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Wrestlers kick off 2012 against Lock Haven

January 6, 2012
Rob Jillard

Rob Jillard

Members of the Northern Illinois wrestling team gets the second half of their season under way Sunday, Jan. 8, inside the NIU Convocation Center when they face Eastern Wrestling League foe Lock Haven.

The 2 p.m. meet will be a part of the inaugural Beauty and the Beast Meet, where the Huskies will compete alongside the gymnastics team – who faces rival UIC – on the Convocation Center floor.

“It’s the inaugural event, so I think it will be a good opportunity for both wrestling and gymnastics programs to put on a show for the crowd,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Hopefully that gets a lot of people in the stands.”

The Bald Eagles enter the weekend with a 3-3 record, taking wins against The Citadel, American International and MAC member Buffalo.

LHU’s strength comes at its lighter weights, as Bobby Rehm (23-9 at 125), Matt Bonson (12-4 at 141) and Owen WIlkinson (20-8 at 149) power the Bald Eagles’ lineup. Sunday’s meet will be their second in two days, as LHU faces Illinois Saturday afternoon in Champaign.

“Lock Haven’s got a young and scrappy team with some talented young wrestlers,” Ludwig said. “They have kind of the same team makeup that we have, so we’re looking forward to scrapping it up with those guys.”

“They’re a Pennsylvania team with a lot of tradition in that program, so we’re looking forward to that.”

The Huskies are coming off of a trip to Evanston, Ill., for the 49th annual Midlands Championships, where they took 26th place with 17.5 points. Rob Jillard led the way for NIU with a 4-2 record, while Shawn Fayette (141), Matt Smith (149) and Jared Torrence (285) also won multiple matches at the two-day tournament.

Sunday’s matchup will mark the fourth time since 1969 that the two schools have faced each other, with the Bald Eagles holding a 2-1 advantage. NIU won the last meet between the two in 2006, when they upended the Bald Eagles, 19-15, at the Wendy’s Classic in Ashland, Ohio.

NIU also has won their last three against EWL members, including their 38-0 dismantling Dec. 21 of Cleveland State.

For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit