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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Wrestling owns East tiebreaker, garners first road victory

Scott Walstrom
Redshirt sophomore Blake West pins his Kent State University opponent on Dec. 19. West recorded his 20th victory of the 2023-2024 season on Saturday against Cleveland State University. (Scott Walstrom | Courtesy of NIU Athletics)

A belated rejuvenation by Cleveland State University (3-7, 1-2 MAC) came up short as NIU wrestling (9-2, 3-1 MAC) clinched its inaugural road victory of the spring season on Friday. The Huskies now hold sole possession of the top spot in the MAC West. 

Redshirt sophomore Blake West expunged redshirt sophomore Ben Aranda in a 17-1 technical fall to record his 20th victory of the season. West remains undefeated in dual meet competitions at 11-0. 

“I think this week is kind of one of those turning point weeks,” West said. “First time I can really get into my offense and feel confident scoring points and putting points up on the board.” 

Redshirt senior Jaivon Jones tacked on six points to NIU’s early advantage after registering a fall over redshirt sophomore Douglas Terry at the three-minute and 30-second mark of the match.

“I think I was able to get him to positions that made him uncomfortable where I feel very comfortable scoring points,” Jones said. “Just kind of trying to build on this biggest thing is just to keep getting better, day in and day out.”

Freshman Sean Carroll squared off against redshirt senior Benjamin Smith, who ranks 27th in TCWR’s 197-pound weight class. The trail was closely contested through three periods before Smith pinned Carroll in the waning moments of the final minute.

“Sean Carroll wrestled a highly competitive match against a nationally ranked opponent,” said NIU wrestling head coach Ryan Ludwig. “It was a fall, but it was at the end of the match and he was in it to win that match up to that point.”

Redshirt sophomore and Intermat’s 31st ranked heavyweight Jacobi Jackson locked horns with fellow ranked redshirt junior Daniel Bucknavich in a battle of nationally ranked juggernauts. Bucknavich edged Jackson in a 2-1 decision. 


The Huskies seek to continue their flawless home record at 1 p.m. Jan 27 against Central Michigan University. A live stream will be available via NIU All-Access and live stats can be tracked via Track wrestling.

“We love when our fans come out to support us, so we’re really looking forward to just a really tough dual with a lot of MAC implications against Central Michigan at home next week,” Ludwig said. 

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