Havre Daily News sports editor
Montana State University-Northern wrestling coach Dan Troupe's first season at the helm of the highly-successful Lights' program didn't go exactly how he had hoped.
The Lights struggled through a difficult regular season and finished out of the top 10 at the NAIA national tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, in March.
But over the last several weeks, Troupe has taken some big steps in order to secure a successful future at MSU-N by signing some outstanding high school recruits as well as bringing in several quality transfers.
“We're really excited about this recruiting class,” Troupe said. “We feel like we went out and got some really talented kids, and I think the whole group could really have an impact on this program in the future.”
By weight class, Troupe started his recruiting season off with a bang by bringing in former Iowa State Cyclone and Billings Skyview standout Ty Malia. Malia was a four-time Class AA state champion in Montana and will have one and a half years of wrestling eligibility remaining at MSU-N.
Troupe also inked Havre High senior Mike Hipple who enjoyed tremendous success for the Blue Ponies in his junior and senior seasons. Hipple captured the 2005 Class A state title at 135 pounds and finished fourth at 119 in 2006. Added to that group will be Glendive star Joe Carlson, who won the 2006 Class A state title at 125 pounds and finished third at that weight in 2005.
Troupe also tapped into the ultra-successful Sidney wrestling program for a pair of highly-touted seniors. Byron Kuylen will likely wrestle at 141 pounds for the Lights. Kuylen is a three-time Class A state champion and was part of what is now four consecutive team titles for the Sidney Eagles and head coach Guy Melby. Kuylen's most recent accomplishment was finishing second at the 2006 National High School Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. Kuylen's teammate Derek Fritz will also join MSU-N's program next fall. Fritz is a two-time state champion in Class A and placed all four years of his high school career. Joining Kuylen at 141 will be Libby standout Seth Cummings, who is a four-time placer at the Class A state tourney.
The Lights also inked a pair of outstanding high school wrestlers from the state of Alaska in Gilbert McIntyre of Bethel, Alaska, and Jesse Kueber of Unalaska, Alaska. McIntrye won state titles in both his sophomore and senior seasons and plans on competing at 133 pounds. Kueber will wrestle at 149 pounds. Continuing the Alaska assault on Havre will be North Idaho College transfer Jack Carney, who will also wrestle at 149 pounds. Carney is originally from Sleetmute, Alaska. At North Idaho this past year, he was 8-1 before his season ended with a knee injury.
Randy Nelson of Post Falls, Idaho, will transfer to MSU-N by way of Western Wyoming Community College. Troupe also inked University of Great Falls transfer Tryrell Harris of American Falls, Idaho. Harris will wrestle at 165 pounds.
Rounding out the Lights' recruiting class is Jan Bromme of Trebbin, Germany, and former MSU-N All-American David Waters. Bromme was a three-time placer at junior nationals, while Waters placed eighth at the 2004 NAIA national tournament.
“I think this class is a really good mix of young guys and guys like Ty Malia, who have a lot of experience on the mat,” Troupe said. “This is a big class and we signed a lot of guys and we're excited about all of them joining our program.”
The Lights will begin their 2006-07 wrestling campaign in October.