Wrestling to take on third Big 10 opponent

By Ed Rietveld

After a weekend on the road, wrestling returns home for a dual meet against Michigan State University (1-1) in the NIU showcase meet.

The Huskies (5-1) will be facing their third Big 10 conference opponent in a dual meet this season, when they take on the Spartans. So far, NIU has split with their other two Big 10 opponents, beating Indiana University, 19-13, and losing, 37-0, against Purdue.

Coach Ryan Ludwig said facing Big 10 competition prepares his team for later in the season.

“To be the best, you have to wrestle the best,” Ludwig said. “So, you know we feel like…scheduling a tough schedule prepares us for our ultimate goal in March, which is winning the MAC and becoming NCAA All-Americans.”

Last weekend, the Huskies took a break from dual meet competition and competed in the Kaufman-Brand Open.

The weekend proved to be a successful one, as 14 Huskies reached the podium.

Freshman Andrew Morse, who finished second at 157 pounds, said his extra workouts are starting to help him on the mat.

“We’re really just working on a bunch of the little details with the one-on-one practices with are coaches,” Morse said. “It helps me get my technique better and by working with things that I need improvement in.”

This weekend will be the first weekend of dual meet action where the Huskies only have one opponent; in each other dual meet this season NIU has faced three opponents.

Redshirt junior Jared Torrence, who finished third in the heavyweight division at the Kaufman-Brand open, said just because the wrestlers only have one match on Saturday doesn’t mean their mindsets should not change.

“I wouldn’t say [there is] any more pressure, no,” Torrence said. “There’s a lot more focus on one specific thing, so it actually might make the load lighter on us and we’re just fired up and more excited about the showcase meet of the season.”

Ludwig said that if his team does a few things well on Saturday the Huskies should have success.

“Well, it’s the same things we talk about every week,” Ludwig said. “[We need to] keep up with a lot of fire and intensity. I think we’ve done a lot better job this past week of getting up off the bottom end really exploding up off the bottom position. I think if we bring another level of intensity and if we have all 10 of our guys fighting for every single point for seven minutes. I think the rest will take care of itself.”

Michigan State comes into the weekend’s action with two dual meets under its belt: a 25-11 win over fellow MAC school Eastern Michigan and a 22-12 defeat over 17th-ranked Edinboro University.