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Raiders stop an MSU-Northern comeback

Southern Oregon completes the Montana sweep with a close win over the Lights


January 5, 2018

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Chase Short, top, pins Southern Oregon's Max Hane in their 184-pound match Thursday night in the Armory Gymnasium. Short, a true freshman, normally wrestles at 174 pounds.

The Montana State University-Northern Lights were in a big hole late in their most recent Cascade Conference home dual. And while the Lights couldn't climb all the way back against the Southern Oregon Raiders, they sure made things interesting.

Thursday night inside the Armory Gymnasium, the No. 10 Lights, without star 157-pounder Brandon Weber, fell to the No. 13 Raiders 26-15. But going into the final match of the night, the Lights had a chance to win the dual, thanks to an impressive showing by true freshman Chase Short.

"Chase Short pulled us out of that hole," MSU-N head coach Tyson Thivierge said. "He wrestled a great match, bumping up a weight, and that's really impressive."

The Lights were down 17-3 early on, before Andrew Bartel picked up a 6-2 decision at 165 pounds, and Chris Nile got a 9-5 win at 174. Still, Northern was slated to forfeit the heavyweight spot, so, with the rally on, Thivierge decided to move Short up to 184, Steeler French up to 197 and Isaac Bartel up to heavyweight, where he would still be matched up with third-ranked 197-pounder Tanner Fischer.

But for any of the moves to matter, Short needed a victory, and he did so against a much-bigger Max Hane. Despite giving up weight and height, Short, a former Great Falls High star, took a 6-5 lead into the second period, and then held on for a 10-10 tie after two. In the third, Short's aggressiveness paid off, as he got Hane on his back for Northern's only bonus points of the night, a win by fall.

The win ignited the Northern crowd, in what was MSU-N's second home dual of the season. And for a time, the excitement continued as French, ranked 15th at 184, gave a much-larger Alejandro Sandoval all he could handle, until Sandoval scored an escape in the second overtime period.

And while French couldn't quite get the win, the Lights had a chance to win the dual, as Isaac Bartel, ranked fifth at 197, and Fischer, ranked third, squared off in the final match of the night. It was a marquee showdown, but Fischer was the aggressor from the start, and he pinned Bartel before the first period ended.

"You just can't go to your back there," Thivierge said. "Sure, we had a lot of guys bump up, and it's tough to do that against a team like Southern Oregon. But, in my opinion, we didn't wrestle very well tonight across the board. We left so many points out there tonight. Southern Oregon didn't come here to lay down for us. They came to Montana and punched both us and Providence right in the face, and we didn't respond to it well enough."

The Lights did in fact leave a lot on the mat Thursday night.

The dual started with freshman Nick Kunz building a 9-2 lead on SOU's Trey Long, only to see it evaporate, in what turned into a 16-9 loss. Landon Bailey got the Lights back on the board with a win over former Bozeman star Kale Evenson at 133 pounds, before Matt Weber couldn't quite get over the hump against arch rival Devon Poppen. Poppen, ranked fourth, and Weber, ranked seventh, went toe-to-toe for the fourth time this season, with Poppen coming out on top 4-2 in a hard-fought match. SOU followed that up with a win by technical fall at 149, and Hunter Hodges' forfeit win at 157, as the Lights fell into a 17-3 hole.

"We were in that hole because of some things that happened in those lower weights," Thivierge said. "Nick Kunz has a major in the second period, and doesn't score another point. Dylan Veis, I know he's wrestling up a weight for us, but, he's got to be better than that. We had chances to get at least majors at 165 and 174, too, I felt, but we didn't finish those matches the way we should have either. That's one thing we've got to do is finish matches.

"It's frustrating," he continued. "Because we're a better team than that. Obviously, some guys did some good things. Matt (Weber), those guys are 2-2 against each other, they're so even. Landon Bailey got us going at 133, and Chase Short had a great match. But overall, I know we can wrestle a lot better than we did tonight."

Colin Thompson

MSU-N's Andrew Bartel, left, takes down SOU's Tanner Canaday during their 165-pound bout Thursday night in the Armory.

Northern will get the chance to wrestle better pretty quickly. Next Friday, the Lights will wrestle at the Dickinson State Duals, followed by the Tyler Plummer Classic next Saturday in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Southern Oregon 26, Lights 15

125 — Trey Long, SOU dec. Nick Kunz, MSU-N, 16-9; 133 — Landon Bailey, MSU-N dec. Kale Evenson, SOU, 7-0; 141 — Devon Poppen, SOU dec. Matt Weber, MSU-N, 4-2; 149 — Chandler Michael, SOU tech. fall Dylan Veis, MSU-N, 19-4; 157 — Hunter Hodges, SOUY won by FFT; 165 — Andrew Bartel, MSU-N dec. Tanner Canaday, SOU, 6-2; 174 — Chris Nile, MSU-N dec. C.J. McKinnis, SOU, 9-5; 184 — Chase Short, MSU-N pinned Max Hane, SOU, 5:12; 197 — Alejandro Sandival, SOU dec. Steeler French, MSU-N, 7-6 in 2OT; HWT — Tanner Fischer, SOU pinned Isaac Bartel, MSU-N, 2:12.


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