The wrestling team wins its first duals in home opener against Bucknell


By James Krause

DeKALB — A pinfall victory by redshirt sophomore Brit Wilson Friday helped seal the wrestling team’s 24-10 victory over Bucknell University.

Wilson put the win out of Bucknell’s reach with the only fall of the night, at 1:01 in the third round over Bison senior Brandon Stokes at the 184-weight class.

Huskie redshirt junior Max Ihry wrapped the Bucknell dual with a 7-1 decision win at 285 pounds over junior Nate Feyrer, while redshirt first-year Gage Braun hung with Bucknell senior Drew Phipps, a former 197 pound NCAA qualifier, in a 4-1 decision loss. 

Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said toughness was a recurring theme in many contests, and [the Huskies] stepped up to show theirs.

“[Bucknell] came out to fight and it was gritty, tough wrestling,” Ludwig said. “They’re a tough team, but I was proud of our guys for battling through situations and finding a way to win in those tight, close matches.”

NIU redshirt senior Kenny Moore picked up an overtime 4-2 decision win at 174 pounds over junior Frankie Guida Jr. in a great defensive match. 

Moore, who came out of the match with a swollen right eye, said his matches are getting tougher with his opponents trying to counter his normal explosive style.

“A lot of guys have done their homework on me,” Moore said. “They know I’m explosive, so a lot of guys like to put their hand down to block my shots, and I have to work with their style. I just need to work on my attacking more, so I can come up with more points. 

Redshirt first-year Caleb Brooks would have sent his match to an overtime period had he controlled Bucknell sophomore Noah Levett for seven more seconds to earn a riding point. Instead, Brooks took an 11-10 decision loss after several official stoppages due to dangerous holds.

Huskie redshirt sophomore brothers Bryce West and Drew West won the opening contests of the night by 6-1 and 7-5 decisions with redshirt senior Kent McCoy and redshirt sophomore Mason Kauffman winning their matches by narrow decisions of 9-7 and 8-6. 

Redshirt senior Caden McWhirter fell to sophomore Zach Hartman at 165 pounds in the only major decision of the night, losing 15-7.

NIU will return to the Convocation Center on Sunday when they host Harper College and Rider University as part of the Huskie Duals.

The Huskies start noon against Harper.