By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
There was slight difference in competition for the Montana State University-Northern this weekend.
On Friday night, the Lights manhandled and mangled the University of Calgary 29-6 to open their 2004 season. However, Saturday night the competition had a familiar look with an unfamiliar result as a team of Northern alumni defeated its younger cohorts 37-25.
"We looked really good on Friday against Calgary," said head coach David Ray. "But we got a little bit of a dose of reality on Saturday night. It wasn't that they wrestled bad, but they just didn't do enough to win."
Northern didn't just look good on Friday night, they looked downright dominating. The Lights lost only one match in the entire dual. In the Lights' seven wins, Calgary didn't score a single takedown.
"We were very aggressive," Ray said. "We came out and got after them right away. I liked the attitude I saw from a lot of them."
Mike McPeak started off the evening with a 10-0 technical fall over Huy Nguyen. Chris Smith and Anthony Haukenberry followed up with technical fall wins of their own. Stryder Davis won a very tough match against a solid opponent in Joe Bentley. Dale Seley was impressive in his match, scoring a second-period pin over Nick Tomchishin. Aaron Jensen and Mazi Burke also scored technical fall wins.
Northern's only loss came at 189 when Calgary's Wilson Burnett pinned David Waters in the first period. Waters was attempting to role Burnett over with a head lock, but lost his balance and crashed to the mat with Burnett on top of him.
"I thought Mike McPeak did a good job getting things started," Ray said. "He was out there fired up and excited to wrestle."
It was a win Ray expected, having learned that Calgary lost to a youthful University of Great Falls squad the night before.
Saturday night didn't go quite the way Ray expected. Despite bringing an alumni squad loaded with seven former national champions, Ray still thought his Lights should win the always-competitive alumni dual.
"We didn't go after them like we did the night before," Ray said. "Of course, the alumni has better defense, but I think we gave them too much respect on the mat. I thought we would win nine matches, but of those we had two draws and a loss. And we gave up too many pins."
Northern started off with a win, as Brian Fritchman scored a 9-2 win over Dan Eaves. The alumni answered with Caleb Schaeffer, who is now an assistant at UGF, pinning Matt Kilmartin.
Northern proceeded to rip off four consecutive wins as Aaron Jensen, Brian Luna, Dustyn Azure and Steven Boger all picked up wins by decisions.
"Boger looked pretty good for a true freshman," Ray said. "He pinned Chris Smith earlier this week in a wrestle-off. I might not redshirt him if keeps this up."
The alumni got back on the board as recent MSU-Northern hall of fame inductee Chris Faber won a hard-fought 5-1 decision over Chris Smith. The alums got another solid performance, as Lyle Cronk wrestled to a 3-3 draw with defending national champion Anthony Haukenberry.
Four-time national champ Turk Lords continued the alumni run by defeating Josh Robinson 3-1. Mark Lane followed that up with a pin over Northern's Emory Willson to give the alumni back the lead. Tyson Thivierge added another alumni pin with a fall over Ryan Mattingly.
The Lights finally answered, as Chase Gormley picked up a 2-1 win over Kyle Fisher. Schaeffer returned to the mat to pick up a 10-0 major victory over Dan Shaw. Emmett Willson closed out the alumni win with a 7-0 decision over Mazi Burke.
With only three one-minute periods, the alumni scored early takedowns and held on for wins.
"We work on drill specifically for scoring in under a minute," Ray said. "But we couldn't score takedowns when we needed to.
"Technically, a lot of the alumni are still pretty sound wrestlers," Ray said. "Guys like Tyson, Mark and Emmett look pretty good still."
Still, even with the competition, Ray wasn't happy losing the dual.
"It showed that we have to go back to work," Ray said. "You can preach to them all you want about being focused and ready, but they don't really believe you until they get beat. We need to start developing the instinct to fight and scrap. We need to work on our mental aspect and it starts in the wrestling room. You can't just turn it on and off when you get out on the mat. It doesn't work against good competition like we saw in the alumni dual."
Northern will return to action on Thursday for the first Maroon-Gold intrasquad dual at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
MSU-Northern 29, U. of Calgary 6
125 - Mike McPeak, MSU-N tech. fall Huy Nguyen 10-0
145 - Chris Smith, MSU-N tech. fall Jeremiah Barnert 10-0
152 - Anthony Haukenberry, MSU-N tech. fall Damon Booth 12-0
160 - Stryder Davis, MSU-N def. Joe Bentley 5-0
170 - Dale Seley, MSU-N pinned Nick Tomchishin 1:53
179 - Aaron Jensen, MSU-N tech. fall Jordan Reti 10-0
189 - Wilson Burnett, CAL pinned David Waters
200 - Mazi Burke tech. fall Beamer Comfort 10-0.
125 - Zach Morgan, MSU-N tech. fall Nima Mohajeri 10-0
135 - Steven Boger, MSU-N pinned Amir Akbari 2:40
HWT - Chase Gormley, MSU-N dfe. Nico Jacobs 9-0
Lights Alumni 37, MSU-Northern 25
Brian Fritchman, MSU-N def. Dan Eaves 9-2
Caleb Schaeffer, ALUM pinned Matt Kilmartin 1:52
Aaron Jensen, MSU-N def. Bobby Mantle 5-4
Brian Luna, MSU-N def. Matt Campbell 9-0
Dustyn Azure, MSU-N def. Brent Riggin 1-0
Steven Boger, MSU-N def. Jessie Schaeffer 2-0
Chris Faber, ALUM def. Chris Smith 5-1
Anthony Haukenberry, MSU-N draw Lyle Cronk 3-3
Turk Lords, ALUM def. Josh Robinson 3-1
Mark Lane, ALUM pinned Emory Willson 2:45
Tyson Thivierge, ALUM pinned Ryan Mattingly
Chase Gormley, ALUM def. Kyle Fisher 2-1
Stryder Davis, MSU-N draw Nate Laslovich 3-3
Caleb Schaeffer, ALUM def. Dan Shaw 10-0
Emmett Willson, ALUM def. Mazi Burke 7-0