By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach David Ray continues to stock his team full of talent for yet another run at an NAIA national wrestling championship.
Ray has signed three more recruits for next year to NAIA national letters of intent.
Two of those recruits come from the wrestling hotbed of Clarkston, Wash., which is the home of former Northern standout Tyson Thivierge.
Michael McPeak and Colt Heger have both committed to the Lights for next season and join Tyler Akin, another Clarkston product who signed with Northern earlier this spring.
McPeak, who is projected at either 125 or 133 in college, was a two-time state placer in Washington. He finished third his junior season with a 38-5 record. Last season, McPeak finished second at 135, losing to Kelso's Brendan Stitch 4-2 in the finals.
McPeak ended the season with a 36-3 record and was named his team's most valuable wrestler. His prep record is a solid 105-27, especially considering he missed a good portion of his sophomore season with a broken leg.
"Michael is a very skilled and talented athlete," Ray said. "He even competed in gymnastics for eight years. He is very good in the neutral position and is technically sound. He will be a great addition in the practice room and has the talent and skill to be very successful in college."
Besides being good on the wrestling mat, McPeak is outstanding in the classroom, carrying a 3.94 grade point average. He is ranked 11th academically in his class.
"His academics speak for themselves," Ray said. "I know that Mike will be self-motivated to be a national champion for the Lights."
McPeak is the son of Ernie and Robin McPeak and plans to major in Biology at Northern.
Heger finished seventh this past season in the Class 3A 140-pound division, while compiling a 36-6 season record. In his junior season, Heger finished fifth at 135 with a 29-8 record. His four-year record at Clarkston was 113-36.
"Colt has that never-quit attitude," Ray said. "He keeps coming at you until time runs out. This type of individual does very well in college wrestling. Colt will improve a lot technically in the college practice room, making him a more polished competitor."
Heger is also a good student, carrying a 3.04 GPA with the intention of majoring in biology in college. He is the son of Paul and Grace Heger.
Northern's other signee will be making the long trek down from Alaska.
Sean Costello, a prospective 125 pounder from Kodiak, Alaska, has signed to wrestle for the Lights.
Costello was a two-time Alaska state champion and a four-time state placer for Kodiak High School.
His first state title came during his sophomore year at 119 pounds. He added another state title this season at 125 pounds, finishing 42-0 and defeating four previous state champs during the season.
In his other state tourney appearances, Costello finished third as a junior at 119 and fourth as a freshmen at 112. His four-year high school record was 145-20. And in those 165 matches, he was never once penalized for stalling.
"Sean has decided on Northern without ever visiting Havre," Ray said. "He comes highly recommended by two NCAA Division I coaches that I know personally. There were three other schools besides Northern that Sean narrowed his options, two were NCAA Division II and the other was NAIA rival Southern Oregon University."
Besides being an outstanding wrestler, Costello was a four-time state qualifier in cross country, placing sixth as junior and eight as a sophomore. He was also a three-year starter in baseball, playing second base.
"Sean and his parents felt Havre would be a good environment socially, academically and for his future wrestling goals," Ray said. "He is very competitive, a hard worker and demanding on himself. He is committed to himself and the program and is goal-oriented. Sean will only expect the best out of himself. He comes from a very successful program with teammates who have proven themselves nationally at the NCAA Division I and NAIA level."
Costello will major in physical education/sports training and is the son of Pat and Jeanine Costello.
The trio joins 12 other signees as part of Ray's 2004-05 recruiting class.