The Northern Illinois University wrestling team opened its season Sunday at South Dakota State, where they placed nine wrestlers at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open.
“We learned a lot about where we are and the things we need to focus on for our drive towards March,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Overall, our performance was good, but we are striving for excellence and we have to get back to work. We have a lot of adjustments to make. We will continue to dig in and make progress.”
Coming off an injury that robbed him of his true freshman season, Scott looked every bit as dominant as he was last year by earning a 14-0 major decision against Augustana (S.D.)’s Lane Lettau. In the subsequent rounds, the Holly, Mich., native scored decisions against South Dakota State’s Nathan Rotert (6-2), Missouri’s Justin Heberlie (7-2) and Nebraska’s Spencer Johnson (4-3). In the final against Missouri’s J’Den Cox, he fell by way of a 14-4 major decision.
Northrup, NIU’s other finalist on the day, was equally as dominant at the outset. The native of Machesney Park, Ill., won a 12-0 major decision against Brance Simms of South Dakota State, then defeated Missouri’s Cole Baumgartner, 9-2, and Augustana (S.D.)’s Austin Jordan, 14-0. In the semifinals, Northrup pinned Southwest Minnesota State’s Justin Reinsma early in the second period. He would cap his day with a 3-0 loss against Missouri’s Matt Manley to claim second.
Taking fourth place on the night was Kevin Fanta. The redshirt senior began the day with three straight victories by decision against unattached Alex Bridgeford, Minnesota State Moorhead’s Angel Vega and North Dakota State’s Mitch Bengston. After falling in the semifinals to Anthony Abidin, Fanta took a walkover against Bridgeford and finished the day with an 11-6 loss against Tony DeAngelo of Missouri.
Morse began the day with major decisions against Missouri’s Matt Lemanowicz and Southwest Minnesota State’s Jake Slocum. After being knocked off in the quarterfinals by James Green of Nebraska, the sophomore bounced back with two wrestle-back wins, including a pin of Southwest Minnesota State’s Codie Lane. Despite being beat by South Dakota State’s Cody Pack, Morse ended the day with a 16-0 technical fall in a rematch with Lemanowicz.
Torrence got off to a hot start, earning a pair of decisions to get to the semifinals.
However, the redshirt senior heavyweight took a loss in the semifinals, then in the subsequent wrestle-back match to settle for fifth place against SDSU’s J.J. Everard – the same person whom Torrence earned a 3-2 win earlier in the day. In the rematch, Torrence did not disappoint, taking an 8-3 victory over the Jackrabbit heavyweight.
Also earning spots on the podium were sixth place finishers Sam Bennett (165 pounds), Matt Mougin (174 – unattached) and Parker Settecase, along with eighth place finisher Trace Engelkes at 165 pounds.
NIU gets back on the mats Saturday when they go to Michigan State for the MSU Open.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.