Wrestlers learn lesson in duals

By Gregory Janicki

The NIU wrestling squad took a lot of youth and inexperience to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for dual meets Saturday.

The only thing they got out of the meet was a lesson.

What head coach Ed Vatch called a “positive experience,” most people would call a lopsided contest. The Huskies mustered only eight wins and two draws out of 30 total individual matches. Their only team victory was a 27-8 decision in the final battle against Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“We went into the tournament too relaxed,” said Vatch. “Once it started, we couldn’t find anybody to turn it around for us.”

NIU started out on the right foot against UWSP, jumping out to a 13-0 lead after the first four matches. Stevens Point managed to take the next two matches to cut the lead to only seven.

But the Huskies hung tough and won the last four to seal the victory and avoid coming home empty-handed.

“Our guys did okay,” explained Vatch. “But it was hard to understand how a wrestler could be hot and cold both in the same day.”

The other two duals were disastrous for the Huskies. One was a 37-6 loss to Brown University and the other a 53-0 defeat at the hands of the No. 9-ranked host, Wisconsin-Madison.

“Our wrestlers gave Wisconsin a lot of respect,” said Vatch. “But initially you give a team respect and maybe even over-rate them. Then you realize, ‘hey, they’re not as good as I thought.’ But at that point it’s too late to turn it around.

“What we have to do now is have a serious gut-check and learn from our mistakes to make this past weekend a positive one.”