Havre Daily News sports editor
Even though the MSU-Northern wrestling team was a long shot for a trophy at the 2006 NAIA National Wrestling tournament this weekend in Sioux City, Iowa, the Lights might have expected more than they got.
On the other hand, individually, Northern fared decently given its lack of depth, and was close to even being better than anyone expected.
The unranked Lights finished 15th overall with 37 team points. The tournament was captured by Dana College with a tournament-record 193 points. Defending champion Lindenwood was second and the University of Great Falls finished a disappointing 10th.
Individually, the Lights crowned three All-Americans, led by senior Ryan Mattingly who placed fifth at 184 pounds. Senior Aaron Jensen and sophomore Brian Fritchman finished in eighth place at 165 and 197 pounds, respectively.
Mattingly flew in under the radar and had a remarkable tournament considering he didn't even place in the top four at the Northern Regional two weeks ago. He wrestled seven matches over the two-day tournament and twice he defeated No. 2-ranked and defending national champion Joffre Lander of Embry-Riddle.
Mattingly upset Lander 3-2 in the first round and he knocked Lander off again, 3-1 in the wrestlebacks. Mattingly was one of only three Lights to reach the quarterfinals and he nearly reached the semfinals. He lost a tough, 3-2 decision to Nigel Kinworthy of Missouri-Baptist in the quarters, but he later avenged the loss to Kinworthy in the consolation finals.
The 184-pound weight class was undoubtedly Northern's strongest as freshman Chad Seely joined Mattingly in the quarterfinals. Seely defeated Josh Johnston of Missouri Valley, 2-1 in the second round and lost a close 9-5 decision to Jasper Lockett of Bacone College in the quarters. Seely nearly earned All-American honors in his first trip to the national tournament, but he dropped a heart-breaking 11-10 decision to Lindenwood's Corey Johnson in the wrestlebacks.
Jensen rounded out a solid career at MSU-N with his second straight All-American campaign. Jensen lost to Nate Stirgis of William Penn in the consolation finals to finish eighth. For the tournament, Jensen went 3-3 overall, including a loss in the quarterfinals.
At 197 pounds, sophomore Fritchman finished off a strong season with an eighth-place finish. Fritchman's first loss of the weekend came in the second round. But he bounced back to defeat Jamestown's Stacy Mello and Lindenwood's Jimmy Becerra to earn All-American honors.
Chris Smith, Kole Tolliver and Colter Dimas also earned team points for MSU-N in the tournament, while Colt Heger, Mike McPeak and Emory Willson were shut out.
Former Chinook High School standout Eric Hinebauch was also shut out at 197 pounds. Hinebauch is a sophomore at UGF.
2006 NAIA National Championships
1. Dana College 193, 2. Lindenwood 164, 3. Cumberlands, Ky. 105, 4. Dickinson State 95.5, 5. Embry-Riddle 83, 6. Southern Oregon 82, 7. Missouri Valley 75, 8. Menlo 63, 9. William Penn 56, 10. UGF 44.5, 11. Simon Fraser 41.5, 12. Newman 41, 13. Bacone 40, 14. Campbelsville 37.5, 15. MSU-Northern 37, 16. Morningside 30, 17. Waldorf 28.5, 18. Jamestown 27, Missouri Baptist 27, 20. McKendree 23.5, 21. York 10, 22. Cumberland, Tenn. 6.5, Dakota Wesleyn 6.5, 24. Northwestern 4, 25. King 2.5, 26. Briar Cliff 1.5.
Individual MSU-N Results
133 - Colt Heger
1st Rd - Robbie Gross (McKendree) DEC Colt Heger (MSU-Northern) 5-4; Consolation 1st Rd - Shane Hase (Jamestown) DEC Colt Heger (MSU-Northern) 7-6.
133 - Mike McPeak
1st Rd - Xavier Gomez (Cumberland Tn) MAJ DEC Michael McPeak (MSU-Northern) 16-8; Consolation 1st Rd - Mikeal Brooks (Cumberlands Ky) DEC Michael McPeak (MSU-Northern) 17-15.
