Huskies compete in the Beauty and the Beast meet

Marcel Carrasco

NIU hosted its 2019 Beauty and Beast competition Sunday when the wrestling and gymnastics teams competed simultaneously at the Convocation Center. The wrestling team faced the Ohio University Bobcats in its fifth Mid-American Conference match, while the gymnastics team hosted the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames and Bowling Green State University Falcons.

The wrestling team wrapped up its home campaign this season with an 18-21 overtime loss Sunday against the Ohio University Bobcats while gymnastics finished second with a final score of 194.800.  

 The first Beauty and the Beast competition was hosted in 2012 when the wrestling team faced Lock Haven University and gymnastics took on the UIC Flames. The wrestling team took care of the Lock Haven Bald Eagles in a 22-16 win while the gymnastics team fell to the Flames 188.350 to 191.575 in what was its their season opener.

That same year, wrestling Head Coach Ryan Ludwig was midway through his first season at the helm, while gymnastics had just hired current Head Coach Sam Morreale.  

  

Wrestling

 The Bobcats were first on the scoreboard, but NIU went on to win the following five of six matches, including back-to-back pin victories. The Huskies held an 18-6 lead heading into the lightweight matchups, but a streak of four losses saw NIU fall in a sudden-death last matchup.

 “I’m really happy in the effort and the fight in our guys,” Ludwig said. “For [first-year] Brit [Wilson] and [first-year] Will [Feldkamp] to come out to get bonus points right away to set the tone, that was awesome.”

 Redshirt first-year Mason Kauffman, wrestling at 157, hit the mats first, facing redshirt junior Zac Carson. Kauffman kept up with Carson through two periods, before Carson pulled away in the third period to hand the Bobcats a win.

 The Huskies equalized when redshirt sophomore Kenny Moore earned a hard-fought 7-1 sudden victory in overtime against first-year Colt Yinger.

 With the dual tied, NIU went on to take two huge victories when redshirt Wilson and Feldkamp put up back-to-back wins with dominant pins against redshirt sophomore Ben Schneider and redshirt senior Arsen Ashuygan. Feldkamp’s dominant win showcased his power when he wrapped up his dual in 49 seconds.

 The Bobcats responded well to back-to-back losses when graduate student Derek Hillman defeated Huskie redshirt sophomore Max Ihry in a 3-1 sudden victory. The bout went to overtime when Ihry gave up a 1-0 lead in the third period.

 Redshirt junior Caleb Gossett was next on the mats as he took on redshirt senior Zack Parker. Gossett was down through two periods but was able to pull through in the third to overpower Parker 6-4.

 NIU went on to lose the following four bouts in which the Bobcats ultimately came back to hand the Huskies another conference loss. Redshirt Senior Alijah Jeffery, who had a huge victory in the Missouri dual Friday, was defeated by redshirt sophomore Mario Guillen in an overtime 3-1 sudden victory. Redshirt first-year Bryce West lost 6-4 to redshirt junior Shakur Laney while redshirt first-year Drew West was pinned by senior Cameron Kelly at 4:47.

 Destiny fell into redshirt junior McCoy Kent’s hands as he faced redshirt first-year Kyran Hagan in the 149 weight class. Kent battled hard through three periods with the score tied at 5-5. The Huskie fought hard in overtime, but Hagan proved too much as he finished up Kent in a 8-6 defeat for the Huskie.

“It went their way on the last match today,” Ludwig said. “Kent wrestled a great match. He went for it at the end. He was on the attack; that’s what we ask of our guys.”

 After three years of home match struggles, the Huskies managed to put up three home victories this season, a feat not matched since the 2015 season. The Huskies put up just one home win from 2016 to 2018.

 The Huskies will have a break from conference play as the team prepares for duals against Bloomsburg University and Michigan State University. Michigan State sits at 5-6 including a loss to early NIU opponent, University of Illinois. The Bloomsburg Huskies are 2-6 this season, including a loss to Clarion University and a victory against Hofstra University, both of which NIU beat this year.

The Bloomsburg bout is scheduled for 1 p.m Feb. 2 followed by the Michigan State at 3 p.m in East Lansing.

Gymnastics

The gymnastics team came in second in the Beauty and the Beast tri-meet against Bowling Green and UIC on Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center. The Huskies recorded a season-high score of 194.800, coming in second behind UIC, who finished with a score of 195.250 and Bowling Green in third with 193.950.

The Huskies finished third in vault with a score of 48.650 opening the door for Bowling Green to win their only event of the meet scoring 49.025.

Junior Cinny Lamberti led the way for the Huskies with a vault score of 9.800, but Bowling Green junior Jovannah East came out on top with a score of 9.900.

The Huskies led the meet after vault, but things went downhill after the first event.

On the bars, the Huskies finished second with a score of 48.750 under UIC who scored 49.100 overall, and Bowling Green finished with a score of 47.800.

Morgan Hooper led bars with a score of 9.800, but it wasn’t enough as UIC’s junior Toni Alicke scored 9.90 leading in bars.

“We started really well on vault and bars; we had a little bit of a struggle on beam,” Head Coach Sam Morreale said. “Beam would be a place we need to clean up.”

The Huskies placed third on beam with a score of 48.025 behind Bowling Green and UIC with scores of 48.250 and 48.025 respectively.

Mia Lord led the team with a beam score of 9.850, but her score wasn’t high enough to beat Bowling Green junior Lexi Augustine, who came out with a score of 9.750.

“For the second meet in a row, [Lord] she’s really getting comfortable in that anchor position on beam,” Morreale said to NIU Athletics.  “What I was most proud of was the way we finished beam after having two falls and then coming to floor.”

The team took home first on the floor exercise with a score of 49.375. Giving NIU their only event victory of the meet.

Anna Martucci led floor with a score of 9.925 with UIC’s senior Mikailla Northern close behind with 9.850.

The Huskies are back in action 6 p.m Friday when they take on Lindenwood, Kent State and Seattle Pacific University in NIU’s quad meet at the Convocation Center.