By Special to the Havre Daily
The Montana State University-Northern Lights wrestlers continued their road travels last Friday and Saturday at the Las Vegas/Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas.
A total of 52 teams entered the invitational 33 were Division I schools. Northern placed 26th out of the 52 teams.
"I was disappointed with our over-all team performance," head coach David Ray said. "We did not compete as a team. Everyone needs to score points in this type of tournament."
The number one ranked team in NCAA Division II scored 52 points and placed 16th with only one wrestler placing. He placed seventh. The Lights placed only one wrestler, who finished fourth.
"We had four head-to-head matches with the D-II number one ranked North Dakota State University and won three out of four match-ups," Ray said. "That means the other seven NDSU wrestlers picked it up and scored points, something that our team was capable of.
"One of the biggest problems is going up against NCAA Division I opponents. Our wrestlers are intimidated or do not believe they should win. This team is more talented than some of the teams that finished 15th and 16th at the Las Vegas Tournament in 1998 and 1999. There were wrestlers placing and winning matches after our guys were out of the tournament whom they have beaten earlier in November. It was an eye-opener for some and I truly feel if we wrestled the tournament over, many of the young men would perform much better."
Tyson Thivierge finished fourth place at 184 pounds in a very tough weight class. According to Ray, assistant Coach Terry Brands was a member of the seeding committee and was able to get Carl Valley seeded 12th, Tyson Thivierge seeded 8th and Emmett Willson seeded 9th. The other members of the seeding committee did not want to seed any of our wrestlers, so Coach Brands had to use alot of persuasion, Ray said.
Only the 8th seed Thivierge defeated his first three opponents before meeting top seed Andy Hrovat from the University of Michigan in the quaterfinals, losing 9-5. One of his wins was over sophomore Travis Pascoe from the University of Nebraska. Pascoe, like Thivierge, is also from Washington, about two hours apart. Thivierge defeated Pascoe 12-5.
Thivierge also avenged a loss from last year at the National Duals at Penn State against the number two seed Rob Rohn of Lehigh University 9-3 in the consolation semi-finals. Thivierge's last match was against the number six seed Clint Wattenberg of Cornell University. Ray said the six minute match lasted approximately 20 minutes due to bleeding that they were unable to stop.
"Tyson's bleeding of the nose could not be contained and time outs were taken 8-10 times," he said. "Tyson could not wrestle his usual tempo and wear his opponent down. Tyson lost that match 5-1 and was never mentally in the match."
The following are the results from the Las Vegas Invitational:
125 Carl Valley
133 Caleb Schaeffer
141 Kyle Nay
149 Dustyn Azure
157 Bobby Mantle
165 Mike Lester
174 Kyle Fisher
184 Tyson Thivierge
197 Emmett Willson
HWT Trevor Nelson