141 - Chris Smith
2nd Rd - Gordo Villaescusa (Embry-Riddle) DEC Chris Smith (MSU-Northern) 13-6; Consolation 2nd Rd - Chris Smith (MSU-Northern) DEC Nick Budeski (Great Falls) 5-4; Consolation 3rd Rd - 175 Chris Smith (MSU-Northern) MAJ DEC Juan Roman (Menlo) 13-3; Consolation 4th Rd - Terrence Almond (Dana) DEC Chris Smith (MSU-Northern) 5-3.
157 - Kole Tolliver
2nd Rd - Chad Jennings (Missouri Valley) DEC Kole Tolliver (MSU-Northern) 7-4; Consolation 2nd Rd - Kole Tolliver (MSU-Northern) FALL Dan Ascheri (Morningside) 1:16; Consolation 3rd Rd - Erin Hume (Morningside) FALL Kole Tolliver (MSU-Northern) 1:24.
165 - Aaron Jensen (8th Place)
2nd Rd - Aaron Jensen (MSU-Northern) DEC Scott Spratt (Waldorf) 9-4; Quarterfinals - Jake Dieffenbach (Lindenwood) DEC Aaron Jensen (MSU-Northern) 9-5; Consolation 4th Rd - Aaron Jensen (MSU-Northern) DEC Matt Cauley (Lindenwood) 11-7; Consolation Quarterfinals - Ryan Smith (Great Falls) DEC Aaron Jensen (MSU-Northern 8-2. Seventh/Eighth - Nate Stirgus (William Penn) FALL Aaron Jensen (MSU-Northern) 1:25.
174 - Emory Willson
1st Rd - Brandon Wyms (McKendree) DEC Emory Wilson (MSU-Northern) 8-2; Consolation 2nd Rd - John Wilcox (Missouri Baptist) DEC Emory Wilson (MSU-Northern) 13-10.
174 - Colter Dimas
2nd Rd - Jake Stevenson (Morningside) TECH FALL Colter Dimas (MSU-Northern) 15-0; 6:39; Consolation 2nd Rd Colter Dimas (MSU-Northern) DEC Weston Frahm (Morningside) 8-6; Consolation 3rd Rd - Nicolas Walden (Embry-Riddle) DEC Colter Dimas (MSU-Northern) 8-5.
184 - Ryan Mattingly (5th Place)
1st Rd - Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) DEC Joffre Lander (Embry-Riddle) 3-2; 2nd Rd - Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) DEC Zach Anderson (Morningside) 7-4; Quarterfinals - Nigel Kinworthy (Missouri Baptist) DEC Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) 3-2; Consolation 4th Rd - Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) DEC JD Johnson (Newman) 6-2; Consolation Quarterfinals - Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) DEC Joffre Lander (Embry-Riddle) 3-1; Consolation Semifinals - Jasper Lockett (Bacone) DEC Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) 3-1; Fifth/Sixth - Ryan Mattingly (MSU-Northern) FALL Nigel Kinworthy (Missouri Baptist) 4:59.
184 - Chad Seely
2nd Rd - Chad Seely (MSU-Northern) DEC Josh Johnston (Missouri Valley) 2-1; Quarterfinals - Jasper Lockett (Bacone) DEC Chad Seely (MSU-Northern) 9-5; Consolation 4th Rd - Corey Johnson (Lindenwood) DEC Chad Seely (MSU-Northern) 11-10.
197 - Brian Fritchman (8th Place)
1st Rd - Brian Fritchman (MSU-Northern) FALL Ben Laux (McKendree) 1:45; 2nd Rd - Blair Alderman (Dana) MAJ DEC Brian Fritchman (MSU-Northern) 17-8; Consolation 3rd Rd - Brian Fritchman (MSU-Northern) DEC Stacey Mello (Jamestown) 12-5; Consolation 4th Rd - Brian Fritchman (MSU-Northern) FALL Jimmy Becerra (Lindenwood) 2:25; Consolation Quarterfinals - Glen Jackson (Campbellsville) DEC Brian Fritchman (MSU-Northern) 10-2; Seventh/Eighth - Tyrell Blanche (Menlo) DEC Brian Fritchman (MSU-Northern) 16-7.