It wasn't the kind of home away from home performance the Montana State-University Northern wrestling team was looking for.
Instead, the No. 10 Lights went to Great Falls for two days of Battle of the Rockies competition and nearly came home with little to show for it.
The Lights lots duals to No. 2 McKendree College and No. 14 Embry-Riddle University on Friday afternoon, then didn't wrestle up to expectations during the Battle of the Rockies open tournament on Saturday.
"We had some individual performances that went well, but for the most part, we did not compete well as a team," Northern head coach Tyson Thivierge said. "It was frustrating to see our guys wrestle these last two days without the spark and determination that they have been showing all season."
On Saturday, the Lights placed just three wrestlers in the tournament, while freshman Garrett Tennant finished fifth wrestling unattached.
Northern junior Evan Hinebauch was the main bright spot for the Lights, as was 197-pounder Kody Reed. Hinebauch met up with rival Michael French in the 184-pound championship, and for the third time this season, French beat Hinebauch by a 3-2 score. Meanwhile, Reed had a solid day, wrestling back to place third at 197 pounds. The finish qualified Reed for the NAIA national tournament in the spring. MSU-N freshman Cameron Neiss also placed third for the Lights in the 133-pound class, while former Havre Blue Pony Myles Mazurkiewicz got a first-place finish at 141 pounds for UGF.
On Friday, the Lights struggled against two NAIA powers. Northern lost its dual with Embry-Riddle, 27-18 as Neiss, Hinebauch and Anthony Weerheim picked up MSU-N's only victories on the mat.
The Lights also fell to second-ranked McKendree 26-9. Hinebauch was spectacular in a 10-5 win over third-ranked Kyle Reid, while Rudy Schaffroth also grabbed a big win for the Lights at heavyweight. But MSU-N dropped a few close matches, and McKendree sent out seven ranked wrestlers and proved too much for the Lights to overcome. In both duals, MSU-N also forfeited at 125 and 141 pounds.
"This is a weekend we have to leave behind us and continue to work towards our goals," Thivierge said. "It is a weekend we will learn from and as a coaching staff we hope that this is something they will also learn from. We have to do a better job as coaches with getting these gentlemen ready to wrestle."
The Lights are back on the mat on Dec. 19 in Reno, NV.
ERAU 27, Lights 18
125 — John Garza, ERAU wins by forfeit; 133 — Cameron Neiss, MSU-N dec. A.J. Vailes, ERAU, 8-4; 141 — Jeremy Mazon, ERAU wins by forfeit; 149 — Anthony weerheim, MSU-N dec. Josh Chang, ERAU, 3-2; 157 — Tyler Chang, ERAU pinned Cody Miller, MSU-N 1:05; 165 — Luke Riley, ERAU dec. Tay Todd, MSU-N, 3-2; 175 — Brandon Martyn, ERAU dec. Jared Miller, MSU-N, 6-4 in OT; 184 — Evan Hinebauch, MSU-N pinned Troy Kilgore, ERAU, 2:45; 197 — Shawn Michalek, ERAU dec. Kody Reed, MSU-N, 10-5; HWT — Rudy Schaffroth, MSU-N won by forfeit.
McKendree 26, Lights 9
125 — Dual Forfeit; 133 — Wade Lowe, MCK maj. dec. Cameron Neiss, MSU-N, 12-1; 141 — Kyle Williams, MCK won by forfeit; 149 — Anthony Weerheim, MSU-N dec. Ryan Jahn, MCK, 6-5; 157 — Josh Ballard, MCK maj. dec. Cody Reed, MSU-N, 10-2; 165 — Isaiah Gonzalez, MCK dec. Tay Todd, MSU-N, 10-5; 174 — John Vogt, MCK pinned Jared Miller, MSU-N, 5:47; 184 — Evan Hinebauch, MSU-N dec. Kyle Reid, MCK, 10-5; 187 — Andrew Sanchez, MCK dec. Kody Reed, MSU-N, 7-2; HWT — Rudy Schaffroth, MSU-N dec. Andrew Davis, MCK, 3-2.