DeKALB — It came down to a six overtime match in the heavyweight finale for the wrestling team to clinch a 19-16 dual victory Friday against the University at Buffalo Bulls in DeKalb.
Huskie redshirt junior Max Ihry and redshirt senior Nolan Terrance tied in regulation during the dual-deciding contest. After trading escapes in overtime, Ihry was able to keep Terrance grounded in the sixth overtime period to secure the win for himself and the Huskies.
“I would want to say there wasn’t any pressure but there was some to come out and get the win,” Ihry said. “I was just thinking I have to go do what I do, not change anything up and stay the course.”
The win capped off a comeback by the Huskies who were trailing 13-6 at the midway point of the dual. Head Coach Ryan Ludwig said the rally showcased the team’s ability to respond to adversity.
“If you get knocked down, are you going to stay down or are you going to get back up and fight,” Ludwig said. “That’s what we ask these guys all the time, and they respond well to it. [With] the situations they’ve been in, they’ve answered the call.”
Redshirt sophomore Bryce West got the Huskies out front to open the night with a 7-1 decision victory over first-year Jordan Reyes at 125 pounds.
The Bulls would rebound at 133 pounds with a 13-0 major decision win by redshirt junior Derek Spann over redshirt first-year Caleb Brooks.
Redshirt first-year Marcus Robinson, for Buffalo, gave the Bulls a pinfall win at 141 pounds, pinning redshirt first-year Anthony Gibson in just 39 seconds of the first period.
NIU and Buffalo traded wins again before the midway point of the dual. Redshirt senior McCoy Kent picked up an overtime decision victory at 149 pounds, while Bulls redshirt first-year Michael Petite bested redshirt sophomore Mason Kauffman at 157 pounds.
The tone-setter for the second half of the dual was redshirt first-year Izzak Olejnik, who wrestled against a former national qualifier in senior Troy Keller at 125 pounds.
After a contest that saw a pair of coach challenge stoppages, a late stall point against Keller forced overtime. Olejnik got a takedown in the overtime period that was also reviewed and stood as called, giving NIU the 5-3 decision win.
Redshirt senior Kenny Moore followed up with a win over first-year Bryson Alsteen at 174 pounds to bring NIU within a point of Buffalo. Redshirt sophomore Brit Wilson’s major decision win over redshirt first-year Pete Acciardi, thanks to a ridetime point and an unnecessary roughness foul, put NIU ahead 16-13.
The Bulls tied the contest with an overtime decision win for redshirt sophomore Sam Schuyler over redshirt first-year Gage Braun.
Ihry and Terrance battled for over 10 minutes in a massively defensive match with escapes being the only points until Ihry prevented one to clinch a victory. Ihry said he’s prepared himself for long matches like Friday’s.
“I work on my cardio a lot for that specific reason,” Ihry said. “I think I’m one of the better in-shape heavyweights in the country. I just focus on tiring out my opponent and there’s a lot of times that’s a major factor in a match.”
NIU ends its Mid-American Conference dual schedule with a record of 7-2. NIU’s final regular season dual will be 7 p.m. Friday against the Drexel University Dragons at the Convocation Center.