Huskies grapple with second Top 25 opponent in eight days
The Northern Illinois wrestling team will close out their January slate Saturday with a triangular meet against conference foes No. 7 Missouri and Eastern Michigan.
The meet begins at 11 a.m. inside Victor E. Court with the Huskies taking on the Eagles. After that match, NIU will face off with the nationally ranked Tigers.
“EMU is a scrappy, tough team that will come to fight,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Missouri has a wealth of experience and talent.”
The Huskies come into the match with a 7-5 dual record and 0-3 MAC mark after a 23-12 loss to No. 12 Central Michigan on Jan. 18. NIU notched four wins against the Chippewas, with Nick Smith, Kevin Fanta, Andrew Morse and Parker Settecase all getting their arm raised.
Despite the loss, Ludwig feels that Northern has progressed well since that loss.
“The team is progressing every day and responding well to the challenges put forth by the staff,” he said.
Missouri enters Saturday with an 8-1 dual record after dropping their MAC debut Sunday against Central Michigan, 17-16. In dual meets this year, the Tigers have notched impressive wins against Purdue, Cornell, Bloomsburg and North Dakota State. Individually, MU has eight wrestlers ranked in the Top 20, including top-ranked Dom Bradley at heavyweight, third-ranked Alan Waters at 125 and sixth-ranked Nathan McCormick at 133.
EMU currently has a 6-10 record overall and a 0-2 mark in conference action. Of those six wins, the Eagles’ best wins have been against North Dakota State and Duke, both of which came early in the year. Eastern is led on the mats by 2012 NCAA qualifiers Aaron Sulzer (157 pounds) and Phillip Joseph (174/184).
The Huskies know that the final month of the regular season is an important point in order to put them in the best position possible for March’s postseason action.
“We are training for our ultimate goals in March, so we are keying on strengthening our attacks and pushing the pace ion each individual match,” Ludwig said.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.