Wrestlers back to Mich.

By Paul Keller

NIU’s matmen return to Michigan this weekend to try and prove they are capable of wrestling with the best teams in the country.

The Huskies finished last weekend in sixth place among eight teams at the Michigan State Open. The Huskies will face many of the same teams that they saw at the MSU open this weekend at the Eastern Michigan Open at Ypsilanti.

“No other team placed more guys than us last weekend, but you don’t get any points for third place,” coach Ed Vatch said.

The second-year head coach said he saw a noticeable weakness on the Huskies’ part in last weekend’s tournament.

“We were just giving up too much inside position, and you just cannot do that,” Vatch said.

Sophomore Tino Gonzalez, who had an impressive second-place finish last weekend, seems to have his 126-pound spot back due to freshman Ray Espinosa being injured.

“We might make a strong attempt to red-shirt Ray due to his having lower back problems,” Vatch said. “We don’t want to jeopardize Ray’s career here just so he can win a couple of matches for us this season.”

Vatch said he was impressed with 118-pounder Tony Calderone jumping two weight classes at the last minute to fill a vacant spot.

“Tony made a strong sacrifice to the team jumping two weight classes at the last minute. He’s going against guys a lot heavier, and he still came away with a win in one match,” Vatch said.