Huskies go 2-0 in weekend wrestling meets

Huskies go 2-0 in weekend wrestling meets

By Marcel Carrasco

DeKALB — Two road victories over the weekend helped wrestling improve to an 8-9 record after defeating Kent State University 22-13 Friday and Cleveland State University 26-7 Saturday.

Friday’s victory over the Golden Eagles saw the Huskies earn their second Mid-American Conference win of the season while their final non-conference victory over the Vikings allowed the Huskies to finish with an out-of-conference record of 6-5.

NIU has delivered a winning non-conference record for the fourth time in five years.

Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said he was impressed with the way the team started its individual bouts and showed mental toughness throughout the weekend.

“The mentality preached in the room is to stay in the present and continue to improve position and score,” Ludwig said. “We saw more of that this weekend; however, it needs to continue to build while minimizing mistakes, so we can be at our peak.”

Now 17 matches into the season, the Huskies have eclipsed last year’s win-tally. Ludwig said he is pleased with the way his team has performed.

“This group is very hardworking and persistent,” Ludwig said. “Our team does have a lot of youth, but age doesn’t matter, and every guy is hungry to make his mark.”

Across both matches, six wrestlers went undefeated, including redshirt first-year Brit Wilson, redshirt sophomore Kenny Moore and redshirt senior Alijah Jeffery. All three Huskies rank in the top three in victories in that order.

v. Kent State

In their last five visits to Kent, the Huskies have won two matches.

NIU jumped out to a strong 19-0 lead after winning the initial six duals.

The Golden Eagles bounced back with three consecutive victories to close out the heavyweights before redshirt first-year Bryce West added a last-match victory for the Huskies in the 125-weight class.

Jeffery was first to hit the mats for NIU, facing junior Tim Rooney in the 133-weight class. The Huskie took a 2-1 lead into the third period when Jeffery showcased his experience, resulting in a decision 5-1 victory.

Redshirt first-year Drew West followed suit with a victory over sophomore Cory Simpson. Drew trailed 1-0 through two periods before coming back in the third to finish 3-1.

Redshirt junior McCoy Kent muscled his way to a 11-2 major decision victory, his first major-decision victory of the season. Kent faced redshirt first-year Kody Komara in the 149-weight class.

After losing his last four matches, redshirt first-year Mason Kauffman snapped his losing streak with a victory against sophomore Richard Jackson. Kauffman took a 3-0 lead into the third and never lost a step as he outworked Jackson in a 10-4 decision victory.

Moore and Wilson kept things going for the Huskies with two more victories. Moore defeated fifth-year senior Isaac Bast in a 3-1 decision, while Wilson took care of sophomore Kade Byland 9-4 in the 174-weightclass.

Redshirt first-year Will Feldkamp was the first to fall for the Huskies; he was defeated by Andrew McNally in a 3-13 major decision. Redshirt-sophomore Max Ihry battled his way into overtime but fell short, losing 7-3 to junior Shane Mast.

NIU’s final defeat came when redshirt junior Caleb Gossett was pinned by redshirt first-year Spence Berthold with 55 seconds on the clock.

Bryce rounded out the dual with an exclamation victory. He trailed heading into the third before turning things around to beat sophomore Jake Ferry 4-3.

v. Cleveland State

The Huskies are 9-1 in matches when winning the first bout, including Saturday’s victory over Cleveland State.

NIU now holds a 2-1 lead in head-to-head matches against the Vikings in its last three meetings. The Huskies held Cleveland State to their lowest score in the series.

Bryce had the shortest rest time as he kicked things off for NIU. West went neck-to-neck in the third period against redshirt sophomore Cameron Latherm, but the Huskie powered through to a 11-8 victory.

Jeffery followed with a 5-3 victory. The Huskie trailed into the third but managed to make a comeback against redshirt senior Armando Torres.

With the score 6-0 in favor of the Huskies, The Vikings pulled one back when Drew fell to senior Sam Matzek in a 4-14 major decision loss.

Only a two points separated the score when Kent won the first of five consecutive bouts for the Huskies. Kent faced redshirt first-year Brady Barnett in a 10-2 major decision victory.

Kauffman added a second win to his weekend tally. The grappler took on redshirt sophomore Nico O’Dor defeating the Viking 5-3.

Trailing going into the third period, Moore was able to come from behind against redshirt-sophomore Ryan Ford in a 3-1 victory for the Huskie.

Wilson faced first-year Dimitri Williams in a 12-2 major decision victory, tied for his fourth highest score this year.

Feldkamp  attempted to bounce back from Friday’s loss. The Huskie played catch up throughout the bout before squeezing out a narrow 6-4 victory against Chris Morrow.

Gossett closed out the match defeating junior Collin Kelly, 14-6 after an 8-5 loss from Ihry against first-year Ben Smith. This is Ihry’s ninth consecutive loss on the year.

NIU is one victory away from finishing the season with nine wins, a would-be team best since the 2014-15 campaign.

The Huskies are in position to do so as they will face the University of Buffalo in their last match of the season. Face off is set for 1 p.m. Friday in Buffalo’s Alumni Arena.