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Huskie grapplers Nick Smith, Rob Jillard ranked nationally by

August 22, 2011
Nick Smith

Nick Smith

Northern Illinois wrestlers Nick Smith and Rob Jillard have been ranked among the top 30 nationally in their respective weight classes by, the website announced Monday.

Smith will begin the 2011-12 season ranked 29th at 125 pounds, while Jillard sits at 28th in the 133-pound weight class.

“Anytime you can get a guy mentioned in the national rankings, it is an honor,” head coach Ryan Ludwig said. “I think it is an honor for those guys to be in consideration right now. Both guys had a great summer working out and we’re excited that those guys can be major players for us in the lightweight (classes).”

Smith is coming off a 2010-11 season that saw him post a 22-9 record and seven victories by pinfall – both good for second-best on the team.

Additionally, the Ida, Mich., native notched a team-best six wins via major decision. Smith’s freshman season was also highlighted by third-place finish at the Michigan State Open.

Jillard, who joins the Huskies after transferring from Liberty, registered a 20-12 record for the Flames last year.

The sophomore was tied for second on the team in both pins (six) and major decisions (four), while finishing first in least dual points surrendered (12) and second in overall wins (20). Jillard won the Davidson Open and the NCAA East Regional en route to a spot in the NCAA National Championships.

The Huskies will begin their 2011-12 season Sunday, Nov. 6, when they host Stanford and North Central.

For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit