Havre Daily News Sports Editor
Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach David Ray had added five more recruits for the 2005-06 wrestling season.
Two-time Class B-C state champion Tyler McGillivray of Superior has signed an NAIA national letter of intent to compete for the Lights.
Besides his two state titles, McGillivray had two fourth-place finishes. He finished his stellar prep career with 136 wins and only 12 losses, including a 104-6 record in his last three years of high school.
"I have seen Tyler compete and win some very big matches," Ray said. "His best quality is his mental toughness. This year in the state tournament, Tyler had a torn rotator cuff, but it did not stop him from competing or winning a championship.
"In Northern's annual wrestling camp, Tyler has wrestled exhibition matches against state champions two and three weights classes above him and won."
It's that type of talent and toughness that has Ray hopeful that McGillivray will turn some heads at 133 pounds next year.
"Tyler is a great addition to the Northern squad and could possibly see competition on varsity his freshman year if he does not redshirt," Ray said.
McGillivray is a solid student with a 3.3 grade-point average and is interested in elementary education.
Joining McGillivray is fellow Montanan Kole Tolliver of Great Falls.
Tolliver was a three-time state champion at Great Falls High, where he racked up solid numbers including a career-high school record of 145-7.
"Kole is a very talented athlete, as talented as any wrestler who has attended Northern," Ray said. "He is explosive and does an excellent job at changing his levels. He has a very positive attitude and looks at the opportunity as his second chance to make things right."
Tolliver attended North Idaho College for two years. He redshirted his first season, leaving him with three years of eligibility at Northern. He is projected to compete in the 149-pound division.
"He decided on Northern because he appreciated the disciplined environment and knows that if he is held accountable for his actions, that it will motivate him to excel," Ray said. "When Kole is in shape and mentally prepared, the Northern fans will enjoy watching him compete."
Also signing with the Lights is three-time Idaho state champion Brock Zollinger of Rexburg, Idaho. Zollinger is a transfer from NCAA Division I Boise State University.
In 2002, he was 22-8 for BSU and won the prestigious Cowboy Open, while competing at 125 pounds. He redshirted in 2003-04 and did not attend school this past year, giving him three years of eligibility.
"Brock has had a lot of success in freestyle and Greco wrestling," Ray said. "Brock has competed in more than 1,100 matches in his career and was 149-10 during high school with 74 pins."
Finding another 125-pounder was one of Ray's biggest off-season goals and he believes that Zollinger fits that spot nicely.
"Northern has not had a good showing at 125 the last two years, but Brock should bring the Northern tradition back to 125," Ray said. "He is very explosive and has great skills. Brock was a little small his first two years at Boise but now has matured and filled in with more strength and size. He has the ability to contend for a national championship come next March."
Ray continued his successful recruiting in the state of Washington, signing Tre' Leckbee of Onalaska, Wash. Leckbee is a two-time state placer, finishing second this year at 171 pounds.
"Tre' is a very hard worker and will give added depth to the higher weight classes," Ray said. "Tre' has only wrestled since his eighth-grade year and could improve tremendously over the next four or five years."
Because of his limited experience, Ray will redshirt Leckbee this year in hopes of building added muscle on his 6-1 frame.
"Tre' will take it one year at a time, and from watching his workout, he will be a very positive influence for the Northern program," Ray said.
Ray's recruiting went even further west with the signing of Sam Carney of Sleetmute, Alaska. Carney was a three-time placer for Mount Edgecumbe Boarding School in Sitka, Alaska.
Carney finished sixth as a sophomore at state. He improved with a second-place finish and 34-2 record in his junior year. This past season, he finished fifth with a 36-4 record.