Overall, the team will compete in 17 duals and five regular season tournaments during the season as they search for the program’s 500th dual win.
Currently, the Huskies have accumulated 490 dual victories since the wrestling program was established in 1931.
“I’m extremely pleased with the way it came together,” Ludwig said. “We’ve got a great mix of teams from the west coast and out east – a lot of teams we don’t traditionally see here in the Midwest.”
After the Wrestle Offs on Oct. 29, Ludwig and the Huskies will open their dual schedule Nov. 6, when they welcome Stanford and Division III power North Central to the Chick Evans Field House. The triangular will be the first wrestling meet at the venerable facility since Feb. 8, 2002, when NIU toppled SIU-Edwardsville, 37-9.
“We’re looking at doing a bit of a throwback situation with the crowd there getting a good feel,” the first year head coach said. “It will let our guys experience a different venue, maybe a little like it was in the beginning of the Huskie days.”
The team will head to East Lansing, Mich., the following weekend for the Michigan State Open, which annually features some of the best wrestlers in the Midwest. Two weeks later, the Huskies will battle Indiana, SIU-Edwardsville and Campbell in the Hoosier Duals.
NIU returns home Dec. 1, when they host Big Ten foe Purdue in the annual Showcase Meet. The meet with the Boilermakers will be the first time the two schools have meet since Nov. 15, 2008, when Purdue topped the Huskies, 32-9. The Huskies will wrap up the 2011 half of their dual slate on Dec. 21, when they open their Mid-American Conference slate against Kent State, while also facing Cleveland State and Cumberland inside the Convocation Center.
Despite having a daunting non-conference schedule, Ludwig believes the true test for the Huskies this year will come from within the conference.
“We wrestle teams from all around the country as far as the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, but it always boils down to Mid-American Conference competition,” he said. “That’s the true litmus test and the ultimate goal is to win the MAC title.”
Following a year-end trip to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships, the NIU grapplers ring in 2012 with a Jan. 8 dual with Lock Haven. The team then embarks on a month-long road trip that takes them to Ohio on Jan. 13, Central Michigan on Jan. 20, Eastern Michigan on Jan. 22 and Northwestern on Feb. 3 before they return Feb. 12 to the Convocation Center against Tiffin and SIUE.
The Huskies wrap up their regular season with a Senior Day match-up against Buffalo on Feb. 18, then head to Athens, Ohio, for the 2012 MAC Wrestling Championships on March 4. NIU also will be looking to extendits 40-year streak of sending at least one wrestler to the NCAA National Championships, which will take place March 15 to March 17 in St. Louis.