Wrestling hosts Huskie Duals

By Marcel Carrasco

The wrestling team kicked off their home opener with two victories in the Huskie Duals before Thanksgiving break.

The Huskies were quick to establish their presence when they faced in-state opponent Harper College in their first matchup, defeating the Hawks 44-3. NIU kept the momentum rolling in its second matchup defeating Clarion University 27-18.

“I thought we came out and performed well,” Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said. “We made strides in our attacks and readiness.”

Utah Valley University stopped the Huskies quest for a sweep when the Wolverines beat NIU in a close 21-14 matchup to wrap up the Huskie Duals.

“The UVU dual was a hard-fought battle, and that was a good Clarion team we beat,” Ludwig said.

NIU redshirt first-years Bryce West and Brit Wilson both went undefeated at 125 pounds and 174 pounds respectively. Wilson’s dominant performance included an 8-6 decision victory over No. 14 ranked Utah Valley junior Kimball Bastian.

Redshirt senior Alijah Jeffery made two appearances winning both matches in the 133-weight class. Redshirt first-year Mason Kauffman took home two wins wrestling in the 157-weight class, including a win over Utah Valley’s No. 21 ranked junior Grant LaMont.

The Huskies showed their potential with a variety of wrestlers and their depth in weight classes.

Redshirt sophomore Kenny Moore made two appearances at 165 pounds, splitting the matches.

“This team is improving every day; they are invested in our championship vision and seeing benefits as they put their training into use on competition day,” Ludwig said.

v. Harper

West opened up for the Huskies, beating Harper’s first-year Lane Wells with a pin in the 125-bout. The Huskies went on to win three more matchups, including a strong performance from redshirt junior McCoy Kent, who out-muscled sophomore Darian Padgett in a technical fall 19-3 victory in the 149-weight class.

Harper’s sophomore Tristen Guzman handed the Huskies their only loss of the matchup when Guzman beat junior Zackary Velazquez in an 11-4 decision.

Wilson started his campaign with a win over Harper’s freshman Juan Quiroz with a major decision 21-7 victory.

Redshirt junior Caleb Gossett went on to close out the Harper matchup with a major decision 18-5 victory against Harper’s freshman John Resnick in the 285 bout.

v. Clarion

West once again opened up for the Huskies, defeating Clarion’s redshirt first-year Tyshawn White in a decision 4-1 victory. Jeffery followed with another win, taking out freshman Seth Koleno in a decision 7-2 win.

Clarion was able to tie up with two victories from sophomore Taylor Ortz and senior Brock Zacherl over senior Anthony Cheloni and Kent.

The Huskies were quick to break the deadlock and ultimately separated themselves from Clarion with three consecutive victories. Kauffman locked in a decision 4-2 victory over senior Mike Bartolo. Moore made his first appearance, pinning redshirt senior Evan Delong. Wilson added to the lead with a pin over redshirt junior Taylor Cahill.

Gossett closed out for the Huskies again and wrapped up a pin over sophomore Toby Cahill.

v. Utah Valley

The Huskies started off hot with two consecutive victories. West took on senior Josh Jensen earning the victory in a decision 5-1, and Jeffery out-muscled senior Mitchell Brown in a technical fall 16-1 victory.

Sophomore Matt Findley and senior Matthew Ontiveros were able to put the Wolverines on the scoreboard with two decision victories over NIU’s Cheloni and Kent.

Kauffman came in strong with a decision 6-2 victory over LaMont. Moore followed with a hard-fought major decision 10-2 loss to No. 14 ranked junior Demetrius Romero.

Wilson finished his performance with a third and final victory over Bastian.

Utah Valley was able to take the lead after a sophomore Gary Jantzer win over NIU’s redshirt junior Michael Aldrich and a No. 23 ranked junior Tanner Orndorff technical fall 17-2 victory over redshirt junior Ross Sealby.

Gossett was once again in charge of wrapping up for the Huskies, but his efforts came short in a decision 10-4 loss to No. 11 ranked redshirt first-year Tate Orndorff.

The Huskies will travel to face the University of Indiana Hoosiers. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Bloomington, Indiana.