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Wrestlers hit road Friday to grapple with Ohio

January 12, 2012
Mike Lukowski

Mike Lukowski

The Northern Illinois wrestling team will return to Mid-American Conference action Friday, when they travel to Athens, Ohio, to face the Ohio Bobcats.

The meet, which begins at 6 p.m. CT, will be a critical one for both teams, as each will be looking for their first MAC win of the season.

“Anytime you head into conference action, the intensity is high,” said Huskie head coach Ryan Ludwig.

“We’re coming off a hard-fought win, so hopefully we can carry some momentum into this match.”

The Huskies enter the dual with a 6-4 record after taking down Lock Haven in dramatic fashion Jan. 8.

Trailing 16-3 midway through the match, NIU stormed back to take the victory by winning the final five matches, including a pin by Derek Elmore and a major decision by Mike Lukowski.

The Bobcats, meanwhile, come into Friday’s showdown with a 1-3 overall record and a 0-2 conference mark in dual action. Ohio’s four duals, though, were all decided by eight points or less, including a 17-15 loss to Central Michigan Dec. 3 and an 18-17 heartbreaker at Chattanooga on Dec. 12.

The squad has found success in major tournaments, placing eighth at the Reno Tournament of Champions and 10th at the Southern Scuffle. The Bobcats are led on the mat by 2011 NCAA qualifiers Nick Purdue at 174 and Jeremy Johnson at 285.

Friday’s dual will be the 20th meeting all-time between the Huskies and Bobcats since 1969. NIU holds a 10-8-1 advantage in the series, but Ohio has taken the last three matches between the two, including last year’s 30-11 decision in DeKalb. The last Huskie victory in the series came on Jan. 18, 2008, with a 26-10 win in Athens.

The match will also be the Huskies’ first of six-straight road meets, as the team will not have a home meet again until Feb. 12 when they host SIU-Edwardsville and Tiffin.

For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit