but Richberg had more success.

“It took him a while to get there,” Flathead assistant Alex Cummings said. “That’s what I love about Timber, man, he bought in. Showed up every day and worked his tail off.”

Cummings mentioned he knew Richberg from before high school.

“I had him in ninth grade English class, I coached him in football and wrestling,” he added. “He’s a great kid. Almost like a son to me.”

Which brings us to that first match Friday.

“It was amazing,” Richberg said. “I just knew she was right by my side that whole match. It felt so great.”

Richberg would like to take his big frame to a college football program, but doesn’t have a firm plan. He mentioned Muskingum (Ohio) University (Go Muskies), but also had thoughts of staying closer to Kalispell, perhaps in the Frontier Conference.

“He wants to play football,” Cummings said. “He found a couple places in the Midwest which wanted him, which would be huge for him — an opportunity to move forward with his football career and with his school, more importantly.”

A gofundme.com account has been set up, organized by family friends Jake and Ryan-Kay Berkey, to help with potential costs.

“That was insane,” said Richberg, who is staying with the Berkeys. “I was so glad I had people that cared about me around me. It’s just amazing.”

Richberg moved with his mom and older brother River Davis to the area at age 2. Leah Davis’ parents and grandparents were here, so she moved back from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Now Kalispell and his high school teammates have created softer landing after a wallop like this.

“I know she’s happy, that she’s in a better place now,” Richberg said of his mom. “And that she’s proud of me.”

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