The Montana State Un
iversity-Northern wrestling team has spent the last few weeks wrestling each other, and grappling with former Lights legends. Tonight, the Lights will finally get their hands and someone else.
The sixth-ranked Lights will open the regular season tonight at 6 when they take on Western Wyoming in a dual inside the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse.
Northern’s preseason included three Maroon/Gold Duals, two of which were ultra-competitive. The Lights also held their annual Alumni Dual in preparation for tonight’s opener against the Mustangs.
“Our guys are hungry,” Northern head coach Tyson Thivierge said in a recent interview. “We have a group of guys in our room who work hard, there’s a lot of kids on this team who’ve shown tremendous improvement from last season, and they’re hungry.”
The Mustangs come to Havre fresh off a Top 20 finish at the NJCAA national tournament last spring in Spokane. They also return seven wrestlers who qualified for the national tourney, so they’ll certainly have the power to push the Lights tonight.
Northern will send out freshman Riley Miller at 125 pounds and he’ll square off against freshman Ronnie Wardleigh. At 133, Northern’s Kaine Zetterberg will get the nod against Western’s Richard Serna. MSU-N’s Hunter Azure, a four-time state champion from Poplar will make his long-awaited debut against Western’s Mario Luna at 141 and fourth-ranked Anthony Weerheim will take on Marcos Serna at 149 pounds.
In the middle weights, the Lights will go with freshman Mickey Cheff against Jordan Schroeder at 157, while former Havre Blue Pony Ethan Hinebauch will battle Ross Taylor at 165 pounds. The Lights will send out ninth-ranked Jared Miller to square off against Shawn Seppela at 174 pounds.
In the upper weight classes, 11th-ranked Kody Reed gets the start for the Lights at 184 pounds. Reed will take on Western’s Riley Argyle. Defending national champion Evan Hinebauch will wrestle Simas Norkus at 197 pounds and Nick King will take on either Trey Kirk or Carlos Saabedra in the heavyweight match.
Northern will be without two ranked wrestlers tonight. Sophomore Cameron Neiss, who’s ranked fourth 133 pounds suffered an injury in last Thursday’s Maroon/Gold Dual, while sophomore Max Payne is out for another week after recovering from minor knee surgery. Payne is ranked fourth at 174.
Tonight’s season-opening dual between the Lights and Mustangs gets underway at 6 at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse. Northern takes to the road for the first time when the Lights battle NJCAA powerhouse, North Idaho Saturday night.