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Lights add quality matmen

The NAIA wrestling season came to an end over a month ago. But the future is certainly looking good for the Montana State University-Northern Lights and head coach Tyson Thivierge.

Not only did Thivierge announce the signing of Havre High great Eli Hinebauch last week, as well as Chinook two-time state champion Jorrell Jones a few months back, but he's also loaded up on even more talent.

Also joining the Lights

Courtesy Photo

Helena High's Tucker Erickson (left), a two-time Class AA heavyweight state champion has signed an NAIA national letter of intent to wrestle for the Montana State University-Northern Lights starting next fall.

next fall will be Helena High state champion Tucker Erickson, Sidney state champion Allen Neulib, Laurel stand out Tommy Cooper and Oregon state champion Travis Williams.

"So far this recruiting season has been one of the best I have ever had," Thivierge said. "The recent successes of our wrestlers is getting recognized not only on a state level, but as well as all over the Northwest really. We are extremely excited about the remainder of the recruiting season and should know about the results of eight others within the next week or so. I have to give a huge amount of credit to those who have stayed around and worked their tails off to get this programs wheels going again. We have worked extremely hard from top to bottom to get this program moving in the right direction and we continue to add talented recruits whom we feel will help us continue that climb to the top."

Erickson, who was one of the most sought after upper-weight wrestlers in Montana this year, captured a pair of Class AA state titles for Helena High, as well as finishing sixth, and defaulting one other year form state tourney due to injury. He's also a football standout and comes from a great wrestling background, as his older brother wrestled for NCAA Division I Boise State for a time.

Erickson is part of a trio of heavyweights to sign with the Lights. Nuelib, who hails from the great program at Sidney, captured the Class A heavyweight title this past February, and also placed second during his career. He's also joined by Williams, who comes to Northern from Madras, Ore., where he too won a heavyweight state championship, as well as earned a second-place finish at the state tournament.

"Tucker is a big boy and moves extremely well," Thivierge said. "He is not a tall heavyweight, but that isn't how he sees it. He feels as if he is one of the truest heavyweights out there and that is one of the characteristics that we really liked in him. He is all of 260lbs and moves like a 197. When he won state as a sophomore in the heavyweight division, which is a difficult task for any 15-16 year old, we knew he was going to be a force. Tucker's older brother Toby wrestled for Boise State and is now in Michigan training in Greco Roman. So this family has some well-rounded and talented prospects.

"Travis comes to us from fellow Northern Alumni Ron Oliver. Ron contacted us a couple of years ago about this big, strong, mean and stubborn kid he is coaching. After meeting Travis and seeing his film, we really thought this kid has a great future here at MSU-N. He took second as a junior and won a state championship his senior season at 220 pounds. He is currently at 235 and getting bigger and stronger. He fits the mold with how we like to wrestle. He is aggressive, keeps his feet moving and does not like to lose. He is another recruit that can make a huge impact for us next season," Thivierge added. "Allen is another big boy and a really solid recruit. He grinds on his opponents and does not like losing. Allen too was a state runner-up as a junior before capping off his senior year with a state championship. Looking at Allen from far away you wouldn't think this kid is too athletic, but once you see him move and get going, he is very athletic (also a very nice kid). Allen is one of those guys you aren't going to have to try hard to motivate, he just works hard and gets the job done."

Cooper comes to Havre from the ultra-successful Laurel Locomotives. He has finished second at the Class A state tourney the last two years, finishing second at 140 pounds in 2011, and second to Hinebauch at 152 this past February. Cooper helped Laurel to the 2011 state team title and a runner-up finish this past season under former Northern wrestler Ted Hill.

"Tommy is a hard working and tough kid," Thivierge said. "We couldn't be more excited to have him sign along with Eli. These two had a great finals match and it will be exciting to see them work together and push each other over the years.

"With the current additions to the Lights wrestling team, I am very excited to see what else we do recruiting," he added. "We are bringing in talent that we feel can help us ultimately win that next national championship."


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