Matmen hope fans, athletic dept. pay attention

By Eric Burt

Huskie wrestling coach Ed Vatch is hoping that a pair of victories this weekend will open the eyes of the athletic administration.

“It’s been kind of hard to get attention,” said Vatch, who has stated his desire for more scholarships. “Hopefully, we’ll get them (the adminstration) interested by winning.”

Vatch’s wrestlers enter this weekend’s matches against Northern Iowa (tonight, 7 p.m.) and Southwest Missouri State (Saturday, 1 p.m.) with a 12-2 record. The squad is looking for a pair of victories to help place them in the national rakings. They are also looking for a big an turnout at the meets.

“The fans will be our 11th man, like the fans are the sixth man in basketball,” 134-pounder Tino Gonzalez said.

“Last year we were at Northern Iowa, and they had the bleachers packed,” said 177-pounder Joe Madonia. “It helped them a lot and hurt us. (The Huskies were beaten 44-5) We’re hoping we can do that to them this year.”

Northern Iowa (5-5) has heavyweight Joel Greenlee who is ranked No. 2 in the nation with a record of 29-0-0. UNI’s 177-pounder Rich Powers stands at No. 19 nationally with a record of 15-5-1.

SW Missouri State (5-6) faced the Huskies once already this season at the ISU Redbird Invitational. NIU prevailed 20-16.

“We want to see a lot of people this weekend,” 190-pounder Anton Kossakowski said. “That could really help us turn the corner for a national raking.”

Some of the other Huskie wrestlers get a positive reaction from the fans as well.

“I’ve talked to some people who have never been to a wrestling meet,” Modonia said. “You really have to be a part of the match to enjoy it. If people can spread the word and get some people in the stands, it will really help us.”

“We’ve been gone so long, it’ll be nice to be home,” said 167-pounder Ted Anderson. “When we traveled, there really weren’t too many fans. Everyone loves having fans in the stands. It really helps.”

“I’ve got the No. 2 guy in the nation (Greenlee),” said heavyweight Mark Keuhl, who wrestles last and, often, to decide which team will win the meet. “When it comes down to the last match, the fans really get pumped and that helps me.”