By Ryan Divish
There are no guarantees in wrestling - not wins, not losses, not even whether a wrestler makes weight. However, one thing that is pretty much a guarantee for next year, Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach David Ray won't be scheduling any breaks during this part of the season.
After taking a week off from competition, the Lights returned to the mat to pick up a 37-16 victory over Western Wyoming Community College Thursday night in their final home dual of the season. It was a solid victory for his team, but Ray clearly wasn't pleased with the way his team handled the break from competition.
"Maybe I should have had a match last weekend," Ray said. "Something. Anything. It would have been better to wrestle these guys last week. I guess I'll have to look at in the long run and see what happens tomorrow, next week and the rest of the season. But right now it wasn't good."
While Ray had hoped the break would allow his wrestlers some time to rest and recharge, it also caused some problems with wrestlers maintaining their weight.
Andy Thompson was unable to make weight at 125, while Anthony Haukenberry came in 17 pounds over his 149 classification at the beginning of the week. Haukenberry dropped the weight, but Ray though it affected his performance. Northern was forced to take a double forfeit at 125 which didn't affect the outcome of the match, but certainly bothered Ray.
"What to do you tell the rest of the guys on the team?" Ray said of Thompson's forfeit. "He was only four pounds over on Tuesday, but he broke on Wednesday and came in eight pounds over."
Even more disappointing for Ray was that Thompson failed to make weight for the last home dual of his career.
But Northern's three other seniors made the most of the night. Mike Lester (184) and Matt Carter (HWT) picked up a pair of pins while Bobby Mantle (157) cruised to a 12-4 win.
Carter's original opponent, Matt Payton, couldn't wrestle because he took stitches in his forehead, so Emmett Willson took a forfeit at 197 allowing Western's Rex Davis to move up to wrestle Carter
"I asked Emmett if we could move their guy at 197 up, so he could wrestle Matt since he's a senior," Ray said. "Emmett's the type of guy that he would always sacrifice for his teammate."
Although it was senior night, it was a junior that picked up the biggest pin of the night. Caleb Schaeffer became Northern's all-time leader in career pins when he stuck, Tyler Wilcox at the 1:41 mark.
"It's really good to get it over with," Schaeffer said of the record. "Now I don't have to worry about it."
It was Schaeffer's 54th career pin and he passed Lights assistant coach and 2002 national champ Tyson Thivierge and former All-American Marty Boday.
"I am always looking for the pin," Schaeffer said. "I believe I can pin anyone I wrestle and give the team some added points."
Northern didn't need much extra points on the night with Willson and Lance Nelson (149) both picking up forfeits while Kyle Fisher added a 2-1 victory at 174.
Western Wyoming picked up its 12 points on a pair of pins by Ryan Harmon (141) and Cody Eardley (165). Haukenberry controlled the tempo early and was close to several takedowns before getting caught on bottom and pinned.
"Haukenberry was wrestling tough, but you know where he gets hurt is when he's on the bottom," Ray said. "He's got to get mentally tougher on the bottom. He doesn't do anything when he's down there."
Jensen was his usual aggressive self, however it hurt him in the match. He got Eardley into a double leg takedown, however Eardley used Jensen's momentum to roll him over and pick up the pin.
"I told Jensen that (Eardley) roll through like that," Ray said. " He needs to flatten his hips and get his hands out once he does that double leg."
The Lights also got a nice win from Neil Samoy in an exhibition match at 165. After getting down 8-0, Samoy fought back to pin Nick Larsen.
"The last time Samoy competed was in November," Ray said. "He was a little rusty and was worried about making mistakes. He made a lot of him, but he came back and finished. You can never count him out."
Ray admitted that his team may have been looking past Western Wyoming at today's dual against North Idaho Community College.
But Schaeffer also pointed out that Western Wyoming came in to Havre ready to compete.
"These guys had a bunch of scrappers," Schaeffer said. "They weren't going to just lay down for us and it was good to have that before we face North Idaho because we know that match will be tough."
The Lights will take on North Idaho Community College tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.