Havre Daily News Sports Editor
One thing Montana State University-Northern first-year head wrestling coach Dan Troupe found out after Tuesday night's Maroon and Gold scrimmage: His team is chomping at the bit to wrestle against someone other than each other.
Members of the young Lights team competed against each other for the final varsity spots of the season, with the Maroon team winning six of nine matches. Several of the key matches went down to the wire, which Troupe expected.
“These guys all came out and competed very hard,” Troupe said. “We knew a lot of the matches would be close because they wrestle each other every single day.
“We tried to put together an evenly matched dual for the fans, and I think there were some really good matches as a result,” he added. “This was the first time we got to showcase our team in front of a live audience, so there were also some nerves out there. But I think mostly these guys are just anxious to get out on the mat against someone other than their teammates.”
Despite two or three lopsided matches, Troupe liked what he saw out of all the wrestlers who took part in the dual, particularly their physical conditioning. He said the technical side of things as well as the mental aspect will progress as his team starts its regular season.
“I would have liked to see us be a little more offensive on our feet,” Troupe said. “But again, these guys see each other's moves every single day in the wrestling room.
“I also think physically we are ready to start the season,” he added. “Mentally we still have some things to work out. I think the guys got a lot more emotionally tired tonight because no matter how hard you train you can't prepare for the emotional things that go into a real match.”
Two former Havre High standouts highlighted the dual. Senior Aaron Jensen, who will be expected to be one of the Lights' veteran leaders this season, scored a hard-fought 3-1 decision over transfer Kole Tolliver of Great Falls at 157 pounds. True freshman Chad Seely also gave the near-capacity crowd at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse plenty of excitement when he upset sophomore Brian Fritchman in the 197-pound match. Seely trailed Fritchman until late in the third period, when he scored a two-point takedown with seven seconds remaining in the match to earn a 9-8 decision.
“Chad Seely went out and earned a varsity spot tonight,” Troupe said. “He'll be the man when we go to North Idaho (College) this weekend.
“But what I liked about what he did tonight was that he never quit wrestling,” Troupe added. “Young guys have a tendency to pack it in when they get behind, but I thought Chad and all of our freshmen did a great job of finishing their matches tonight.”
Freshmen Tom Daniels of Great Falls and Josh Robinson of Butte also scored close wins for the Maroon team. Daniels defeated Sam Carney 3-1 in the 149-pound match, and Robinson pinned fellow heavyweight Ben Hawk in the final match of the evening.
In another thriller, standout freshman Ty Aiken won a close, 4-2 decision over freshman Jake Walter at 165 pounds. That match also caught the attention of Troupe.
“I thought that was a tremendous match,” Troupe said. “Those are two really good freshmen, and I think Aiken just showed that he had a little more maturity at the end of the match and he got it done.”
The remaining matches weren't as close, but Troupe liked the results nonetheless. At 125 pounds, Sean Costello worked his way to a major decision victory and Ryan Mattingly earned a technical fall victory over Poplar's Colter Dimas. The only other pin fall of the night came in the 133-pound match, when veteran Mike McPeak pinned Brock Zollinger in 2:06.
“It was a good night for us,” Troupe said. “The even matchups show that we have a real competitive wrestling room right now. And these guys are real anxious to get to NIC and get out on the mat against some competition other than our own team.”
The Lights will travel to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Saturday for a dual against NJCAA national power North Idaho. Northern's first regular-season home dual will come when the Lights host Jamestown College on Nov. 8.
2005 Maroon and Gold Scrimmage
125 - Sean Costello, G maj. dec. A.J. Bartel, M, 17-2
133 - Mike McPeak, G pinned Brock Zollinger, M, 2:06
149 - Steve Boger, M dec. Colt Heger, G, 15-5
149 - Tommy Daniels, M dec. Sam Carney, G, 3-1
157 - Aaron Jensen, M dec. Kole Tolliver, G, 3-1
165 - Ty Aiken, M dec Jake Walter, G, 4-2
184 - Ryan Mattingly, M tech fall Colter Dimas, G, 18-2
197 - Chad Seely, G dec. Brian Fritchman, M, 9-8
285 -Josh Robinson, M pinned Ben Hawk, G, 4:10.