By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
The MSU-Northern wrestling team continued its dominance over the NAIA Northern Regional tournament with yet another dominant showing in Huron, S.D.
The Lights had seven wrestlers win individual titles and two others finish second to propel them to 170 team points and their eighth straight team title.
"We really emphasized how important it was to dominate each individual weight class and finish as high as we could for seeding at the national tournament," said Lights' head coach David Ray. "If we did that, we knew the team title would take care of itself."
For the most part, Ray's team did that, and a little more, as evidenced by the seven individual champs.
Senior transfer Brian Luna got Northern rolling with a pin of Spencer Griffiths of the University of Great Falls in the 133 finals. Luna pinned both of his opponents on the weekend and took home the tournament's outstanding wrestler award.
"Luna wrestled tough," Ray said. "He's a man on a mission and is just very focused right now.
Dan Shaw followed up Luna's win with a title of his own at 141, defeating Adam Montrom of Si-Tanka/Huron 11-2.
"I really liked Shaw's style of wrestling this weekend," Ray said. "He had his weight under control and was very aggressive."
At 149 pounds, senior Dustyn Azure picked up a tough 7-3 win over Dickinson State's Keri Stanley.
"Azure had an excellent weekend," Ray said. "We knew that would be a tough match in the finals. He took the lead early in the match and led the whole way."
Northern continued its run at 157 as Stryder Davis defeated teammate Dale Seley 7-1 in the finals. Davis was solid all weekend, pinning UGF's Joe Casey in the semis. Seley overcame the flu bug to advance to the finals with a big 15-7 win over Great Falls' Ryan Smith.
"Stryder looked solid," Ray said. "I was pleased with how Seley wrestled. He's only been on the mat about three or four times the past 10 days because of how sick he was."
At 165 pounds, junior Aaron Jensen had a good weekend, defeating DSU's Tyson Springer 4-2 in the finals. Jensen also avenged a loss to Dickinson's John Zamora in last year's regional, defeating Zamora in the semifinals.
"Jensen had a great tourney," Ray said. "Zamora was national junior college runner up and Tyson is solid a wrestler, who was on the team here for a semester."
Jesse Juarez had little trouble picking up a title at 184 pounds. He pinned Elijah Simburger at 3:57 mark.
"Jesse looked very dominant," Ray said. "Simburger finished seventh at nationals last year, so he wasn't a pushover."
Northern's final title came at heavyweight as junior Chase Gormley, capped a solid weekend with a 4-2 win over No. 1-ranked Brandon Lemer of Jamestown College.
"Chase went in as the No. 1 seed because Lemer lost last week," Ray said. "And he did everything to maintain that seed. He wrestled a great match in the finals."
Northern's other second-place finish came at 174 as Ryan Mattingly was pinned by Matt Michaelson of Dickinson in the finals.
"Mattingly looked great in his first matches," Ray said. "He just wrestled a bad match in the finals. He got caught in a pinning combination right away."
Northern's other placers came at 174 as David Waters finished a solid third. He defeated second-seeded Eugene Pierre of Si-Tanka/Huron to open the tourney. After losing to Michaelson in the semis, he battled back to defeat Pierre for third.
At 125 pounds, Mike McPeak finished fourth, losing to DSU's Mark Johnston in the consolation finals. McPeak lost a tough 8-5 match to eventual champ Cory Johnston in the semis.
Northern's other wrestler, Emory Willson, finished fifth at 165, but was unable to qualify for the NAIA national tourney. He will be replaced on the tourney roster by freshman Brian Fritchman at 184 pounds. Fritchman sat out this weekend because of medical reasons.
Northern will have the week off from competition and will prepare for the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa on March 4-5.
1. MSU-Northern 170; 2. Dickinson State 137; University of Mary 104; 4. Jamestown 85; 5. University of Great Falls 81.5; 6. Si-Tanka/Huron 36.
125 - Cory Johnston, DSU dec. Shane Hase, JC 13-7
133 - Brian Luna, MSU-N pinned Spencer Griffiths, UGF 3:54
141 - Dan Shaw, MSU-N dec. Adam Montrom, STH 11-2
149 - Dustyn Azure, MSU-N dec. Keri Stanley, DSU 7-3
157 - Stryder Davis, MSU-N dec. Dale Seley, MSU-N 7-1
165 - Aaron Jensen, MSU-N dec. Tyson Springer, DSU 4-2
174 - Matt Michaelson, DSU pinned Ryan Mattingly, MSU-N 2:03
184 - Jesse Juarez, MSU-N pinned Elijah Simburger, UM 3:57
197 - Justin Schlect, DSU dec. Stacey Mello, JC 6-2
HWT - Chase Gormley, MSU-N dec. Brandon Lemer, JC 4-2