By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn't quite quick enough to leave your vehicle running the whole time, but it didn't make much longer than that for the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team to dispatch with the University of Mary on Wednesday night at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
The Lights crushed the Marauders, 41-6, losing just two matches and basically dominating throughout.
The outcome was as expected for Lights head coach David Ray, who predicted before the dual that Northern would win 41-7.
"Overall, I was pleased with our effort," he said. "I can't really be disappointed with much. For the most part, everybody went out and did their job and the dual went well."
Obviously, it takes a lot to impress Ray. But Mary was overmatched from the start, having to forfeit matches to Dustyn Azure at 149 and Zach Morgan at 125, giving Northern an automatic 12 team points.
The dual opened with Azure's win by forfeit at 149, giving the Lights an early 6-0 lead.
Northern doubled its lead at 157 pounds, as senior Stryder Davis pinned Mary's Andy Passmore of Choteau with 1.1 seconds remaining in the first period.
Davis, who is ranked No. 1 in his weight class, started off a little slow, taking a 2-0 lead, but he was able to force Passmore to his back after riding him out for most of the period.
"Stryder hates going first in duals," Ray said. "He started off a little slow early, but it was just a matter of time for him to get going."
Northern's Aaron Jensen followed that up with another pin at 165 pounds. Jensen scored easily on Mary's Ben Imidiek and was leading 11-4 before he got Imidiek to his back for a rare pin.
"I haven't had many pins this season," the former HHS standout admitted. "But I've really worked on riding opponents and getting them to their back for a pin. I've still got a long ways to go, but it's still nice to get a pin at home."
Said Ray: "Jensen looked really good. He's wrestled extremely well lately. We've really been working on him getting back points after takedowns. He's very aggressive and gets a lot of takedowns, but he was giving up too many escape points, which can hurt you against tough opponents."
But perhaps the biggest change has been the higher confidence level Jensen has been wrestling with lately.
"I needed to start believing in myself more," he said. "I didn't have that confidence early on, but coach has been on me about believing I can beat anybody."
Northern suffered its first loss of dual at 174 as Mary's David Oliver scored a 15-9 decision over Ryan Mattingly.
"Mattingly kept getting caught in that same headlock over and over," Ray said. "He has to learn to make adjustments during the match."
There would be no back-to-back wins for Mary though. Northern's Jesse Juarez picked up a 9-2 decision over fourth-ranked Elijah Simburger at 184 pounds.
"Jesse looked very strong in the first period," Ray said. "But he kind of shut down later in the match, which you can't do. There is no question about his talent. He and I have talked about this earlier in the year, and really the only person that is going to beat him is himself."
Mary picked up its only other win at 197 pounds as Jesse Laber defeated Brian Fritchman 11-2 for a major decision to cut the score to 21-7.
"I knew that match would be tough for Fritchman," Ray said. "(Laber) finished third at nationals two years ago and is very solid. I thought Fritchman did a pretty good job. If they ever wrestle again, he'll do better."
After Laber's win, it was all Northern.
Chase Gormley picked up a 6-3 decision over Keith McCleary at heavyweight, in a match that really wasn't that close.
"That guy just tried to counter everything Chase would do," Ray said. "He didn't try to do anything, he just wanted to use Chase's momentum."
Northern followed up Gormley's win with Morgan's win by forfeit at 125 pounds to push the lead to 30-7.
At 133 pounds, Brian Luna made his varsity home debut in dominating fashion, pinning Travis Stone 47 seconds into the first period.
"Luna's just dominant right now," Ray said. "I really don't worry about him being ready to wrestle."
Chris Smith concluded the dual with a dominating 16-1 win by technical fall over Josh Bauer at 141. Despite wrestling up a weight, Smith had little trouble with Bauer, scoring takedowns at will and picking up three nearfalls.
"Chris looked great," Ray said. "It didn't matter that he had to go up a weight. He's just so aggressive."
The overall performance could be summed up as dominant and its a trend that is likely to continue.
"We work hard every time we step on the mat," Jensen said. "We not only wrestle to win, we wrestle to dominate. I think we set the tone last weekend in Dickinson and it carried over to tonight."
Northern is in Cody, Wyo. today to face Northwest College in a dual at 7 p.m.