It may only be a warm up, but there’s always plenty riding on the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team’s annual Maroon/Gold Dual. And there’s always plenty the Lights learned during the scrimmage.
On Wednesday night, inside the wrestling room at the Armory Gymnasium, the Lights learned plenty as the Maroon squad defeated the Gold team 21-18 in a very competitive, and important dual.
“It’s tough to really tell where we’re at because we see each other every day in practice,” Northern head coach Tyson Thivierge said. “But, I saw some things we need to work on. In this dual, you can always find some things to pick on.”
Wednesday night’s dual was pretty evenly matches in spots, and several varsity positions were on the line. But it was a couple of exhibitions which were perhaps the best matches of the night, and ultimately decided the outcome.
After the Maroon squad ripped off three straight wins, including a pin by former Havre star Dillon Seely at 19 pounds, another pin by red-shirt freshman Trevor Goss, who will be the Lights starting 149-pounder, and a win by freshman Tommy Cooper ay 157, the Hinebauch brothers put on a show.
Ethan Hinebauch, who will be the Lights’ 165-pounder and is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA took on younger brother Eli, who is red-shirting this season at 157 pounds, and it was entertaining to say the least. The more experienced Hinebauch wound up racking up several takedowns and near falls early on, and ultimately own the match by a technical fall with the score 18-2. That win pulled the gold team even at 15-15, but at 174 pounds, two rivals battled into triple overtime, and that match was the deciding points.
Jared Miller, who will red-shirt this season, defeated Max Payne 7-5 in sudden death overtime, in what was by far the most competitive match of the night, and Miller’s win gave the Maroon the lead for good. Miller and Payne shared the 174-pound spot last season and both qualified for the national tournament. Despite Wednesday’s loss, Payne will man the 174-pound varsity spot alone this season.
The Maroon tacked on another three points at 197 as a pair of red-shirts battled, with Garrett DeMers defeating Chinook’s Jorrell Jones 2-0. The gold got three points back in the heavyweight match as Travis Williams beat Tucker Erickson 4-0. Erickson will start for the Lights at 275, while Williams will likely red-shirt.
In another important wrestle-off, sophomore Aaron LaForge beat former Blue Pony state champion Duell Stadel 10-4 at 125 pounds. Also, a big matchup took place at 141 pounds as junior Cameron Neiss has moved up from 133 and he took that spot with a 14-8 decision over Hunter Azure, who’s returning from missing most of last season with a knee injury. In another exhibition, freshman Chris Williams got the Gold on the board with a tech. fall over fellow freshman Douglas O’Hara at 133 pounds.
“It’s good that we got this night out of the way,” Thivierge said. “I saw some positives with some of the matches but we have a lot of things we can work on. Our conditioning is not at all where it needs to be, I think we have some work to do with positioning, we need to get much better on bottom, and as a team, we need to take ownership of the circle more. I know we were wrestling each other tonight, but we have to be much more aggressive than we were.
“I know if we wrestle like we did tonight, we’re going to have a tough time with North Idaho on Friday,” he continued. “We’re going to have to be a lot better. But I also think we will be. These guys are hungry to get the season started.”
Northern officially opens its season Friday night at home against the North Idaho Cardinals. The dual will take place in the wrestling room at the Armory Gymnasium.
Maroon 21, Gold 18
125 – Aaron LaForge, M dec. Duell Stadel, G, 10-4; 133 – Chris Williams, G Tech. Fall Douglas O’ Hara, M, 17-2, 2:42; 141 – Cameron Neiss, G dec. Hunter Azure, M dec. 14-8; 149/157 – Dillon Seely, M pinned Joe Barsotti, G, 5:21; 149/157 – Trevor Goss, M pinned Garrett Tennant, G, 2:58; 157 – Tommy Cooper, G dec. Brandon Leliefeld, M, 2-1; 157/165 – Ethan Hinebauch, G Tech. Fall Eli Hinebauch, M, 18-2, 5:36; 174 – Jared Miller, M dec. Max Payne, G, 7-5 in 3OT; 197 – Garrett DeMers, M dec. Jorrell Jones, G, 2-0; HWT – Travis Williams, G dec. Tucker Erickson, M, 4-0.