By Rob Everingham
The MSU-Northern Lights wrestling team will return home tonight for the first time since Nov. 6, to square off on their home mat against Western Wyoming College.
Nov. 18 was the last time these two teams met in action, with the Lights winning the dual, 35-6. The only match Northern lost was at 133 pounds, which was forfeited due to an illness.
The Lights are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to the latest NAIA wrestling rankings.
Individually for the Lights, Mark Lane is ranked No. 1 at 174 pounds, and Turk Lords is ranked first at 197 pounds. Two Northern wrestlers sit atop the 184-pound weight class, with Sean Salmon No. 1 and Tyson
Thivierge No. 2.
Damion Martindale holds down second place in the heavyweight division, Jessie Schaeffer sits fourth at 141 pounds, and Tamien Labuff is fourth at 149 pounds.
Also for Northern, at 125 pounds, Abel Valdez is fifth, and, at 157 pounds, Brendan Burns is also ranked No. 5 in the country. Lyle Cronk is ranked sixth at 149 pounds.
Lights' head coach David Ray said it will be good to be at home and not have to travel.
"After being on the road for two months, it feels good to be home," Ray said.
Ray said he wishes they had more home meets during the second semester, so that the fans could see Northern perform. He said a lot of teams want to wrestle the Lights during the first semester, thinking they would not be as tough.
The Lights started the season ranked No. 5, and have moved up to the top spot. It would be nice to showcase what has built up, Ray said.
"They (wrestlers) have worked hard to get were they are," Ray said.
Ray said the accomplishment is good for the athletes, but it is also good for the fans, especially when the wrestlers get an opportunity to showcase their talents.
It should be a fun and exciting dual meet, Ray said. During the first go-round, the Lights dominated in the team score, but the individual matches were a lot closer.