The ninth-ranked Montana State University-Northern wrestling team will get a chance to show what its made of this weekend in Iowa.
Saturday and Sunday, the Lights will hit the mat at the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the sight of the 2011 NAIA National Championships.
The tournament is one of the largest dual-format tournaments of the wrestling season and it features brackets for NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III, as well as an NAIA bracket, an NCJAA bracket and a women’s bracket.
The format is a tournament of duals, which will be a double-elimination format, so every team is guaranteed at least two duals on the weekend. Despite being ranked ninth in the NAIA, the Lights are not seeded in the 16-team NAIA bracket, and will face No. 6 seed Campblesville in the first round Saturday at 11 a.m.. If Northern wins, the Lights will take on either third-seeded Grand View or Southern Oregon in the winner’s bracket. The losers of those two duals will square off in a loser-out match. UGF is also in the event and seeded fourth overall. The Argos, led by former Havre High star Myles Mazurkiewicz will face off with Missouri Baptist Saturday morning in the first round. Overall, the NAIA draw features 11 of the top 16 teams in the country.
The Lights take in six ranked wrestlers this weekend, and will also have their 125-pounder back, as Harlem’s Chase Dirden is back from injury. At 174 pounds, Max Payne should also be back form injury, giving the Lights a deeper dual lineup.
After this weekend’s tournament in Iowa, the Lights will wrestle in Clackamas, Ore., next weekend, before returning home to face Northwest College on Jan. 20.