Although the Montana State University-Northern Lights wrestling team suffered a loss over the weekend, it was all in good fun.
Saturday at the Armory Gymnasium in Havre, the Northern Lights Alumni squad defeated the current Lights 29-6.
And with the loss, this may be the only time head coach Tyson Thivierge ever gives his guys a free pass.
“If our guys go away hanging their heads from this, they are in the wrong,” Thivierge said. “This is nothing but a great learning experience for them and it will only make them better. The film and experience is great for our guys because they get to see what they need to work on. Losing matches like these, we will learn from them, but it is a lot of fun.”
The Alumni team was stacked with veteran talent, especially compared to the nine freshmen just beginning their college careers which made up the majority of the Lights squad this weekend.
To start the dual, the Alumni went up 17-0.
At 133 pounds Abel Valdez (2000 and 2001 All-American) earned a 3-0 decision over freshman Brandon Leliefeld. And at 157 pounds, Dustyn Azure (2001 and 2005 All-American) defeated freshman Cody Mller by way of a 15-0 technical fall. And at 285 pounds Dan Eaves (1999 graduate) earned a 10-5 decision win over freshman Nick King, while Evan Mattingly (2010 All-American) earned a 4-2 decision over sophomore Rudy Schaffroth. At 149 pounds Bobby Mantle (2003 All-American) defeated junior Anthony Weerheim with a 8-1 decision.
The Lights were able to grab two wins in the dual.
At 197 pounds freshman Kody Reed earned a 2-0 decision over Dane Jacobsen, a 2001 All-American. And at 174 pounds freshman Max Payne defeated Rudy James (1997 and 1999 All-American) by a 10-3 decision.
The two consecutive wins for the Lights cut the Alumni's lead to 17-6. But the talented veterans would close out the dual with four straight wins.
At 133 pound Cory Borges (2008 and 2009 National Champion and three-time All-American) defeated freshman Cameron Neiss in a 2-0 decision. At 149 pounds Mitch Overlie (1996, 1997 and 1998 All-American) defeated freshman Demetrios Mitchell in a 3-0 decision. And at 133 pounds Valdez returned to action and defeated freshman Ryan Shelstad in a 3-2 decision, while Azure also returned for the Alumni to defeat freshman Mickey Cheff with a 5-2 decision.
“I thought our young guys showed a lot of composure,” Thivierge said. “There were some situations and things that we really expect them to learn from, for instance, we were getting scored on at the end of matches and periods. Right now everybody is where we thought they would be. We need to just continue to get better everyday, because this is just another stepping stone on our way to North Idaho next weekend.”
Alumni 29, Lights 6
133 – Abel Valdez, alumni dec. Brandon Leliefeld, 3-2; 133 – Cory Borges, alumni dec. Cameron Neiss, 2-0; 133 – Abel Valdez, alumni dec. Ryan Shelstad, 3-2; 149 – Bobby Mantle, alumni dec. Anthony Weerheim, 8-1; 149 – Mitch Overlie, alumni dec. Demetrios Mitchell, 3-0; 157 – Dustyn Azure, alumni technical fall Cody Miller, 15-0; 157 – Dustyn Azure, alumni dec. Mickey Cheff, 5-2; 174 – Max Payne, MSU-N dec. Rudy James, 10-3; 197 – Kody Reed, MSU-N dec. Dane Jacobsen, 2-0.