By Boots Gifford
There is nothing easy about the Montana State-Northern Lights wrestling schedule, but that is what has built a back-to-back NAIA national championship team.
Coming off a decisive victory over Simon Fraser University on Monday night, the Lights welcome NJCAA North Idaho College on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
They always have a good team, said Lights coach David Ray. You cant underestimate them. Theyve got solid kids who know what to expect from a college match.
North Idaho has earned two national titles in the past four years and has consistently been in the top three over that period.
This is going to be a real good test before Ricks (College), Ray said. The Lights will host Ricks on Saturday. Its going to be a real exciting dual meet.
There will be two Montana boys facing off at 157 pounds, Ray noted, with North Idahos Trevor Floerchinger of Great Falls and Northerns Brendan Burns of Livingston.
At 184 pounds, Light Tyson Thivierge will be looking for some revenge over Ry Stone. Stone was second last year at the NJCAA finals and downed Thivierge during the Northern-North Idaho dual.
North Idahos David Sandberg will have the ominous task of facing Northerns Turk Lords at 197 pounds. Sandberg is a strong, big wrestler, Ray said.
Light Dane Jacobsen fills in at heavyweight and takes on Andy West. West is a big strong kid, Ray said.
With the new dual format instituted last season, the teams do not know which weight class will be the starting match. A draw is made just after weigh-ins are completed.
I predict an exciting, enthusiastic match-up, Ray said.
Here are the rest of the matchups for the dual: 125 Abel Valdez (N) vs. Nathan DeLeon; 133 Kurt Lorenz (N) vs. Derek Keaveny; 141 Jessie Schaeffer (N) vs. Ravil Mukhamediyev; 149 Lyle Cronk (N) vs. Andy Roberts; 165 Chris Hayes (N) vs. Travis Liermann; 174 Casey Pinion (N) vs. Kelly Krepps.