Two pins propel Huskies past Cougars


Alyssa Queen

NIU redshirt senior Anthony Gibson begins his match at the Beauty and the Beast meet on Feb. 4 against Buffalo’s redshirt senior Michael Petite. (Alyssa Queen | Northern Star)

By Adrien De La Peña, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – Strong performances from the lightweight and middleweight classes helped NIU wrestling (8-5, 5-1) to a 25-12 win over the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Cougars (1-14, 1-7) Sunday. 

Redshirt freshman Blake West started the Huskies off strong at 125 pounds with an 11-3 major decision over SIUE senior Austin Macias. West dominated Macias throughout the whole match with two takedowns.

After defeating No. 8 ranked Northwestern redshirt senior Michael DeAugustino last week, West stayed focused on the mat to come out with a win over Macias.

“The main thing for me is that I have more time, nothing changes after I beat him (DeAugustino),” West said. “It just kind of keeps the goal at the end to winning the MAC title and going to the national championship.”

NIU also logged two falls from redshirt senior Anthony Gibson at 157 pounds and redshirt freshman Hayden Pummel at 174 pounds.

“We got a couple of big falls that turned the tide of the dual,” West said.

Gibson pinned SIUE redshirt freshman Caine Tyus in the first 30 seconds of the match, which put six points on the board to give the Huskies a 13-6 lead in the dual. Pummel pinned SIUE senior Chase Diehl in the first period to give the Huskies another six points.  


At 133 pounds, NIU junior Lucian Brink outlasted SIUE redshirt senior Aaron Schulist in a tight match, stretching to the third period. Brink saw early success, logging four points in the first period. Schulist logged five points in the final two periods, but it was not enough to overtake Brink, who took the match 8-7.

At 141 pounds, SIUE redshirt senior Saul Ervin defeated NIU redshirt junior Jaivon Jones 2-0 in a stagnant match. In the first two periods, neither wrestler logged a point. In the final moments of the third period, Ervin secured two escapes to log two points and earn the win over Jones.

At 157 pounds, NIU graduate student Anthony Cheloni dropped his match against SIUE sophomore Caleb Tyus in a hard fought battle. Tyus controlled Cheloni in the final periods of the match, earning a 2-1 victory for the Cougars.


Two pins and two match wins created a four-match stretch for the Huskies that would ultimately seal the win for the Huskies in the dual against the Cougars.

After Gibson pinned his opponent, NIU redshirt senior Izzak Olejnik defeated SIUE senior Cardi Wilson. Wilson went three periods without logging a point, but Olejnik’s dominance was too much for Wilson. 

Pummel pinned his opponent giving the Huskies a 22-6 match score.

NIU junior Matthew Zuber finished the four-match stretch by logging five points throughout the two final periods of his match against SIUE senior Sergio Villalobos, who could not earn a point. Zuber’s win put the Huskies up 25-6, further cementing the Huskies’ victory. 

Heavyweight NIU redshirt freshman Devonjae Hudson at 197 and redshirt senior Terrese Aaron at 285 dropped their matches against their opponents. 

The Huskies end their regular season at the top of the Western Mid-American Conference division with a 5-1 record, tied with Central Michigan University. 

With 13 days until the Mid-American Conference championship, the Huskies are focused on getting back to work and continuing to sharpen their fundamentals.

“For us right now it’s just about continuing to focus on the foundations of wrestling – the basics that win MAC wrestling matches,” head coach Ryan Ludwig said.

The Mid-American Conference Championships will take place in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 3 and March 4.