The Northern Illinois University wrestling team advanced two wrestlers to Day Two of the Midlands Championships, as junior Tyler Argue and sophomore Andrew Morse moved one step closer Sunday to getting on the podium at one of the nation’s toughest tournaments.
As a team, the Huskies are tied for 17th with Rider with 18.5 points. Both Argue and Morse are looking to become the first NIU wrestlers to place at the Midlands since Brian Deutsch took seventh in the 2010 tournament.
Following an injury default win to start the day, Argue advanced to the quarterfinals following a close 7-6 victory over Utah Valley’s Avery Garner. The junior couldn’t get to the semifinals, though, as 12th-seeded Pat Greco of Northwestern bested him in a 5-3 decision. Argue will now face Sahid Kargbo of George Mason in wrestlebacks tomorrow.
Morse, ranking as the six seed at 157 pounds, started strong with a 5-2 win over Michigan’s Jake Salazar. After a loss to Nebraska’s Destin McCauley knocked him out of the championship bracket, the sophomore stayed alive with a pair of pins in wrestleback matches. First, Morse stuck Danny Orem of Maryland in the first period, followed by a second-period pin of Illinois’ Jake Gingerich. He’ll take on Columbia’s Chad Ryan in his first match of Session III.
Matt Mougin was the other Huskie to claim multiple wins on the day, taking two at 174 pounds. The redshirt senior defeated Edinboro’s Patrick Jennings in a 6-4 decision to start the day, but lost to third-seeded and #20-nationally Elliot Riddick of Lehigh to fall to the consolation bracket. Mougin stayed alive with a 9-8 win over Indiana’s Nate Jackson, but was knocked out by Utah Valley’s Monte Schmalhaus in a 6-2 decision.
At 149 pounds, Jillard dropped his first match of the day to third-seeded and eighth nationally-ranked Dave Habat of Edinboro, but bounced back with a pin of Chicago’s Jacob Smith before falling to Andrew Crane of Wisconsin.
McMurtry opened his tournament with a 6-1 loss to third-seeded Taylor Massa of Michigan. However, the Chicago-area native scored a 6-4 overtime win against Cal Poly’s Travis Berridge in wrestlebacks, only to be eliminated by Edinboro’s Zach Towers.
Busson’s day began with a 6-3 victory over Northwestern’s Mitchell Sliga. Yet, the redshirt junior suffered losses to 11th-seeded Domenic Abounader of Michigan and sixth-seeded Jackson Hein of Wisconsin to see his day come to a premature end.
For Scott, he opened the Midlands with a 9-3 win against 2013 Division III All-American Shane Siefert of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Much like Busson, though, he took an overtime defeat against sixth-seeded and nationally-ranked Chris Penny of Virginia Tech, then bowed out following a tight 5-4 loss to Utah Valley’s Derek Thomas.
The Midlands action continues today with Session III, as three consolation rounds, semifinals and seventh place matches will be contested in each weight class. Session IV is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.