George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
For the first time in recent memory, the city of Havre will be represented at one of the NCAA's premier events. This morning in St. Louis, former Havre High star wrestler and UNC-Greensboro senior Jeff Hedges will compete in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA wrestling championships. Hedges, who won to Class A state championships at Havre High, will open the 133-pound championship against Kent State's Dan Mitcheff (29-7) this morning, and if victorious, will advance to tonight's second round where he would meet fourth-seeded Joey Slaton of Iowa (32-4). Hedges has had a stellar two-year career for Greensboro, and this year, he went 23-6 overall, won the Socon championship at 133 pounds and earned all-conference honors. Hedges comes into the NCAA tourney unseeded, but wrestling experts tabbed him as a "bad draw" for higher seeded wrestlers, because of his talent and the fact that he comes from a smaller conference. Hedges also comes into the NCAA tournament with a 5-4 record this season against NCAA quali- fiers, which also makes him a dangerous opponents for the top seeds. The 133-pound championship features some of the best competition in the tournament, and the top four seeds, including Slaton, are all from the Big Ten Conference. UNC-Greensboro has three wrestlers in the field overall. Along with Hedges, senior Daren Burns qualified for the 197-pound championship, and freshman Bryon Sigmon is in the draw at 165 pounds. There are two other Montanan's in the tournament, including Bozeman's Tyrel Todd who competes for Michigan. The 2008 NCAA tournament runs through Saturday night in St. Louis. The University of Minnesota is the two-time defending NCAA champion.