Wrestling finishes 5th in MAC tournament

By Ed Rietveld

Wrestling competed in the MAC tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., and finished in a tie for fifth with Ohio University with 63.5 points over spring break.

The University of Missouri tallied 136 points, finishing first, which ended a streak of 11 straight conference titles for Central Michigan, which finished second with 88 points.

The highest finishing Huskie was a redshirt junior, Kevin Fanta, who finished second at 141 pounds. Fanta lost 1-0 in the finals against the University of Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor.

Fanta believes his defense was important in his run to the finals.

“I think it was my positioning,” Fanta said. “[It was me] not being overly aggressive like I have been in the past. I kind of kept composed the whole match.”

Three Huskies finished fourth in their respective weight classes. At 133 pounds, junior Nick Smith went 2-2 on the day. At 149 pounds, junior Rob Jillard also went .500 on the day while heavyweight redshirt junior Jared Torrence also finished fourth.

Redshirt junior Matt Mougin earned NIU’s lone NCAA championship spot over Kent States’ Sam Wheeler at 174 pounds with a pin in the last second of the first period. Mougin earned the fifth MAC automatic bid at the 174 pound weight class and will compete at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, beginning Thursday. Mougin said he needs to rely on the things that have gotten him this far in order to be successful.

“[I need to] just keep doing what I’ve been doing the last few weeks,” Mougin said. “I’ve been working out hard with Coach [Dominick] Moyer. Today I wrestled the best I’ve wrestled all year. So I’ll probably just keep with the same stuff I’ve been doing and wrestle hard for seven minutes.”

With Mougin’s appearance in the NCAA tournament it will mark the 42nd consecutive year where at least one wrestler will be representing NIU at the NCAA championships.

Huskies head coach Ryan Ludwig said having somebody representing the program means a lot.

“It’s fantastic,” Ludwig said. “That’s the ultimate goal. Our goals are at the national level and we want to be represented at the national tournament, so whether it be one guy or 10 we’ll get to the national tournament and we’re dancing with the best guys in the country and that’s what it’s all about.”

Three other Huskies finished sixth: at 157 pounds, freshmen Andrew Morse, at 165 pounds, redshirt sophomore Sam Bennett, and redshirt sophomore Parker Settecase at 197 pounds.