Wrestling looks strong at Eastern Michigan Open


NIU’s Jared Torrence concentrates on keeping hold of a Stanford wrestler.

By Mike Romor

After an eight-month offseason, NIU wrestling finally had the chance to face competition Saturday at the Eastern Michigan Open.

The Huskies looked strong in their return to the mats, with 13 grapplers placing in the event.

While eight of NIU’s placewinners were in the open draw, five of six NIU wrestlers in the fresh/soph bracket reached the podium as well.

NIU coach Ryan Ludwig was pleased to see his team’s mix of experience and youth succeed in its first test of the season.

“We learned a lot about ourselves as a team today,” Ludwig said. “We will take our notes and apply them to our training when we hit the mats on Monday. I believe we have a lot of potential to be realized through constant attention to detail in the mat room.

“Our young guys fought hard as well and garnered some valuable experience.”

In the open, NIU was led by junior Matt Mougin at 174.

Mougin started his day with a convincing 5-0 decision over Michigan State’s Kevin Nash. He then reeled off two more wins, including a major decision, before dropping a match to Navy’s highly-touted Matthew Miller.

Mougin took third place after a bounce-back 7-0 decision against Michigan State’s Nick Proctor.

NIU’s junior Rob Jillard placed fifth in his debut at 149. Jillard had the most wins of any NIU wrestler in the open bracket, with five. Two of his five victories were pins, including his first match of the day against Tiffin University’s Marco Gualtieri.

In his three wins by decision, Jillard outscored his opponents 26-13.

NIU junior Jared Torrence placed fourth in the open’s heavyweight division after a 3-1 decision over Tiffin’s Kevin Christman.

Other placewinners for NIU include five sixth-place finishes from sophomore Derek Elmore, freshman Ethan Davis, junior Caleb Busson, junior Shane Rosenberry and senior Arber Bebo.

NIU showed promise in the fresh/soph bracket. The Huskies were highlighted by Shawn Scott.

Scott, a true freshman coming off a state title as a senior in high school, had a perfect day to win the championship at 197.

Scott outscored his counterparts 22-7, with a convincing 13-6 win in the finals over Lincoln College’s Archie Williams.

NIU’s Andrew Morse took third at 157 while his twin brother, Gabe Morse, wrestled to a fifth place finish at 141.

Bryan Loughlin and Braun Marquez each finished fifth for the Huskies at 184 and 125 respectively. Marquez had the most wins of any Huskie on the day, with six.

With the season finally arriving, the Huskies hope to learn from each match along the way.

“Everyone was excited to compete and work toward their goals in March,” Ludwig said.