As bad as things were early on for the Montana State University-Northern wrestling team in its dual with the Northwest College Trappers, the Lights found themselves needing a single point in the heavyweight finale to win the dual.
Instead, Northwest’s Jade Parsons stopped what would have been a monumental comeback by the Lights dead in its tracks.
Parsons pinned MSU-N freshman heavyweight Tucker Erickson in the final match of the night, giving the Trappers a 29-23 win Thursday night at the Armory Gymnasium.
The dual was tied at 23-23 going into the heavyweight matchup, even after the Lights fell behind 23-0, losing four straight matches and giving up a forfeit at 133 pounds. But Parsons saved the day for the Trappers and left MSU-N head coach Tyson Thivierge very unhappy with his team’s performance.
“Our lighter weights put us in a huge hole,” Thivierge said. “But really, I can’t credit anyone for the way we wrestled tonight. As a team, we just don’t have guys wanting to step up and wrestle right now. As a team, we don’t have that will to win, and tonight was as disappointing as it gets.”
The Trappers ran off wins at 125, 141, 149 and 157 pounds, including victories over nationally ranked Lights like Hunter Azure and Mickey Cheff.
But seemingly out of the dual all together, the Lights stormed back, and their leader got the charge started.
Ethan Hinebauch took less than two minutes to pin Northwest’s Chase Coleman at 165 pounds, and Max Payne followed suit with a 23-8 dismantling of Cole McCarthur at 174. Those two wins left the score at 23-11, and the Lights picked up six more points as Northwest forfeited at 184.
And with the Lights still trailing 23-17, red-shirt freshman Toby Cheff did exactly what he had to do, which was come out aggressive and get a pin. Cheff did just that as he pinned Braden Gibson in under two minutes, bringing the Lights all the way back from a 23-point deficit.
“It was good to see those guys go out and be aggressive and get those points,” Thivierge said. “But the bottom line is, we shouldn’t have to be in a position where we have to have all pins in the late matches just to have a chance. If we wrestle like we’re capable of, it doesn’t need to come down to that.”
Ironically, the dual ended with a pin by Parsons, who turned Erickson to his back and gave the Trappers their second straight win in Montana. Northwest, ranked No. 11 in NJCAA knocked off sixth-ranked UGF on Wednesday night in Great Falls, then upset the 12th-ranked Lights Thursday night.
Northern, now 1-2 in duals this season, will return to tournament action this weekend. The Lights travel to Spokane Sunday for the Northwest Intercollegiate Tournament.
“Just really disappointed in the way we performed tonight,” Thivierge said. “We are going to have to get things figured out, because right now, we’re just not seeing any improvement.”
Almost a comeback
Northwest College 29, Lights 23
125 – Cody Vichi, NW maj. dec. Duell Stadel, MSU-N, 12-4; 133 – T.J. Guild, NW won by FFT.; 141 – Zac Loveless, NW maj. dec. Hunter Azure, MSU-N, 10-1; 149 – Jeff McCormick, NW pinned Trevor Goss, MSU-N, 1:15; 157 – Colton Thornton, NW dec. Mickey Cheff, MSU-N, 7-3; 165 – Ethan Hinebauch, MSU-N pinned Chase Coleman, NW, 1:46; 174 – Max Payne, MSU-N tech. fall. Cole McCarthur, NW, 23-8; 184 – Kody Reed, MSU-N won by FFT; 197 – Toby Cheff, MSU-N pinned Braden Gibson, NW, 1:08; HWT – Jade Parson, NW pinned Tucker Erickson, MSU-N, 1:09.