Wrestling team sweeps weekend in Edwardsville


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, Sports Editor

DeKALB — Dominante performances by the NIU wrestling team this weekend helped them to a sweep of three Mid-American Conference duals Saturday in Edwardsville.

The Huskies opened with a 35-3 win over the Clarion University Golden Eagles, followed by a 30-7 win over the University at Buffalo Bulls. In the final contest of Saturday, NIU beat the hosting Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Cougars 27-10.

Six wrestlers from NIU won three matches over the course of the action Saturday, including redshirt junior 184-pounder Brit Wilson and redshirt sophomore 165-pounder Izzak Olejnik.

Wilson is undefeated at 184 pounds after eight duals, getting two major decisions and a technical fall in his Saturday matches.

Olejnik is one of three wrestlers on NIU’s roster with a 7-1 individual record through eight matches, including redshirt juniors Bryce West and Mason Kauffman who  also went undefeated.

Redshirt senior heavyweight Max Ihry secured three wins, two thanks to last-second takedowns. Senior Anthony Cheloni won two dual matches as well as an extra match against Clarion.


Huskies 35, Golden Eagles 3

Four Huskies found bonus point victories in NIU’s dominant performance in the opening dual of the day.

Olejnik picked up a pinfall win at 6:02 over junior Kolby Ho to pick up six team points. NIU redshirt junior Bryce West picked up five team points with a technical fall victory over first-year Hunter Verge at 133 pounds. Wilson and Ihry both added on late with major decision wins. 

First-year Lucian Brink got his only win of the day in an 8-6 decision to open the dual. Redshirt sophomore Caleb Brooks picked up an overtime win at 141 pounds with a takedown and nearfall. 

Sophomore 149-pounder Javion Jones won his only dual match of the day, a 10-4 decision. NIU redshirt sophomore 157 pounders Anthony Gibson broke a four-match losing streak with an 8-2 decision win over redshirt senior Taylor Ortz.

The only points NIU allowed were at 197 pounds when NIU redshirt sophomore Gage Braun dropped a 5-2 decision to senior and three-time national qualifier Greg Bulsak.


Huskies 30, Bulls 7

After Buffalo got out to a 7-4 lead, the Huskies won their last seven matches with two bonus point wins.

After getting a bonus match win after the Carlion dual, Cheloni won a 7-3 decision for his second win of the day. Gibson continued his rebound with a 5-4 decision win.

Olejnik got his second pinfall win of the day, beating redshirt junior Noah Grover at 5:27. Kauffman followed with a 5-2 decision to further extend the lead and improve his record.

Wilson picked up a shutout 15-0 technical fall against redshirt sophomore Guiseppe Hoose. After a win by Braun, Ihry secured a 3-1 decision win over redshirt junior Toby Cahill thanks to a last second go-ahead take down. The win also handed Cahill his first loss of the season.


Huskies 27, Cougars 10 

The toughest match of the day — NIU faced an SIU team that nearly beat them 19-16 in the Huskies’ season opener.

A forfeit win for West and a decision win for Cheloni were the only points NIU could muster in the first half of the dual. 

SIU redshirt sophomore Austin Macias secured a late takedown of Brink to take a 8-6 decision. Gibson lost by 11-2 major decision after junior Justin Ruffin received the ride point.

Olejnik turned the dual around for NIU, securing his third win of the day in a 10-1 major decision. With an escape in the third period and great defense, Kauffman also picked up a third win for the outing in a 3-2 decision.

Wilson and Braun helped seal the dual for NIU with back-to-back major decisions, with Wilson scoring a staggering 22 points against junior Sergio Villalobos.

Ihry finished the meet off with another late-takedown decision, again winning 3-1.

The Huskies record moves to 6-2 on the season, guaranteeing NIU a winning record for the second season in a row.

With a wave of momentum, the Huskies look forward to their only home dual of the season on Friday against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers. Before a loss this weekend to Oklahoma State University, UNI was ranked 16th in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Poll.

The dual is set to begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb. Fan attendance will be limited to family members only, but fans are able to watch live on NIUtube.