Wrestling finishes regular season

MAC Championships in 2 weeks


Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

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

James Krause, Sports Editor

DeKALB — The wrestling team’s final competition before the Mid-American Conference championships in two weeks came Friday in a round robin-style dual in Kent, Ohio.

NIU had 14 matches against the Edinboro University Fighting Scots and 12 against the Kent State University Golden Flashes. The Huskies split the contests with the Fighting Scots at seven wins each and won seven of their 12 matches with the Golden Flashes.

No team points were recorded, meaning NIU ended its regular season with a 6-3 record, good for third in the MAC standings behind first-place Missouri University and second-place Rider University.

Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said the dual is a good launching for their preparations before the MAC Tournament on Feb. 26 and 27 in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. 

“It was good to cap off the regular season with some solid individual wins,” Ludwig said in an NIU Athletics news release Friday. “We look forward to using the next two weeks to train and get healthy as we head into the MAC Championship.”

Four wrestlers went 2-0 in their matches, including redshirt junior Brit Wilson who picked up a technical fall and a pinfall to pad his record before defending his 184-pound conference title next week. Sophomore 141-pounder Caleb Brooks, redshirt junior 149-pounder Anthony Cheloni and redshirt sophomore Izzak Olejnik were the other two-win wrestlers.

NIU didn’t field any matches at 125 pounds as redshirt first-year Lucian Brink didn’t make the trip to Ohio due to injury.


Huskies and Fighting Scots deadlocked after 14 matches

In their only matches of the day, redshirt junior 133-pounder Bryce West and redshirt first-year 141-pounder Nick Termini suffered pinfall losses to the Fighting Scots. 

After Brooks picked up a first period pinfall at 141, Cheloni and redshirt first-year Jaivon Jones swept Edinboro at 149 pounds with each picking up decisions.

Edinboro redshirt junior Peter Pappas beat both sophomore Anthony Gibson and redshirt first-year Alec Rees at 157 pounds, but Rees bounced back with a technical fall win against sophomore Alex Garcia.

Olejnik and Wilson both picked up double digit wins, with Olejnik winning a 13-0 decision and Wilson getting a 18-3 technical fall.

NIU junior 174-pounder Mason Kauffman needed overtime in his match with Edinboro redshirt junior Jacob Oliver, tied 1-1 after regulation. A takedown by Kauffman in the opening sudden victory gave him the decision win.

Redshirt senior heavyweight Max Ihry didn’t have the same result in his overtime match, losing in second overtime to Edinboro senior Jon Spaulding. Sophomore 197-pounder Gage Braun lost a decision, and redshirt first-year Johnny Shafer lost by a major decision.


NIU gets the best of the Golden Flashes

Brooks finished his day with a major decision win, moving his final regular season record to 5-6 and matching his win total from last year.

Cheloni and Jones split their matches with KSU junior 149 pounder Kody Komara. Komara beat Jones in a 7-5 decision, but Cheloni got his second win of the day at 6-1.

Senior Tristan Guaman and Gibson swept at 157 pounds. Guaman got a decision win and Gibson earned a technical fall, both against redshirt sophomore Ian Senz.

Wins by Olejnik and Wilson meant both ended their seasons at 10-1, with Olejnik ending his season on a seven-match winning streak heading into the MAC tournament. Both Wilson and Olejnik’s losses came against undefeated wrestlers.

Kauffman’s winning streak of five came to an end against two-time MAC runner up at 174 pounds, the Golden Flashes senior Andrew McNally. McNally took their match by a 6-2 decision. Six points is both the lowest match points earned for McNally and most match points allowed by Kauffman this season.

Redshirt junior Will Feldkamp finishes an impressive campaign at 197 pounds with a 5-2 record. After losing his first two matches, Feldkamp finished a five match rally with a decision win over sophomore Ryan Boyle. 

Along with Wilson, another NIU wrestler saw his first action of the year at 184 pounds. First-year Matt Zuber had his first collegiate match, losing a 6-5 decision to junior Joe Andrassy. Braun and Shafer lost by decisions, but the advantage in matches still remained 7-5 in favor of the Huskies.

The Huskies now prepare for the MAC Championships on Feb. 26 and 27 in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Rankings and brackets are scheduled to be released next week.