George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
If Wednesday night is any indication of things to come, than the Montana State University-Northern wrestling room is going to be ultra-competitive all season long. And a competitive room usually means depth in wrestling, and after Wednesday night's Maroon/Gold Dual at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse, it looks like first-year Lights head coach Tyson Thivierge has talent and some depth. The final score might have read 22-0 in favor of the Maroon team, but all eight of the matches wrestled on Wednesday night went the distance, including an overtime thriller to close out the night. None of the eight bouts ended with a pinfall and there was just one major decision. The final two matches of the evening were perhaps the two most exciting of the night. In a mixed match between 184-pound former Havre High star Evan Hinebauch and 197-pounder Evan Mattingly, the two Lights went hard at each other for three periods. The match reached the end of regulation tied at 1-1. But Hinebauch, who was giving away a lot of size in the exhibition, scored a takedown in the second overtime, and then earned an escape in the final overtime to earn a 4-1 victory. Hinebauch, who redshirted last season, should be one of the NAIA's best wrestlers in upper weight classes this season, and he showed an amazing amount of determination against the bigger and talented Mattingly on Wednesday night. That match was preceded by a great dual between 165-pounder Colter Dimas and 175-pounder Austin Ouelette. The two MSU-N veterans put on a great technical display, and Dimas stormed back from a 2-1 deficit to earn a decision over Ouelette in the third period. Both Dimas and Ouelette are expected to have strong seasons for MSU-N, as both wrestlers have a lot of veteran experience. The 149-pound match was also exciting one, as senior Carols Alaniz edged sophomore transfer Tay Todd 3-2. Alaniz took an early 2-0 lead, but Todd scored a takedown late in the second period to even the match. Both wrestlers are expected to compete at a high level this season, and they put on a good show on Wednesday night, with Alaniz coming out on top. Defending 125-pound national champion Cory Borges also put on a good show for the MSU-N fans, but he was pushed by savvy veteran Sean Costello. Borges trailed Costello 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 at the end of the second. But the two-time NAIA All- American fought his way back to earn a hard-fought 4-2 decision. Also at 125 pounds, Havre native Ryan Shelstad took apart Harlem freshman Chase Dirden, while Colt Heger dismantled D.J. Skelton at 133 pounds. At 141 pounds, Havre sophomore Beau LaSalle looked sharp against freshman Mark Hobson, and freshman Jim Smith downed fellow freshman Brad Cain at 157 pounds to round out the scoring for the Maroon team, which prevailed 22-0 over the Gold squad. The Lights have another preseason match on Saturday, and MSU-N tentatively opens its season on the final weekend of October. The Lights were slated to open the year against the University of Regina, but that dual has been cancelled, so as of now MSU-N will begin its season at home against North Idaho College on Oct. 31, but the Lights still could schedule a dual before that. On Saturday, the Lights are back on the mat as they host the annual Alumni Dual at 11 a.m. at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse.