By Rob Everingham
DICKINSON, N.D. -- The MSU-Northern Lights got the chance to scout the teams from the Great Plains during the weekend as they wrestled at the Dickinson State Classic.
Northern finished the tournament in second place with 81 points, behind host Dickinson State, who finished with 85 1/2 points. There were 11 teams competing.
The Lights placed six wrestlers in the finals and won four of those matches.
Northern was without the services of Sean Salmon at 184 pounds and Damion Martindale at heavyweight. Salmon is ranked No. 1 in the country, while Martindale is ranked second. Both stayed home to rehabilitate injuries.
The Lights also pulled out Brenden Burns and Abel Valdez because of minor injuries.
Northern coach David Ray said it was not worth increasing their injuries. They both would have scored points for the Lights, but Ray said, it was not that important at this time of year.
Ray said he felt good overall about the Lights' performance against the teams in their region.
Ray did say he was disappointed with some of his wrestlers. The Lights put six wrestlers in the consolation rounds and only one, Jesse Schaeffer, came out with a win. Ray said Schaeffer redeemed himself after false starting three times in an overtime match earlier.
This was a good time for Ray to start collecting the 12 wrestlers he will take to the Great Plains Regional on Feb. 20. Ray said the tournament gave him an idea of those who he needs to start cutting.
A group of Lights wrestlers also attended the Central Washington Open and posted with good results.
At 141 pounds, Kyle Nay finished third. Dustyn Azure finished fourth at 149 pounds. Havre native Kyle Fisher finished fifth place at 165 pounds, and Emmett Willson finished third at 174 pounds.
The Lights leave town again on Thursday as they head to the east coast and the prestigious NCAA National Duals at Penn State University.
Ray said there are only four or five wrestlers who are at a point of being able to compete at this big of a tournament. He also said there are four or five that he feels are not ready for that level of competition and he may leave some behind and forfeit some weight classes.
The Lights are home again on Jan. 27 in a dual against Northwest College.
At the Central Washington Open, Ellensburg, Wash.
141 -- Kyle Nay, 3rd place; 149 -- Dustyn Azure, 4th place; 165 -- Kyle Fisher, 5th place; 174 -- Emmett Willson, 3rd place
Team Scores at Dickinson State Classic
Dickinson State, 85.5; MSU-Northern 82; U. of Mary 77.5; Ricks College 60.5; Itasca College 47; Western Wyoming College 32; Northern State 22; Concordia College 17; U. of Wyoming 7; Jamestown College 5