George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Montana State University-Northern senior Cory Borges didn't just repeat as NAIA national champion this weekend, he did it in dominating fashion. Borges captured his second straight NAIA title at 125 pounds Saturday night in Oklahoma City, and he and MSU-N freshman Evan Hinebauch helped lead Northern to 61 points and a ninth-place finish at the 2009 NAIA wrestling championships. Lindenwood captured its third straight NAIA championship by scoring 167 points to easily edge secondplace Southern Oregon, which scored 125. 5 points. McKendree was third, while Dickinson State finished sixth with 73.5 points and Northern's rival, the University of Great Falls was a distant 12th with just 51 points and no wrestlers in the finals. Borges and Hinebauch both reached Saturday night's final round, and Borges was rarely tested during his third straight trip to the finals. As a sophomore, the California native finished second at 125 and was a national champion a year ago. And on Saturday night he cruised past SOU's Mitchell Lofstedt in a major decision, 11-2, to repeat as national champion. The win over Lofstedt capped off a brilliant run through the tournament for Borges and an even better senior year, one in which he was ranked No. 1 all season and lost just five matches through a very competitive schedule. In this weekend's tournament, Borges recorded two technical falls, two lopsided decisions and a major decision to become the first Light to win back-to-back titles since Stryder Davis captured titles at 157 pounds in 2004 and 2005. Meanwhile, Hinebauch, a former Havre High state champion, reached Saturday night's 184-pound finale as the No. 2 seed, but waiting for him wasn't UGF's top-ranked Michael French. French was beaten in the semifinals by third-ranked Chris Platt of SOU, and Platt then took down Hinebauch by way of a 6-2 decision in the final. Still, Hinebauch beat several quality opponents on his way to reaching the championship round in just his first year of collegiate wrestling, and he will no doubt be a force for years to come. A third member of Northern's sixman national tournament team also earned NAIA All-American honors on Saturday. MSU-N junior Austin Ouelette fought his way through the wrestlebacks to finish seventh at 174 pounds. Ouelette beat several higher seeds over the course of the three-day tournament, including California Baptist's C. J. Knowland in the seventh-place match. Ouelette pinned Knowland in 4:39 Saturday to earn All-American honors for the first time in his career. Northern also advanced senior Colt Heger into the quarterfinals earlier in the week, but Heger wound up coming up one win shy of earning All- American honors himself. Still, Heger capped off an outstanding career for the Lights, as he reached the national tournament four times. It was a strong showing by a shorthanded Northern team, which had qualified seven wrestlers for the event until J.D. Goodrich had to be taken out of the lineup due to an injury he suffered at the regional tournament. All six Lights scored points at the national tournament. At 165 pounds, Colter Dimas won twice in the wrestlebacks for MSU-N, and heavyweight Robby Shaw won once in the consolation round.