by Ryan Divish
In 32 years of its existence, Sunday's annual University of Wyoming Cowboy Open wrestling tournament was one of the largest with 16 teams and over 400 wrestlers competing.
Fortunately, the vast amount of competition brought out the best in the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team.
The Lights had their best showing at the Cowboy in the open division with seven wrestlers placing in the top four, including three individual champs.
Northern and the University of Oregon tied for the most individual champs per team, with three each. But of the 16 teams, only Northern placed four wrestlers in the finals.
Transfer Brian Luna continued to excel, making his return at spring semester much anticipated for a title win at 133 pounds. Luna defeated Matt Benza of the Air Force Academy 9-8 in a tough championship match.
At 157, Stryder Davis made his third appearance in the finals in as many years and took home his second title in three years with a 3-2 win over Scott Cleve of Adams State.
Another newcomer, who will make his official debut at spring semester, is heavyweight Chase Gormley, who scored Northern's third individual title. Gormley defeated Derek Thompson of the Colorado School of Mines 5-2.
Northern's other wrestler in the finals came at 184 pounds, where Jesse Juarez lost a tough 8-7 decision to Sam Wendland of host Cowboys.
Adding third place finishes were Anthony Haukenberry at 149 and Mazi Burke at 197. Haukenberry scored a 10-6 win over R.C. LaHaye of Western State, while Burke decisioned Brenden McLean of Air Force 5-3.
Dan Shaw added a fourth-place finish at 141, falling to Skylar Woods of Oregon in the consolation match.
Aaron Jensen also had a strong showing at 165, finishing with a 5-2 record and a fifth-place finish.
In the 20 and under division, Northern had six wrestlers place in the top eight with three finishing in the top six, however no lower consolation matches were wrestled to figure out exact placings.
The Lights will return to action on Nov. 23 when they host Dickinson State University in dual action.