By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
A weekend that should have been filled with positives was marred a little with one negative for Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach David Ray.
For the first time in 12 years at Northern, Ray had a pair of wrestlers fail to make weight at a weigh-in. While the absences of the two wrestlers didn't stop Northern from winning its two duals against Western Wyoming College and Si-Tanka Huron on Friday in Cody, Wyo., Ray was still annoyed.
"We've had worse things happen," Ray said. "We've had wrestlers not show up for the trips and wrestlers leave school while the team was gone on a road trip, obviously this isn't as bad. But it's still kind of embarrassing."
Ray didn't sugarcoat his feelings about Dan Shaw (141) and Anthony Haukenberry (149) not making weight for Friday's dual. But instead of getting too upset, he simply is initiating a change not to let it happen again.
"They have to be down to weight before we leave for a trip," Ray said. "It will be tougher but that's the way it is going to be."
The loss of the two wrestlers was felt somewhat in the first dual against Western Wyoming, which Northern won 26-19.
Shaw was only going to wrestle in his dual and teammate Chris Smith took his spot quite ably pinning Cody Plant at the 5:05 mark. The major win was crucial because Northern's first two wrestlers Zach Morgan (125) and Mike McPeak (133) lost their matches to open the dual, giving Western Wyoming a 6-0 lead. Smith's pin tied the score at six. Northern surrendered six points in the next match as they were forced to forfeit.
Stryder Davis gave Northern the lead back, easily pinning Jessie Long at 157. Northern followed that up with a win by decision from Aaron Jensen at 165. Western Wyoming rallied with a win from Mike Casperson over Emory Wilson .
At 184, Northern's David Waters was upset in overtime 11-9 to give Western Wyoming a little momentum. But that ended quickly as Mazi Burke scored a major decision at 197 and Brian Fritchman picked up a pin at heavyweight for the Lights.
"We knew Western Wyoming was pretty solid," Ray said. "That's a tough way to start of the duals, but we did what we had to do to win. Chris and Stryder looked solid and Fritchman got us a nice win at heavyweight."
While the first dual was a bit of a fight, the second was not even close.
Northern rolled through Si-Tanka Huron University 54-6. The Lights got pins from Morgan, McPeak, Smith, Davis and Fritchman and wins from Waters and Burke to roll through the dual.
Things got even better on Saturday at the Northwest College Invitational in Powell, Wyo.,
Northern rolled into the meet with 29 wrestlers and placed 14 with six champions in a dominant showing.
At 133 pounds, Brian Luna, who will be eligible in the spring semester, rolled to an easy title with an 11-3 major win over Tom Huntington of Northwest College. Northern's Albert Starrett was third at 133.
Smith continued his solid wrestling, picking up the title at 141 with a 14-5 decision over Christ Moulton of Northwest. Shaw also returned to the mat to have a solid meet, finishing third.
"Chris was in a bit of a slump early on, but he's really come out of it," Ray said.
At 149, Haukenberry got some redemption finishing first with an 8-6 win over Sam Allen of Western Wyoming.
"Hauk looked good up until the championship," Ray said. "I think if he wrestled that guy again, he'd beat him pretty easy."
Davis continued his outstanding weekend with a pin over Joe Casey of the University of Great Falls to take the title at 157. Davis finished the weekend with five pins in six matches.
"Stryder really dominated," Ray said. "He likes getting those pins."
At 165, it was an all-Northern final as Dale Seley held off teammate Aaron Jensen 7-4. The Lights' other champ came at 197 as Burke took the title with relative ease. Other Northern placers included Ryan Mattingly with a third at 174, Fritchman with a third at 197, Bridger Sacher with a fourth at 197 and Chase Gormley with a third at heavyweight.
"I saw a lot of good things from Saturday," Ray said. "We looked very dominant at some weights. I was hoping some of our younger wrestlers would have a little better showing. But this meet was a good way for us to get some more time on the mat and some more experience before the Cowboy Open next weekend."
Northern will make another foray in Wyoming next weekend, this time to Laramie for the Cowboy Open.
MSU-Northern 26, Western Wyoming 19
125 - Jeremy Baker, WW dec. Zach Morgan, MSU-N 11-5; 133 - Cade Christian, WW dec. Michael McPeak, MSU-N 12-6; 141 - Chris Smith, MSU-N pinned Cody Plant 5:05; 149 - Sam Allen, WW win by forfeit; 157 - Stryder Davis, MSU-N pinned. Jessie Long, WW 3:06; 165 - Aaron Jensen, MSU-N dec. Luc Kjar 14-6; 174 - Emory Willson, MSU-N dec. Mike Casperson, WW 11-3; 184 - Craig Mocc, WW dec. David Waters, MSU-N 11-9 OT; 197 - Mazi Burke, MSU-N maj. Dec. Colt Hamilton , WW 12-2; HWT - Brian Fritchman, MSU-N pinned Mike Foster, WW 3:12.
MSU-Northern 54, Si-Tanka Huron 6
125 - Zach Morgan, MSU-N pinned James Hick, HUR 3:24; 133 - Michael McPeak, MSU-N pinned Travis Lewis, HUR 2:51; 141 - Chris Smith, MSU-N pinned Adam Monroe, HUR 2:21; 149 - double forfeit; 157 - Stryder Davis, MSU-N pinned Corey Bryant, HUR 3:35; 165 - Aaron Jensen, MSU-N won be forfeit; 174 - Emory Willson, MSU-N win by forfeit; 184 - David Waters, MSU-N dec. Drew Reed, HUR 7-6; 197 - Mazi Burke, MSU-N dec. Eugene Prevre, HUR 8-4; HWT - Brian Fritchman, MSU-N pinned Eli Fischer 3:13.
Northwest College Invitational
133- Brian Luna, 1st
133 - Albert Starrett, 4th
141 - Chris Smith, 1st
141 - Dan Shaw, 3rd
149 - Anthony Haukenberry, 1st
157 - Stryder Davis, 1st
165 - Dale Seley, 1st
165 - Aaron Jensen, 2nd
174 - Ryan Mattingly, 3rd
184 - David Waters, 4th
197 - Mazi Burke, 1st
197 - Brian Fritchman, 1st
HWT - Chase Gormley, 3rd