Wrestlers to face SIU-Edwardsville, Tiffin

Wrestling Alumni Day also part of triangular meet

Brad Dieckhaus

Brad Dieckhaus

The Northern Illinois wrestling team returns home for their first home meet in over a month Sunday when they host SIU-Edwardsville and Tiffin in Victor E. Court for NIU Wrestling Alumni Day.

The Huskies will look to snap their four-match skid against the Cougars and Dragons, two teams who have struggled to this point in the season.

However, NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig is not overlooking the next two opponents on the schedule.

“You never know what you are going to get when teams come to compete,” he said. “We’re looking to wrestle with high intensity. Not much change in your attitude and approach to matches week-to-week. It’s just going out there and applying it as hard as you can.”

The Huskies will be looking to get back on the winning track after falling to No. 19 Northwestern, 24-18, Feb. 3 in Evanston, Ill. Kevin Fanta, Brad Dieckhaus, Mike Lukowski and Jared Torrence each recorded wins for NIU on the day.

SIUE, meanwhile, enters Sunday’s triangular with a 4-13 record on the season, but have yet to defeat a Division I opponent in 2011-12. The Cougars lost to NIU earlier this season in a 25-7 decision at the Hoosier Duals. Josh Wood leads SIUE with an 11-8 record, including five pinfalls and two major decisions.

“They’ve got some performers who are very gritty,” Ludwig said. “I’m sure Coach Ray will have those guys prepared to do battle. It’s always good to have an in-state rival.”

Tiffin comes into the meet with a 2-9 record in 2011-12 and has dropped their last six duals this season, recording their last win Dec. 10 vs. Alma. The Dragons are paced on the mat by 174-pounder Jake Cramer, who boasts a team-best 20 wins on the year, and Kevin Christman at 184 pounds.

Also, Ludwig coached Tiffin head coach Joey Simcoe when he was a wrestler at Findlay in 2002-03.

“He’s a very hard-nosed, scrappy guy, so I’m sure they’ll bring that same style,” Ludwig said of Simcoe.

Overall, the Huskies own a commanding 22-2-1 edge since 1969 against SIUE and have won the last 18 duals against their rivals to the south. Meanwhile, Sunday will mark the first time that NIU will take on Tiffin.

Sunday is also the second-to-last home meet for NIU in the 2011-12 season. The Huskies close out their home and regular season slate Saturday, Feb. 18, against Buffalo.

For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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