Huskies sit in sixth place after day one of MAC Tournament

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Marcel Carrasco

The Huskies sit in sixth-place after the first day of the 2019 Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships. NIU completed a strong showing with a team score of 71.0, only one point lower than at the same mark in last years championships.

The Huskies showcased their young talent led by redshirt first-year Brit Wilson. Wilson is the only Huskie in first-place title contention. He will face redshirt senior Daniel Lewis from the University of Missouri at the 174-weight class.

The second day of the championships will be crucial for NIU as six grapplers are in position to battle for a third-place finish after a qualifying match. Three Huskies will grapple in seventh-place bouts.

Along with Wilson, redshirt first-year Bryce West and redshirt junior Caleb Gossett were the only other Huskies to win their first-round bout. West and Gossett went on to lose in the second round but immediately earned a spot in a third-place qualifying match.

West pinned redshirt junior Shakur Laney from Ohio University before falling to sophomore Drew Hildebrandt from Central Michigan University. West will first have to get past redshirt senior Kyle Akins from the University of Buffalo in order to reach the third-place match at the 125-weight class.

Gossett took a major-decision victory over redshirt sophomore William Hillard from Old Dominion University before being pinned by sophomore Matt Stencel from Central Michigan University. Gossett is set to face redshirt senior Jake Gunning from Buffalo before a chance at the third-place title.

Although only three Huskies took a victory in the first round of the championships, four went on to bounce back in the second round with crucial victories to keep NIU close to current fourth-place CMU and fifth-place Ohio.

Redshirt senior Alijah Jeffery bounced back from a first-round loss to junior Tim Rooney from Kent State University with a pin victory over first-year Austin Macias from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Jeffery will face redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen from Ohio in the 133-weight class third-place qualifier.

Related: Comeback falls short as the Huskies drop final regular season match

Redshirt-junior McCoy Kent rallied from a decision loss in the first-round to redshirt junior Tyshawn Williams from SIUE with a pin victory over senior Jason Esteves from Buffalo. Kent will hit the mats first against redshirt-first year Alec Hagen from Ohio before a chance at the third-place title.

At the 184-weight class redshirt first-year Will Feldkamp will face junior Antonio Agee from Old Dominion in the third-place qualifier after taking a tough first round loss to senior Jordan Atienza from CMU and a second-round pin victory against redshirt sophomore Logan Rill.

Redshirt sophomore Max Ihry will be in charge of taking on senior Christian Dulaney for a third-place bout contendership in the 197-weight class. Ihry’s day included a first round decision loss to redshirt sophomore Wyatt Koelling from Missouri before a second-round decision victory over sophomore Landon Pelham from CMU.

Redshirt first-years Mason Kauffman and Drew West along and redshirt sophomore Kenny Moore will each battle for a seventh place finish in their respected weight-classes after losing their first-round and second-round bouts.

Day one saw Missouri lead in first-place with 127.5 points followed by Buffalo with 94.5, Old Dominion’s 92.5, CMU in fourth with 82.5. Ohio sits in fifth with 76.0, NIU in sixth with 71.0, SIUE with 59.5 in seventh place and Kent State rounding the table with 56.5 in eighth place.

The Huskies are in position to best their performance from last year after falling behind on day two of the 2018 championships when they finished last with 78.0 points.

Day two of the MAC Championships is set to begin 11 a.m. Saturday in Norfolk.