Men’s wrestling falls at Northwestern

By Ed Rietveld

Wrestling was unable to snap its four dual meet losing streak against Northwestern University (7-7, 1-5 Big Ten), 36-6, in its last home meet of the season.

The Huskies (7-8, 0-5 MAC) could not dig out of a early 15-0 hole against the 18th-ranked Wildcats.

Northwestern earned two pins in the dual’s first three matches. At 125 pounds, Dominick Malone, who is ranked 19th in the nation, pinned sophomore Derek Elmore 1:20 into the second period.

At 141 pounds, Northwestern’s Jameson Oster pulled off an upset with a pinfall victory over NIU redshirt junior Kevin Fanta, who came to Friday’s dual as the 20th-ranked wrestler in the nation at 141 pounds.

Head coach Ryan Ludwig said his team can’t afford two early pins if the wrestlers want to win a dual against a nationally ranked opponent like Northwestern.

“You can’t get pinned,” Ludwig said. “We talked about that before. Derek Elmore kind of got caught on bottom. I thought he had a great first period, then he got caught lying around on bottom and he paid the price. Kevin Fanta unfortunately got mixed up wrestling a style that isn’t his and he paid the price for that. So I think those guys need to wrestle in their box like they know how to do, and when they do that they wrestle very well.”

At 149 pounds, junior Rob Jillard gave the Huskies a ray of hope for a possible comeback with a pinfall victory over the Wildcats’ Dylan Marriott. Jillard said he took advantage of what his opponent was giving him throughout the match.

“I just usually go to my high half and I saw that he kept putting his head on the mat, so I knew I could take him over once I broke it,” Jillard said.

NIU was unable to build momentum following the pin, and the Huskies did not win another match in the dual.

The closest they would come was at 184 pounds, where freshman Bryan Loughlin could not hold on to his 5-4 to start the third period. He lost 7-5 to Jacob Berkowitz on a last-minute two-point takedown.

Ludwig said despite the loss, he was proud of Loughlin’s effort.

“He’s a pit bull,” Ludwig said. “He competes hard, you know, he unfortunately had a mental lapse at the end of the match and kind of gave it away, but he’s a good wrestler. He’s doing a great job for us.”

A representative from Northwestern was unavailable for comment following the match.