Small, Hi-Line towns in Montana are producing some incredible wrestlers. Two Hi-Line athletes who wrestled for high school teams that were 88 miles apart and college teams that were 115 miles apart battled for the NAIA national championship at 184 pounds in a match that couldn't have been much closer.

Montana State-Northern junior Evan Hinebauch of Havre won the match over University of Great Falls senior Michael French of Malta Saturday in what amounted to four overtimes. Hinebauch won the crown by a 5-3 decision in "sudden victory overtime 2" at the NAIA National Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The two have been wrestling against each other for about a decade and Northern coach Tyson Thivierge tells the Great Falls Tribune that their final match included about 10 minutes of wrestling.

French, a senior, had been the No. 1 wrestler all season at 184 pounds and won the season series between the two at 4-2, but it was Hinebauch who won the last two matches, after also besting French at the NAIA western regional championships two weeks ago. Both are three-time All-Americans.

UGF junior Anthony Varnell won the national title at 141 pounds. Great Falls' Ross Mosher beat teammate Noah Hatton 4-2 in the 165 pound title match as the Argos finished fourth in the team standings. Northern was 10th.

Story from the Associated Press

NAIA National Wrestling Championship Matches