Once again, the annual Alumni Dual turned out to be a great show. And a great way to kick off the Montana State University-Northern wrestling season.
Not only did the current Lights get their first real competitive action of the young season, head coach Tyson Thivierge got to see his men wrestle, and the alumni got to come back and give back to a great program. And while it is mostly about having fun and giving back for the alumni wrestlers, it is all business for the current Lights.
But yet again, the Alumni had the upper hand, winning the dual 31-3.
“It is about the wrestling,” Thivierge said. “The guys wrestled well and this is the earliest we have wrestled in the season competitively, so there were a lot more mistakes than usual. But those are things we can clean up, and we have time now to do that. They wrestled hard, but I would love to see more alumni come too. There were a lot of conflicts, but it was good to have these guys back.”
Junior Ethan Hinebauch was the only current Light to get a win. In the eighth match of the evening Hinebauch faced Austin Ouellette, a 2009 NAIA All American. Hinebauch took a 2-0 lead on a takedown in the first period, and later scored on a takedown in the second period for a 4-0 lead. Ouellette did score on an escape, but Hinebauch took the match 4-1.
The alumni rolled through the rest of the matchups.
Thivierge defeated Kody Reed 6-0, Simon White defeated Jorrell Jones 1-0, Ty Allen defeated Justin Rodgers 6-0, Casey Pinion defeated Trevor Gross 10-2, Dustyn Azure defeated Cameron Neiss 1-0, Bobby Mantle defeated Tommy Cooper 8-2, Anthony Weerheim defeated Micky Cheff 2-1, Evan Hinebauch defeated Toby Cheff 4-2, White defeated Rico Paz 3-1 and Rudy James defeated Jake Leinwand 5-0.
And winning makes the trip a little more fun for the alumni, but that is not what the return to Havre is all about. It was extra special for White, as he also coached Thivierge in 1998-99.
“For me it is being a part of this kind of fraternity of brothers,” White said after his two wins on the evening. “We get to help support Tyson and the new wrestlers that are coming through, and it is good that they know we support them for years to come. (Thivierge) has a special place in my heart so I like that I can support him and the program. There is a lot to learn in this sport, you have to grow up and be a good man, a good person, and good athlete, and a good student. Most of these guys that come back are successful in their lives and business, so we need to be good role models for them.”
Thivierge also made a surprise appearance on Saturday night.
Ouellette was scheduled to face Reed in the first match of the dual, but Thivierge made a quick lineup change. Thivierge earned the 6-0 win, but immediately feeling the pain in his body directly after his quick comeback from retirement, Reed may be the real winner moving forward. But all that aside, it should be a great memory for both Reed and Thivierge.
“Being an alumni I sit there and part of me wants to wrestle every year,” Thivierge said. “The idea of me wrestling my own guys got brought up, and Kody (Reed) is the first guy to be with me for five years, so it was out of respect. I have so much respect for what he has done for me and for this program, so it was just for us and to show him how much I respect him. He had no clue we were wrestling and the look on his face was priceless. I was looking forward to seeing the look on his face.”
And just like a former coach, White was unable to refrain from critiquing what he saw from Thivierge on the mat.
“It was good to see him back out there,” White said. “But he needs to wear a singlet next time, he needs to go all in.”
The Lights will hold their annual Maroon/Gold Dual Oct. 17 and open the season for real Oct. 26 at North Idaho College.
Alumni 31, Lights 3
Tyson Thivierge, Alumni, 6-0 dec. Kody Reed; Simon White, Alumni, 1-0 dec. Jorrell Jones; Ty Allen, Alumni, 6-0 dec. Justin Rodgers; Casey Pinion, Alumni, 10-2 maj. dec. Trevor Gross; Dustyn Azure, Alumni, 1-0 dec. Cameron Neiss; Bobby Mantle, Alumni, 8-2 dec. Tommy Cooper; Anthony Weerheim, Alumni, 2-1 dec. Micky Cheff; Ethan Hinebauch, MSU-N, 4-1 dec. Austin Ouellette; Evan Hinebauch, Alumni, 4-2 dec. Toby Cheff; Simon White, Alumni, 3-1 dec. Rico Paz; Rudy James, Alumni, 5-0 dec. Jake Leinwand.