NIU Athletics releases wrestling schedule

2021 season to feature one home meet

Then+redshirt+first-year+Izzak+Olejnik+grapples+with+University+of+Missouri+redshirt+first-year+Peyton+Mocco+March+7%2C+2020+during+his+4-3+win+in+the+2020+MAC+Championship+semifinals+at+the+Convocation+Center.

Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

Then redshirt first-year Izzak Olejnik grapples with University of Missouri redshirt first-year Peyton Mocco March 7, 2020 during his 4-3 win in the 2020 MAC Championship semifinals at the Convocation Center.

James Krause, Senior Reporter

DeKALB — After COVID-19 stripped the chance to send wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, the NIU wrestling team prepares to embark on a season like no other with a schedule to match.

The Huskies will have only one home contest — a non-conference meeting with the University of Northern Iowa on Feb. 5 — out of 10 meets scheduled over five weeks. The season culminates with the Mid-American Conference Championships in Lawrence, NJ on Feb. 26-28.

“We are feeling privileged to have the opportunity to compete,” NIU Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said in a Monday NIU news release. “We want to express sincere gratitude to all those involved who have presented the platform from which we will wrestle. The MAC office was instrumental in assembling conference action and from there we based the rest of the slate on regional foes.”

NIU returns to action after redshirt junior Brit Wilson claimed the MAC 184-pound championship, and redshirt sophomore Izzak Olejnik made the championship match at 165-pounds. The team placed third overall in the conference.

Wilson and Olejnik earned bids to the NCAA Championships last season along with redshirt senior heavyweight Max Ihry and redshirt sophomore 197-pounder Gage Bruan, although the tournament was cancelled due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team will have their endurance tested with many doubleheader meets. NIU opens the season in Edwardsville, with back-to-back meets on Jan. 10 against Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville and Bellarmine University. 

NIU opens against Central Michigan University Jan. 17 in Mount Pleasant, MI. The Huskies look to top CMU for the second year in a row after a win last year ended a 17-year drought against the Chippewas.

The Huskies start a doubleheader Jan. 23 with their tallest task of the season: the defending MAC Champion University of Missouri Tigers. Also taking place that day in Columbia, MO will be NIU’s meet with the University of Ohio.

Not one, not two, but three meets await NIU when they return to Edwardsville on Jan. 31. The Huskies rematch SIUE, while also having tilts scheduled with the University at Buffalo and Caldiron University.

After their one home meet against the UNI, the Huskies close their regular season on Feb. 12 in Kent, Ohio against the Kent State University Golden Flashes.