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Lights pin Knights, literally


November 22, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern senior Rob Pair, top, works his way to a pin in his 125-pound match against Warner Pacific Thursday night in the Armory Gymnasium. Pair was one of four Lights to win by fall in the dual.

After Thursday night's dual against Warner Pacific, the Montana State University-Northern Lights weren't going to be back in the Armory Gymnasium until February. But, thanks to a wild night of pins, the Lights didn't give fans much time to see them.

In a Cascade Conference showdown Thursday night, the No. 18 Lights had four pins on their way to a 39-16 win over the Knights, who also won a match by fall, in a dual that took less than an hour. With the win, MSU-N improved to 2-1 in conference duals, and while he admits, the match was entertaining, veteran MSU-N head coach Tyson Thivierge also said his team made plenty of mistakes that will need to be corrected moving forward.

"We like all the bonus points," Thivierge said. "It makes for a fun night. But, we made so many mistakes out there tonight, and we just have no consistency in our lineup. We go out and get a pin, then give up a major, then go get a pin and give up a pin. Honestly, this might be one of the first times I'm not happy after a win."

Thivierge was referencing the back-and-forth start to Thursday's dual.

To start, 11th-ranked Rob Pair came out and gave the Lights a quick lead with a second-period pin of Kaleo Gambala. However, senior Landon Bailey dropped a major decision to Austin Wallace-Lister at 133 pounds, and the Lights led just 6-4. Sophomore Clayton Currier, ranked 14th, quickly got the Lights back on track, needing just :32 to pin Aaron Vang at 141 pounds, but Warner's Lucas Higginbotham halted the momentum with a pin over Northern freshman Lane Paulson at 149 pounds.

"We have got to have more consistency throughout our lineup," Thivierge said. "If we want to be a contender, or even a Top 10 team this season, we've got to be more consistent than we've been so far."

The Lights did get more consistent down the stretch of Thursday night's dual. True freshman Caden Hilliard threw Zachery Sias to the mat and stuck him in just :23 to give the Lights an 18-10 lead, but, with Northern open at 165, the Lights led just 18-16 heading into Chase Short's bout at 174 pounds.

And Short delivered. In the first period, he built up a commanding 11-1 lead over Edward Schmelzer, but, he wasn't done. Early in the second stanza, he put Schmelzer on his back for Northern's fourth pin of the dual. And with Warner Pacific open at both 184 and 197, Short's victory sealed the dual for the Lights, with Rylan Moldenhauer adding to the total with a 6-0 decision at heavyweight.

With so many pins, the dual took less than an hour, and many of Thivierge's Lights wrestled aggressive and well. But again, he wants to see more from his young team moving forward, starting with Northern's trip to the Spokane Open Sunday.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

MSU-N's Rylan Moldenhauer grapples in the heavyweight match of Thursday night's Cascade Dual in Havre.

"I liked the bonus points, I liked the pins," Thivierge said. "But that excitement turns into a bit of a nightmare when we do what we did tonight. So, we've just got to get more consistent. We've just got to keep getting better."

The Lights won't be back in the Armory until a dual with Northwest College Feb. 7.

Lights 39, Warner Pacific 16

125 - Rob Pair, MSU-N pinned Kaleo Gambala, WP, 4:38; 133 - Austin Wallace-Lister, WP maj. dec. Landon Bailey, MSU-N, 16-7; 141 - Clayton Currier, MSU-N pinned Aaron Vang, WP, :32; 149 - Lucas Higginbotham, WP pinned Lane Paulson, MSU-N, 4:28: 157 - Caden Hiliard, MSU-N pinned Zachery Sias, WP, :23: 165 - Colby Winnett, WP won by FFT; 174 - Chase Short, MSU-N pinned Edward Schmelzer. WP, 3:22; 184 - Carl Hansen, MSU-N won by FFT; 197 - Isaac Bartel, MSU-N won by FFT; HWT - Rylan Moldenhauer, MSU-N dec. Juan Vallejo, WP, 6-0.


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