One of the brightest spots over the weekend for Northwest came in the performance of 133-pound sophomore Jesse Hillhouse.
On Friday, Hillhouse, the No. 3 wrestler at 133 pounds, earned a 3-1 decision against North Idaho’s Brock Banta. Banta entered the dual as the No. 4 wrestler in the nation at 133. One night later, Hillhouse finished as a 5-2 victor against a 2010 All-Ameircan.
“Jesse had a fantastic weekend,” said Zeigler. “He picked up two wins against two very accomplished wrestlers. Those were two very tough matches that he won.”
Also emerging as double winners for the Trappers over the weekend were Nick Petersen, currently ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in the nation at 184 pounds by the NJCAA, and Bobby Robbins, ranked 11th at 149 pounds and likely to move up when the December rankings are released.
Northwest’s only other win against North Idaho was provided by Sears Tiernan, a 12-5 winner at heavyweight. Against Southwestn Oregon, the Trappers picked up additional wins from Jeremy Luna (141), Timber Holmquist (165) and Keithen Cast (174).
“Keithen had a tough match against North Idaho,” Zeigler said. “He lost 8-5 to a kid that was ranked No. 4 in the nation, so it was a meeting of two very good wrestlers. He wasn’t real happy with the way he wrestled the match and it is definitely a pairing we feel like we can win.”
Cast entered the dual ranked No. 2 nationally at 174 pounds. He bounced back from only his third loss of the season with a 17-2 technical fall win on Saturday.
The loss to North Idaho gives the school a sizeable advantage in its quest to reclaim The Moose — a traveling trophy contested annually by the two school. The award has graced Powell after the Trappers scored a decisive win against North Idaho in last year’s Apodaca Duals.
It will take a repeat of that performance to overcome the 15-point edge North Idaho will carry into that encounter. Northwest was hampered in both of its weekend duals by virtue of being open at 125 pounds.
“Having an open weight class hurts us in duals right now, but a lot of our guys weren’t at their best against North Idaho,” said Zeigler. “We wrestled a little slow, a little bus weary. On the other hand, we won four of the nine matches that were wrestled against North Idaho. It’s just that they were able to pick up some bonus points here and there and we weren’t.”
Northwest breaks for the holidays. The team returns to action on Jan. 8-9 when the Trappers fly to Iowa to take part in the National Duals tournament.