Wrestling drops 1-point dual against Kent State

By Zack Thompson

Wrestling failed to get its win on senior day.

The Huskies lost to the Kent State Golden Flashes, 19-18, Saturday at Victor E. Court.

NIU (6-10, 1-6 MAC) dropped its fourth consecutive meet, while the Golden Flashes (10-8, 4-2 MAC) won their second straight.

The Huskies made a late push when redshirt freshman Shawn Scott (197) won, 6-4, by decision in overtime to cut the deficit to three, 18-15. In the next match, redshirt senior Jared Torrence’s (285) victory tied the match at 18. Ultimately, the Huskies lost, 19-18, by criteria, as the Golden Flashes won six matches to the Huskies’ four.

The Huskies started slow, as they lost their first three matches, but momentum swung when senior Rob Jillard (149) pinned opponent Mike DePalma in the first round. Sophomore Andrew Morse (157) followed Jillard’s quick pin with one of his own, and the Huskies took a 12-9 lead into the intermission.

“That was a game changer in the dual,” said head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Rob beats a nationally ranked opponent and in dominating fashion. He goes up there and double legs him, puts in his half, and sticks the guy in the first period. That gets any team fired up.”

Redshirt freshman Shaun’Qae McMurtry (165) tried to extend the Huskies’ lead after the break, but fell to opponent Tyler Buckwalter 8-6 by decision in overtime.

With a chance to tie or regain the lead for the Huskies, redshirt junior Caleb Busson (184) fell to the No. 13-ranked Sam Wheeler. Busson trailed 3-0 after the second but pulled to within one, 5-4, before ultimately falling, 10-5, by decision.

Even though the Huskies have dropped four in a row, Ludwig said he is proud of how the Huskies competed and feels his team is close to turning close losses into victories in the coming weeks

“Our guys are buying into what we’re telling them,” Ludwig said. “We’re making the correct adjustments, and slowly, things are turning around where we’re getting our hands raised in the close matches, and by the time March rolls around we’re going to be winning all of those.”

Ludwig said he doesn’t think his team’s confidence has been affected by the four-dual losing steak. He said his team is supremely confident and feels they are going to be a team to watch out for come the MAC tournament in March.

“We got caught a little bit in some scrambling stuff this week, but I know we’ll have it straightened out when tournament time rolls around,” Ludwig said. “I’m very proud of the way our guys competed. We lost a criteria dual to a nationally ranked team. I feel we should be a nationally ranked team. And it’s changing the little things around that’s going to put us in the top 25 where we belong.”