Competition will be fierce at annual Maroon-Gold intrasquad dual
For people not familiar with amateur wrestling, it's a pride thing. To be able to say you're the best wrestler on your team in your weight class commands a little respect from your teammates and others.
Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach David Ray understands that mentality and knows how intense the competition for a varsity spot can be. That is why he lets the public get to see first hand.
The Lights will hold their annual Maroon-Gold intrasquad duals this weekend with the first dual taking place today at 5 p.m. at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
These duals aren't scrimmages - a scrimmage is a practice. This is a competition for a spot and the right to say they're the best wrestler in their weight class.
"These duals will determine who will wrestle in the dual against Huron University," Ray said. "There are five matches that really could go either way. But all the matches should be very good."
Indeed, with several new faces, Ray is very interested in seeing how his team competes, how they get themselves prepared and how they do in every possible situation in a match.
"These are things that you don't get to see in the practice room," Ray said. "You need to see them in match situations and this weekend I'll get to see them in two seven-minute matches. It's great preparation."
At 125 pounds, newcomers Usman Khan and Michael Harrington will square off. Harrington has shown promise early in the season, but his eligibility is still up in the air. Harrington recently took the ACT and could be eligible when the results come in. Ray said he may still redshirt Harrington, though.
Returning national tournament placer Caleb Schaeffer will take on Dan Shaw at 133 pounds. Shaw, who normally wrestles at 141, will not drop weight, but should give Schaeffer a decent match.
The match at 141 pounds has Ray particularly interested. The two wrestlers Jacob Scoles and Chris Smith have been very solid early in the season and are both technically efficient wrestlers.
"This is going to be an exciting match," Ray said. "People might not know who they are since they redshirted last season, but they will after this match."
The 149-pound match should also be hotly contested as Lance Nelson and Anthony Haukenberry, both national tournament participants, will square off.
At 157 pounds, junior college transfer Stryder Davis will face Dale Seley. Davis has been very good early in the season and Ray is expecting him to continue to wrestle well.
Aaron Jensen and newcomer Tyson Springer will hook up in the 165-pound match. Jensen qualified for the national tournament last year while Springer is a talented transfer from North Idaho College.
The 174-pound match will feature a pair of redshirts in Dave Waters and Luke Heuberger, which should also be a fairly even matchup.
Ray will also be watching the match at 184 pounds closely. National tournament runner-up Kyle Fisher has moved up a weight and will face Golden West College transfer Jesse Juarez. Ray had planned to redshirt Juarez this season, but has changed is mind with plans to take both Fisher and Juarez to this year's national tournament.
At 197 pounds, defending national champion Emmett Willson will matchup with Arizona State transfer Mazi Burke. Ray would like to use whoever loses the match at heavyweight.
"Both Emmett and Mazi can win the national title at heavyweight,," Ray said. "I just have to convince one of them to move up."
The match at heavyweight will feature newcomer Chase Gormley facing defending national champ Matt Carter. The two hooked up in the alumni duals in a spirited match with Gormley picking up a win. Although Carter is out of eligibility, Ray will have him wrestle Gormley to fill out the matches.
It doesn't appear that the talented Gormley will be eligible to compete this year and will instead redshirt.
Besides the opportunity for match experience and some intense competition, Ray also hopes the fans will use the opportunity to see this year's team.
"The fans are going to get to see some good matches and see our team and how much depth and talent we have," Ray said.
Northern will take the second intrasquad dual on the road to Willson's hometown of Shepherd on Saturday with it starting at 7 p.m.
WT GOLD MAROON
125 Usman Khan, Fr Jason Harrington, Fr
133 Dan Shaw, Jr Caleb Schaeffer, Sr
141 Chris Smith, Fr Jacob Scoles, Fr 149 Anthony Haukenberry, So Lance Nelson, So
157 Dale Seley, Fr Stryder Davis, Jr
165 Aaron Jensen, So Tyson Springer, Jr
174 Luke Heuberger, Fr David Waters, Fr
184 Kyle Fisher, Sr Jesse Juarez, Jr
197 Mazi Burke, So Emmett Willson, Sr
HWT Chase Gormley, Jr Matt Carter, graduated