The Northern Illinois University wrestling team pushed Kent State to the brink Saturday afternoon on Senior Day, but lost on criteria to the Golden Flashes, 19-18.
NIU (6-10, 1-6 MAC) came from behind to tie the match at 18-18 against the Golden Flashes (10-8, 4-2 MAC) with wins at 197 and 285. However, the Huskies ultimately lost the dual, as KSU took the tiebreaker with six wins in the meet.
“I feel good about the way we wrestled,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig.
“Again, what we’ve been working on is closing the gap and working on those little things to get your hand raised. Every match we wrestled out here was an extremely tight bout from 125 on up. Clearly, you can see tonight when we’re offensive an believe in our attacks, we make good things happen. When we sit around and let the match come to us, bad things happen.”
KSU got on the board first when Nick Harrison fell in a 3-2 decision to Alfredo Gray. After surrendering a quick takedown, Harrison tied the match at 2-2 with a pair of escapes, but gave up an escape to begin the third period and provide the final tally.
At 133, Nick Smith and Mack McGuire engaged in a high-scoring affair. After McGuire got out to a quick 4-0 lead following a takedown-nearfall combo, Smith battled back and finished the period trailing only, 4-3. However, McGuire kept Smith at bay and eventually captured a 13-8 decision.
Tyler Argue nearly tied the dual in the first period of the 141 match, only came away with a 4-0 lead against Tyler Small. Small, though, battled back to claim a 6-5 lead after two periods and got a takedown in the final 30 seconds en route to a 9-6 win for the Golden Flashes.
The Huskies, though, countered with back-to-back pins prior to the intermission, giving them a 12-9 lead. Rob Jillard got NIU on the board with a quick pin of Mike DePalma at 149 pounds. That momentum carried over to the 157 match, where Andrew Morse stuck KSU’s T.J. Keklak with 41 seconds remaining in the first period.
The Golden Flashes tied the dual at 165 when Tyler Buckwalter defeated Shaun’Qae McMurtry. Facing a 5-2 deficit late in the third period, McMurtry managed to fight back and send the match into overtime, only to have Buckwalter get the deciding takedown in sudden victory.
Caleb Marsh gave the lead back to the Golden Flashes in the 174 match, as he scored a 7-2 decision against Billy Chancey. The KSU lead pushed to 18-12 when Caleb Busson fell to 13th-ranked Sam Wheeler, 10-5.
Shawn Scott kept the Huskies alive with a 6-4 decision in sudden victory over Cole Baxter. Trailing by two with less than a minute left in regulation, the NIU redshirt freshman executed a reversal to send the match into overtime. From there, Scott landed the single leg and scored a takedown for the winning margin.
Jared Torrence would cap the day with a 1-0 victory over Mimmo Lytle in the heavyweight match. Torrence scored an escape in the second period, but was unable to earn bonus points via major decision or pin.
NIU goes on the road next weekend, as they head to Brookings, S.D., to face the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Friday, Feb. 14. The dual starts at 7 p.m. inside SDSU’s Frost Arena.
Kent State 19, NIU 18
125: Alfredo Gray (KSU) dec. Nick Harrison (NIU), 3-2
133: Mack McGuire (KSU) dec. Nick Smith (NIU), 13-8
141: Tyler Small (KSU) dec. Tyler Argue (NIU), 9-6
149: Rob Jillard (NIU) pins Mike DePalma (KSU), 0:46
157: Andrew Morse (NIU) pins T.J. Keklak (KSU), 2:19
165: Tyler Buckwalter (KSU) dec. Shaun’Qae McMurtry (NIU), 8-6 (SV1)
174: Caleb Marsh (KSU) dec. Billy Chancey (NIU), 7-2
184: #13 Sam Wheeler (KSU) dec. Caleb Busson (NIU), 10-5
197: Shawn Scott (NIU) dec. Cole Baxter (KSU), 6-4 (SV1)
285: Jared Torrence (NIU) dec. Mimmo Lytle (KSU), 1-0
*Kent State wins on criteria (six wins to four)
For more information on NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.