For yet another dual, the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team was short-handed but, wrestling on their home mat for the first time since November, the Lights weren’t going to let holes in their lineup be a deterrent.
The No. 2 Lights dominated the upper weights in a 38-23 win over NJCAA Western Wyoming Saturday night at the Armory Gymnasium. MSU-N was open at 125 and 149 pounds, as well as the heavyweight slot, but bonus points lifted the Lights to a dominant win over the 13th-ranked junior college team in the country.
The last pin was the most dramatic.
Even with the dual decided, senior Cameron Neiss provided the most exciting moment of the night. Neiss trailed 141-pound rival Chaz Lavato for much of the match, but the fourth-ranked 141-pounder in the NAIA finished with a flurry. Neiss scored a late takedown in the third period, then hot ahold of Lavato’s head, turning him to his back and earning an instant pin.
Neiss’ pin was one of five matches the Lights won by bonus points on the night.
“We had some holes in the lineup tonight,” Northern head coach Tyson Thivierge said. “We sent a couple of guys to Dickinson (Dickinson State Open) because we felt like they needed more matches right now. Jorrell Jones was one of them. But we still felt like we had enough firepower to pull through tonight, and we did. It was a short dual, but we had enough firepower to get through it.”
The Lights did have plenty of firepower. After Northern forfeited the 149-pound slot, junior Mickey Cheff worked his way to a 13-5 major decision over Dixon Richins. Ethan Hinebauch quickly followed that with a 9-0 major over Western’s Hunter Riggs.
Then the Lights really turned up the heat. Leading 8-6, Jared Miller came out aggressive, pinning Austin Beaman in just 2:08. MSU-N senior Kody Reed came right out and backed up Miller’s pin with a first-period pin of his own. Reed was absolutely dominant against Western’s Jorge Alatorre.
The back-to-back pins gave MSU-N a 20-6 lead, and it was one Northern wouldn’t relinquish. Through the entire dual, Western won just match, while earning 18 points by forfeit. Still, as dominant as Northern was, Thivierge felt his team could have wrestled better, and knows they’ll need to wrestle better as the season winds down.
“Even in that stretch where we won all our matches, I thought we didn’t wrestle as well as we’re capable of, or as well as we should be at this point,” Thivierge said. “It’s make-or-break time for us right now, and we’ve got some things to address.
“We’re happy we won tonight,” he continued. “It’s always nice to win duals in your own gym.” “But now we have to go back to work and really get ready for this Wyoming trip, and the duals coming up after it.”
MSU-Northern junior Jared Miller pins Western Wyoming's Austin Beaman to the mat during a 174-pound bout Saturday night at the Armory Gymnasium.
Northern will have a rematch with the Mustangs this Saturday in Rock Springs, Wyo. The Lights also wrestle at NJCAA power Northwest College Friday night in Powell, Wyo.
Lights 38, W.Wyoming 23
(Dual Started at 149)
125 – Arthur Tomax, WW won by FFT; 133 – Brenn Scheiss, WW tech. fall Doug O'Hara, MSU-N, 19-5; 141 – Cameron Neiss, MSU-N pinned Chaz Lavato, WW, 5:14; 149 – Ryan Slaugh, WW won by FFT; 157 – Mickey Cheff, MSU-N maj. dec. Dixon Richins, 13-5; 165 – Ethan Hinebauch, MSU-N maj. dec. Hunter Riggs, WW, 9-0; 174 – Jared Miller, MSU-N pinned Austin Beaman, WW, 2:08; 184 – Kody Reed, MSU-N pinned Jorge Alatorre, WW, 1:37; 197 – Toby Cheff, MSU-N won by FFT; HWT – Open..