Wrestling triumphs in dual meet weekend

By Ed Rietveld

The wrestling team did something on Saturday that it hasn’t done since Jan. 6: It won a dual meet.

The Huskies (8-8, 1-4 MAC) snapped a five-dual-meet losing streak with their 20-18 back-and-forth victory over the University of Buffalo Bulls (1-10, 1-4 MAC). The Huskies’ last victory was against the Cougars of SIU-Edwardsville, 31-13.

The dual against the Bulls was a close one throughout. After falling behind 4-0, junior Nick Smith put the Huskies on the board with a 16-4 major decision.

Smith said his game plan was to always be on the attack and try and score points. This scheme proved to be successful for him on Saturday.

“I just kept moving forward and I knew that if I kept pressure on the guy I was going to keep scoring and I wanted to get some bonus points for the team,” Smith said.

NIU won two out of the next three matches. Junior Rob Jillard pinned his opponent for the second straight weekend, and freshman Andrew Morse won 11-2 over Buffalo’s Wally Maziarz.

NIU led 14-7 at intermission, but things changed after halftime. The Bulls won three of the first four matches after halftime, building an 18-17 lead heading into the heavyweight contest.

Seven minutes wasn’t enough time to decide the final match between NIU’s Jared Torrence and Buffalo’s Justin Heiserman, who were tied at two headed into overtime.

Redshirt junior Jared Torrence came out on top, earning a two-point takedown. Torrence said he could see his opponent was getting tired and that allowed him to execute the takedown.

“Well, I mean, the kid was getting pretty gassed,” Torrence said. “So I just knew I had to keep putting the pressure on him and just keep on wrestling hard for every position.”

Head coach Ryan Ludwig said a high-pressure situation like the one Torrence found himself in is one the heavyweight is used to.

“…Pressure’s a privilege,” Ludwig said. “You hope you get the chance to be the guy that it comes down to and take control of the situation. You know, Jared’s been in that situation before and he kept his composure and battled very hard and wrestled a very smart match. [I am] definitely proud of his effort today for the team.”