DeKALB — The wrestling team set a quick pace Saturday with a 29-9 win over the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Cougars, highlighted by a pair of first-round pinfall wins.
Redshirt sophomores Bryce West and Brit Wilson both picked up first-round pinfalls in their matches at 125 pounds and 184 pounds , respectively. With his win, West matches his win total from last season when he earned an NCAA Tournament bid.
Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said the team’s energy is what stood out in a dual where the team won seven of ten contests.
“Those guys competed hard and worked out there,” Ludwig said in an NIU Athletics news release. “It was good team energy. We will continue to refine and develop to maximize our opportunities.”
Redshirt first-year Caleb Brooks registered a major decision win over redshirt sophomore Jacob Blaha at 133 pounds, followed by a decision win for redshirt first-year Anthony Gibson to give NIU a 13-0 lead after three contests.
The Cougars scored their first points of the night with a 5-2 decision win by redshirt senior Tyshawn Williams at 149 pounds over redshirt senior McCoy Kent.
Sophomore Justin Ruffin got the Cougars another decision win, shutting out redshirt sophomore Mason Kauffman 4-0 at 157 pounds.
Redshirt first-year Izzak Olejnik got the Huskies back on track in his 165-pound contest with first-year Chase Diehl. Olejnik used a riding point to get an 11-3 major decision win.
Redshirt senior Kenny Moore entered the day at 8-8 at 174 pounds, but moved into a winning record with his decision victory over junior Kevin Gschwendtner.
After Wilson’s pin, redshirt first-year Gage Braun picked up NIU’s last victory of the day with a decision win over redshirt first-year Aric Bohn at 197 pounds.
Redshirt junior Max Ihry and sophomore Colton McKiernan needed triple overtime to decide a winner in the 285-pound finale. McKiernan picked up an escape and takedown to lock a win and end the night on a good note for SIUE.
NIU moves to 9-4 overall in duals with a 4-2 Mid-American Conference record. SIUE remains winless in MAC duals.
The Huskies return to action 6 p.m. Friday with a doubleheader in Ohio against Cleveland State University and Ohio University. The team starts the weekend with a dual against CSU 6 p.m. Friday.