Grapplers swept by Big Ten

By Fred Konrath

After coming back from Bloomington, Ind., with a 36-5 loss, the NIU wrestling team found out what it takes to beat a Big Ten foe.

Giving up 12 points due to forfeits and missing your star wrestler won’t help matters, as the Hoosiers from Indiana showed the Huskies the difference between Big 10 wrestling and NIU wrestling.

The Huskies went into the contest without their key wrestler, T.C. Dantzler and lost the 190-pound and heavyweight class due to forfeits. Resting a reoccurring knee injury, Dantzler’s production at 158-pounds wouldn’t have helped much for the Huskies (2-4), who lost their third match this season against a Big Ten team.

Winning for NIU, were James Spillman at 158-pounds and Jim Kossakowski at 177-pounds. Spillman’s 6-5 decision put NIU on the scoreboard, wiping a 21-0 deficit and Kossakowski earned three points with his 4-3 decision.

NIU head coach Phil Rembert went into the match knowing his team would need a lot of help throughout the match.

“We obviously need more point production from the lower part of our line-up. We can’t always rely on T.C., or the middle of the line-up when we also have to forfeit a match or two,” said Rembert. “We wrestled tough in some instances, but we need that from everyone. We also have to learn not to let things get to us mentally on the road.”

One wrestler who is demonstrating the will to win is Kossakowski, who upped his individual record to (17-4).

“‘Koz’ (Kossakowski) is really on a roll now and he deserves a pat on the back for his win. He’s really wrestling well,” commented Rembert.

The Huskies missed their usual effort from 118-pounder Shannon Gregory, who suffered a hard fought battle in an 8-7 loss. Gregory has been right up there along with Dantzler and Kossakowski looking for a bid to the NCAA Championships in February.

However, that must wait, as NIU prepares to get back on track with their dual-meet season, which still has nine meets on the schedule. The next preparation will be for Eastern Illinois, who will invade Chick Evans Field House on Jan. 26.