Wrestling defeated in dual against Ohio

The Huskies fell short 27-10 in Saturday’s dual against the Bobcats in DeKalb.


Zulfiqar Ahmed

NIU Huskies Jaivon Jones grapples with Ohio Bobcats Mario Guillen in the first round of 2022 MAC Championship at the Convocation Center.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — NIU’s wrestling team welcomed the Ohio University Bobcats to the Convocation Center Saturday for their first Mid-American Conference matchup of 2022, falling 27-10 in regulation.

Redshirt senior Bryce West opened the event, facing off against Ohio redshirt sophomore Oscar Sanchez at 125 pounds. West was outmatched, giving the Bobcats an early 3-0 advantage.

The three competitors on the mat after West each lost their duals. Following senior Anthony Cheloni’s loss at 149 pounds to Ohio redshirt senior Alec Hagan, NIU found themselves at a 12-0 deficit. Freshman Tulga Zambaayan was defeated the following round on an injury default by Bobcat redshirt sophomore Jordan Slivka at 157 pounds.

NIU then sent junior Alec Rees out on the mat at 165 pounds coming out of intermissions. Rees’ loss to Ohio redshirt sophomore Sean O’Dwyer only added to the Bobcats’ advantage.

The Huskies began to turn the tide as redshirt senior Mason Kauffman faced off against Ohio freshman Sal Perrine. Intermat’s #22 and #19 ranked wrestlers in the 174 pound weight class respectively, Kauffman took to a 3-0 lead in the second period. Perrine attempted to draw even, but was held off by Kauffman, who was awarded the 3-2 victory.

“Kauffman wrestled a tough match against a nationally-ranked opponent,” head coach Ryan Ludwig said. “That will help his status heading to the national tournament.

Ohio’s final points of the event came off a win by forfeit for freshman Zayne Lehman to bring the Bobcats’ score to 27-3.

Senior Tristan Guaman and redshirt junior Terrese Aaron won their respective matchups to close out regulation. Guaman won his dual against redshirt sophomore John Mark Williams by major decision, 12-2. Aaron finished with a 7-4 victory to close the event scoring at 27-10 in favor of the visiting Bobcats.

A final exhibition round was held following regulation as NIU sophomore Lucian Brink clashed with Ohio redshirt junior Tommy Haskins at 125 pounds. Brink won the contest 2-0.

The results of the dual dropped NIU to a losing overall and conference record. The Huskies now stand 4-5 overall and are 1-2 against Mid-American Conference opponents.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting to our attacks first,” Ludwig said. “We’ve got to come out on the first list, especially with our lighter weights, and be ready to go.”

The Huskies will return to the mat Jan. 23 when they host the University of Oklahoma Sooners at noon at Victor E. Court. The event will be available on ESPN3 and ESPN+.