By Rob Everingham
It's getting near the end.
The MSU-Northern Lights wrestling team is heading to Heron, S.D., this weekend for the Great Plains Regional.
Northern will be one of seven teams at the tournament. Those teams will be host Heron, Jamestown College, Dickinson State, Brier Cliff College, and the University of Mary.
Lights head coach David Ray said not all seven teams will bring a full squad, but it will all be tough.
Brier Cliff bring in four or five outstanding wrestlers, Ray said. Dickinson State is solid from 133 pounds and up.
Northern toughest competition will come from the U. of Mary. Ray said Mary is tough from 124 to 197 pounds.
"They've got some good athletes, they are well coached, have great fundamentals and are very competitive," Ray said.
Ray said this is a tournament where the Lights need to wrestle well. This is a time when the Lights will get their momentum going before heading into nationals. Ray said his team is peaking at the right time, and win or lose, he just wants to see them compete to their potential.
"Everybody is mentally and physically looking good," Ray said.
Ray said he told his team it is not about winning or losing, but he just wants them to go out and compete the best they can. Ray said he told them it is important to score points any time you can.
"Hopefully, they'll go out and compete like that," Ray said.
Northern will be going for their third straight regional crown this weekend.
Competing for the Lights at 125 pounds will be Abel Valdez. At 133 pounds will be Jason Fratzke. Jessie Schaeffer will compete at 141 pounds. At 149 pounds will be Lyle Cronk. The Lights will take two wrestlers at 157 pounds, in Brenden Burns and Tamien Labuff.
At 165 pounds will be Chris Hayes. Mark Lane will wrestle at 174 pounds. At 184 pounds will be Tyson Thivierge. Turk Lords will be at 197 pounds and at heavyweight Northern will be taking Damion Martindale and Dane Jacobsen.