By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Turk Lords finished second at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and led the team to the top non-NCAA Division I finish of the tournament Saturday.
Lords, originally of Great Falls, entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed and lost an 8-4 decision to third-seeded Mark Munoz of Oklahoma State University at 197 pounds to finish second. Last year, Lords placed 3rd at the tournament.
In the semifinals, Lords defeated No. 1-seeded Rusty Cook of Boise State University in a 6-4 overtime decision.
Lords, 19-1 this season, won four-straight matches en route to his finish.
"He looks real strong," head coach David Ray said. "Compared to last year at this time, both he and Tyson (Thivierge) are way above where they were a year ago."
The Lights finished 16th out of 47 competing teams at the tournament.
The finish not only placed them highest among non-NCAA Division I schools, but it also placed them higher than 17 other NCAA Division schools represented at the tournament, including Ohio State, University of Virginia, and Cal Poly, who finished in 18-20th place, respectively.
Thivierge (184) lost his quarter-final match in a 5-2 decision to fourth-seed and eventual second-place finisher Doug Lee of the University of Oregon.
In the consolation round to get into the top eight, Thivierge lost a 6-4 overtime decision to third-seeded and eventual third-place finisher Nate Patrick of the University of Illinois.
Sean Salmon, who competed with seven other wrestlers at the Cobber Open at Concordia College Saturday, placed first and was awarded the outstanding wrestler award at the tournament.
Northern's next competition will be Dec. 11 at Northwest College at Powell, Wyo.
Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 3-4
125 -- Abel Valdez, Record, 1-2; 133 -- open; 141 -- Jessie Schaeffer, record, 1-2; 149 -- Lyle Cronk, record, 2-2; 157 -- Brendan Burns, record, 2-2; 165 -- Chris Hayes, record, 1-2; 174 -- Nate Laslovich, record, 1-1, injury withdraw; 184 -- Tyson Thivierge, record, 3-2; second place, 197 -- Turk Lords, 4-1; 285 -- Dave Jacobsen, record, 2-2.
Concordia College Dec. 4
141 -- Kyle May, 5th; 149 -- Brent Riggin, 5th; 165 -- Kyle Fisher, 3rd; 165 -- Jeff Jamison, 4th; 174 -- Emmett Willson, 3rd; 184 -- Sean Salmon, First, Outstanding Wrestler Award; 184 -- Howard Nee, 5th