After a successful trip to Spokane and a week off from competition, things are about to get interesting for the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team.
The No. 7 Lights are in Great Falls th
is weekend for the prestigious Battle of the Rockies, which will be two days of top-notch NAIA wrestling.
The first day of the tourney will pit Northern in three tough, NAIA duals, while the second day will be an open tournament, which will feature some of the best wrestlers in the region and in the NAIA.
On Friday, Northern will battle McKendree University, which has moved up to NCAA Division II in recent times, and will be a huge test for the Lights. The Lights will then go head-to-head with Indiana Tech, which is ranked 15th in the latest NAIA Coaches Poll. MSU-N’s third dual Friday will be against Western region rival Embry-Riddle, which isn’t ranked, but is receiving votes in the latest poll.
Saturday’s Battle of the Rockies Open will give the Lights a chance to get back to tournament action. Northern has excelled in the tournament format this season, while head coach Tyson Thivierge’s squad is 2-2 in duals so far in 2012.
Northern takes seven ranked wrestlers into this weekend’s action, which will also be a big because MSU-N is home to take on rival UGF next Tuesday. Sophomore Ethan Hinebauch is ranked no. 1 at 165 pounds, while Kody Reed is up to an outstanding No. 3 at 184 pounds, and Max Payne has risen to No. 5 at 174. Hunter Azure is also climbing, as he’s now ranked No. 7 at 141 pounds, while Mickey Cheff is No. 10 at 157, Cameron Neiss is 11th at 133 and Toby Cheff is No. 12 at 197.
All three of Northern’s duals at the Battle of the Rockies will take place Friday at the McLaughlin Center on UGF’s campus. The Battle of the Rockies Open, which runs all day Saturday, will be held at the CMR Fieldhouse.