The Montana State University-Northern wrestling team is getting hot, just as it’s finally getting cold outside.
The No. 8 Lights followed up a successful trip to Arizona with a dominating 34-10 win over Northwest College Thursday night at MSU-Northern Fieldhouse.
After Mickey Cheff gave Northern a 10-9 lead at 157 pounds, the drama in the dual against the Trappers, who are ranked No. 7 in NJCAA. Wasn’t if the Lights were going to win, but how.
With the dual in hand, the Lights got electrifying wins from Kody
Reed, who switched places with Northern senior Evan Hinebauch, and Nick King.
Reed took to the mat against a quality opponent in Northwest’s 184-pounder Miles Nixon, and instead of a drawn –out battle, Reed quickly got Nixon to has back and pinned him just 1:33 into the match.
Reed’s win was exciting, but King topped it in the heavyweight finale.
Trailing Northwest’s Sean Sullivan most of the way each wrestler earned an escape early in the third period. That led to a 3-3 tie as time ticked down on the match. But King found one last head of steam and took Sullivan to the mat just as the final buzzer sounded. Two points were awarded and King finished off a solid dual in exciting fashion.
“Nick King is a redshirt-freshman with a ton of potential,” Northern head coach Tyson Thivierge said. “Nick loses close matches and he wins them close. Tonight was one of those nights where he found a way to win a close one. I was really pleased with that. He’s really starting to figure things out. He’s come a long, long way.
“Kody (Reed) was just flat-out solid tonight,” he added. “He went out and took the fight to that guy. It was impressive to watch and that’s what Kody needs to do a lot more of.”
In between Reed and King’s victories, Hinebauch moved up to 197 pounds and technically disposed of Ben Price with a 9-1 major decision.
“I am pretty pleased with how things went,” Thivierge said. “I thought we were aggressive early, I thought we took the fight to them (Trappers). And that’s how we want to wrestle. I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”
After Northern forfeited the 125-pound opener, the Lights got back-to-back wins from Cameron Neiss and Anthony Weerheim. Neiss won his 133-pound bout 7-2 and looked good in doing so. At 141, Weerheim was tested early, but fought his way to an 8-4 decision which knotted the dual up at 6-6. Northwest’s only win on the mat came by way of a 12-0 major decision from Nathaniel Garcia at 149 pounds, but Cheff quickly regained the momentum for Northern as he scored a third-period escape in his 157-pound match against Jakcsen Cottrell. That escape gave him a 4-2 victory and the Lights didn’t lose again.
“There are things you can always knit-pick at,” Thivierge said. “I thought Mickey needed to be more aggressive in the period. He needs to learn to finish matches a little bit better. Some of our other guys need to do the same. But Mickey’s win gave us a boost tonight. He’s the type of guy who pushes and motivates our team and he did that for us again tonight.
“But overall, I was happy,” he added. “I thought we were pretty solid all the way through the lineup tonight.”
The Lights will go back out on the road, competing in the Minot State Open on Saturday in Minot, N.D. Northern has one home dual remaining this season, a Feb. 8 date with the University of Great Falls in Havre.
Lights 34, Northwest 10
125 – Kameron Day, MW won by forfeit; 133 – Cameron Neiss, MSU-N dec. Whitey Gardner, NW, 7-2; 141 – Anthony Weerheim, MSU-N dec. Colton Thornton, NW, 6-2; 149 – Nathanial Garcia, NW maj. dec. James Petersen, MSU-N, 12-0; 157 – Mickey Cheff, MSU-N, dec. Jaksen Cottrell, NW, 4-2; 165 – Ethan Hinebauch, MSU-N won by forfeit; 174 – Jared Miller, MSU-N won by forfeit; 184 – Kody Reed, MSU-N pinned Miles Nixon, NW, 1:33; 197 – Evan Hinebauch, MSU-N maj. dec. Ben Price, 9-1; HWT – Nick King, MSU-N dec. Sean Sullivan, NW, 5-3.
Next Up: Northern has one home dual left, a Feb. 8 match with the University of Great Falls.