The Northern Illinois wrestling team recorded two wins Sunday at Victor E. Court, toppling in-state rival SIU-Edwardsville, 34-8, and Tiffin, 42-0.
With the wins, the Huskies evened their record at 8-8 on the year; the second-highest win total for NIU in the last six seasons.
“We focused on competing hard and competing with fire and we did that today,” said Huskie head coach Ryan Ludwig. “We sent a lot of time racking up riding time today, so I’m very excited about that. We’ve improved in that position.When we’re out in an attacking style, we win matches.”
Northern Illinois Slays Dragons, 42-0
The Huskies put an emphatic end to their four-game skid with a 42-0 annihilation of the Tiffin Dragons in their opening match of Sunday’s triangular.
The win was NIU’s second shutout of the season following a 38-0 win over Cleveland State Dec. 21. In addition, the dual victory was the first 40-plus point effort by the Huskies in exactly one year, as Northern topped Knox, 57-0, and SIU-Edwardsville, 40-3, Feb. 12, 2011, in Edwardsville, Ill.
“Tiffin is a very scrappy team,” Ludwig said. “They came out and fought hard, but I am glad we came out with a victory against them.”
“Joey Simcoe had his guys well-prepared and I’m looking forward to the future with that program.”
Following a Dragon forfeit at 125 pounds, Rob Jillard got the Huskies off to a quick start with a dominating 15-5 major decision against Stephen Pastor in the 133-pound match. The sophomore’s 15-point outpoint was his highest of the season and put an end to his own four-match losing streak.
Kevin Fanta kept the momentum going at 141 with a hard-fought 4-1 decision against Tiffin’s Ryan McKenzie to put the Huskies in control at 13-0.
True freshmen Tyler Argue and Tyler Loethen added to that lead with wins in the 149-pound and 157-pound matches. Argue grabbed his second major decision and first win since Nov. 26 when he outscored Vince Gualtieri, 10-2. Meanwhile, Loethen registered his first career major decision with a 11-3 win over Trevor Nickolai.
Dan Burk made the most of a spot start at 165 pounds when he battled past the Dragons’ Chris Baker in a 7-4 decision for his second dual win of the year.
Sandwiched between Tiffin forfeits at 174 and 197 was Brad Dieckhaus’ 9-3 win over Kevin Christman in the 184-pound match, putting the senior’s record at 9-0 on the year.
NIU finished off the Dragons when Jared Torrence defeated Aren Norman, 6-1, to add the final points to the Huskies’ seventh win of the year.
Huskies Pummel Cougars, 34-8
NIU made it two-for-two with the final match of the day, defeating the Cougars of SIU-Edwardsville, 34-8.
Not only was the win the Huskies’ second of the season against SIUE, but it was also their 19th consecutive win over their downstate rivals.
“They’re in transition to Division I right now and (Coach David Ray) is doing a good job down there right now,” Ludwig said. “I think when they get tournament eligible, things will be different, but we always respect the in-state rival and we look forward to competing with them every year.”
After the Huskies took an early 6-0 lead on a forfeit at 125 pounds, the Cougars returned the favor when Brendan Murphy scored a 3-0 decision against NIU’s Rob Jillard to get SIUE within three points.
However, Kevin Fanta turned the tide back in Northern’s favor in the 141-pound match, defeating SIUE’s Patrick Myers in a 13-2 major decision to extend the Huskie lead to 10-2.
Following a second SIUE forfeit – this one at 149 pounds – Huskie Tyler Loethen outdueled Kyle Lowman in the 157-pound match for a 9-5 decision and a 19-3 NIU lead. The Cougars would bounce back, though, when Gabe Hocum won at 165 pounds over Dan Burk, 7-4.
Yet, the Huskies removed all doubt in the outcome with wins at 174 and 184.
Sophomore Caleb Busson earned his second win of the day when he defeated Deshoun White, 6-3, at 174. Brad Dieckhaus followed that with a quick first period pin of Cole Brandt in the 184-pound match to extend NIU’s lead to 28-6.
The Cougars scored one last victory on the day when Cole Rogers topped Mike Lukowski, 8-5, at 197. However, Jared Torrence grabbed a forfeit at heavyweight for Northern to cap the victory.
The Huskies wrap up their 2011-12 regular season Saturday, Feb. 18, when they welcome Buffalo for a Mid-American Conference showdown. The dual, which will also be NIU’s Senior Day, begins at 1 p.m. in Victor E. Court.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.