The first day of the NAIA national wrestling tournament was mixed with some highs and lows for the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team.
Still, the Lights put themselves in a strong position going into the second day of the national tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.
Overall, nine Lights advanced to today's session and the Lights finished the first day in fifth place.
Northern advanced four wrestlers into the quarterfinals on Thursday, led by seniors Evan Hinebauch and Anthony Weerheim. Hinebauch defeated Hannibal-LaGrande’s 9-4 in the first round, then pinned Dickinson State’s Jesse Hellinger later in the day. Hinebauch will face Campblesville’s Allen Scruggs in the quarterfinals. Weerheim, the No.1 seed at 149 cruised as well, earning a technical fall over Bacone’s Christian Hernandez in the second round. Weerheim will Grand View’s Nick Coffman in the quarterfinals.
It was a good day for the Lights at 157 and 165 pounds as well. Both Mickey Cheff and Ethan Hinebauch also moved to the quarterfinals. Cheff won three times on Thursday, beating Northwestern’s Tyler Schaeffer by tech. fall, then winning a decision over Central Baptist’s Joseph Goolsby and finally pinning Harrison Courtney of Lindsey Wilson in the third round. Hinebauch pinned William Penn’s Anthony Martinez in the second round, then advanced by injury default. He’ll face Morningside’s Jared Wildboer in the quarters.
Northern also got wins Beau LaSalle in the first round at 149, Jared Miller in the frist round at 174 and Kody Reed in the first round at 184. All three, along with Max Payne at 174, lost in the next round. Riley Miller (125), Cameron Neiss (133) and James Petersen (149) were all beaten in their first matches.
Former Havre Blue Pony Myles Mazurkiewicz also won twice and moved into today's 141-pound quarterfinals. His performance helped UGF finish the first day in third place, behind Grand View and Southern Oregon. The Lights are just five points behind the Argos in third.
The 2012 NAIA national tournament continues today and runs through Saturday night in Des Moines, Iowa.