By Boots Gifford
Enough practice, already. Its time to unleash the NAIA national championship Lights onto a new wrestling season.
Itll be fun and exciting, said seventh-year coach David Ray. These guys are hungry. They cant wait to get on the mat.
And these Lights are hungrier than ever as they set their sights on a three-peat of the national title.
Taking on the Dinos of the University of Calgary, the Lights will face off at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Northern gym.
In order to equalize the difference between the NAIA collegiate style wrestling and the freestyle wrestling of the Calgary squad, the dual will be a takedown-only match. The grapplers will square off in two three-minute periods with a 30-second rest in between.
Thats what they do in FILA regulations, Ray explained.
The main focus for the Lights will be concentrating on their takedown techniques, Ray said. Moving on their feet, scoring from their feet.
Takedowns are worth only one point in this format and a match is called if the score reaches 10-0 before time expires. There are no points for escapes, but there might be points scored for a near-fall situation.
The Calgary team is a relative unknown, Ray said. I dont really know who theyve recruited. Its like walking in the dark. But thats kind of neat, you dont know what to expect. You just go out and compete. Everybody just lets the cat out of the bag.
The most important factor for Ray is seeing how the Lights perform in their first competitive situation.
This is all serious business, Ray said. Get them out there and see where theyre at on the mat this time of year.
In addition to the Calgary dual, the Lights are preparing for their Maroon-Gold match on Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.
Twenty younger Lights have been taking on wrestle-off challenges this week to earn the right to pair with the starters from Saturdays dual. But this will be more than just an exhibition intrasquad match; starting slots for the upcoming home duals are at stake, Ray noted.
These matches are going to be competitive, Ray said. Weve got a great nucleus of guys. To get their (spot) theyre going to have to compete.
The Lights host a string of home duals following the intrasquad meet with Simon Fraser University on Nov. 1, North Idaho College on Nov. 4, and Ricks College on Nov. 6. After that, the Lights will on the road until Jan. 13.
MSU-Northern vs. University of Calgary
Saturday, Oct. 23, 4 p.m.
125 Abel Valdez (N) vs. Mike Stitt (C); 133 Kurt Lorenz (N) vs. Jeremy McLean (C); 141 Jessie Schaeffer (N) vs. George Patterson (C); 149 Lyle Cronk (N) vs. Matt Eskerod (C); 157 Brendan Burns (N) vs. Ryan Murray (C); 165 Chris Hayes (N) vs. David Kooperberg (C); 174 Art Castillo (N) vs. Joe Sullivan; 184 Tyson Thivierge (N) vs. Ryan Andrusky (C); 197 Turk Lords (N) vs. Paul McConnell (C); HWT no match.