Wrestling sends two to NCAA Tournament

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Wrestling sends two to NCAA Tournament

Marcel Carrasco

Two Huskie grapplers will be tasked in representing NIU at the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships.

After great performances in the Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships, first-years Brit Wilson and Bryce West will compete alongside the top collegiate wrestlers in the nation.

Wilson finished in second place, losing to redshirt-senior Daniel Lewis in the 174-weight class. West took third in the 125-weight class after beating out redshirt-first-year Dack Punke, both from the University of Missouri.

West, ranked 30, will be tasked with trying to knock off no. 3 sophomore Spencer Lee from University of Iowa. Lee is the returning NCAA Champion from the 125-weight class while West participates in his first national tournament with a chance to make his mark against the returning national champion.

In his first year as a starter, West finished his rookie year with a 15-14 record while Lee put up an impressive 18-3.

The two wrestlers faced each other during the season on Dec. 29 at the Midland Championships in Hoffman Estates. The Iowa Hawkeye took the first bout over West in a 17-0 technical pin.

In the 174-weight class, Wilson is set to battle redshirt-sophomore Spencer Carey from the Naval Academy in the first round. Carey finished the year at 24-14 while Wilson put up a 25-5 record, a team best for this season. The Huskie is ranked no. 13 while Carey earned the no. 20 spot.

Wilson and Carey faced six common opponents this year, both of whom went 5-1. Both grapplers dropped their only matching loss to redshirt-junior Taylor Lujan from University of Northern Iowa.

With the two grapplers heading to this year’s championships, NIU will send a representative to nationals again, extending their streak to 48 years.

The championships will be a three-day showcase starting 11 a.m. Thursday through Saturday in PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.