The Northern Illinois University wrestling team comes back to DeKalb this weekend, as they host the No. 7 Missouri Tigers Saturday in the inaugural Military Appreciation Meet.
The dual starts at 3 p.m. inside Victor E. Court. As part of the meet, the Huskies will don special “Stars and Stripes” singlets.
“Momentum is a great thing, but you’ve always got to build it yourself,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Intensity and focus are key elements in a wrestling match and the guys have been bringing that kind of attitude to practice every day.”
The Huskies are coming off a successful 2-1 weekend on the road in Michigan and Ohio. Friday night, NIU picked up its first Mid-American Conference win of the season with a 24-9 victory against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Two days later at the Wendy’s Duals, the Huskies defeated Ashland, 36-6, before falling to No. 22 Purdue, 26-12.
On the other side of the mat will be Missouri – the nation’s seventh-ranked team according to the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll.
Last weekend, the Tigers improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the MAC with a tight 16-15 victory at Central Michigan. MU’s lineup features five individuals positioned in the InterMat rankings, including top-ranked Drake Houdashelt at 149 and sixth-ranked J’Den Cox at 197 pounds. The Tigers face fellow conference associate member Northern Iowa Friday night before coming to DeKalb.
“Our schedule is as demanding as any in the country,” Ludwig said about NIU’s daunting schedule, as MU marks the fifth Top 25 team the Huskies have faced this year. “Our team wants to lace them up with top competition every week and be prepared to make a strong push in March. Missouri is another challenge we see as an opportunity.”