By Rob Everingham
A group of MSU-Northern wrestlers headed off to the 2000 Cliff Keen/NCWA National Wrestling Duals, to be held January 22-23.
At the duals will be Iowa State, the University of Minnesota, Oklahoma State, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Nebraska, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Cal State-Bakersfield, Arizona State, Central Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Rider, Wartburg, West Virginia and MSU-Northern.
Northern is the only NAIA team at the duals.
Pittsburgh-Johnstown is the defending NCAA Div. II champion, Wartburg is the NCAA Div. III champion, and the Lights are the NAIA defending champions.
For Northern, Abel Valdez will wrestle at 125 pounds. Jason Fratzke will wrestle at 133. At 141 pounds will be Jessie Schaeffer, and Lyle Cronk will fill the 144-pound spot.
At 157 pounds will be Tamien Labuff. Chris Hayes will wrestle at 165 pounds. Northern veteran Mark Lane will fill the 174 pound spot. At 184 pounds will be Tyson Thivierge. Two-time defending national champion Turk Lords will be at 197, and Damion Martindale will wrestle in the heavyweight category.
Oklahoma State won the dual last year and has won two of the last three.
There will be five wrestlers that are ranked No. 1 in the nation and seven wrestlers that are ranked No. 2 at the duals.
The preliminary rounds will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the semi-finals at 8 p.m. The consolation rounds will start Sunday at 11 a.m., with the finals at 2 p.m.
After the duals, the Lights will return home to wrestle their final home dual of the year against Northwest College.