By NIU Athletics
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team’s winning streak was extended to four after a dominating 38-4 victory over Little Rock Friday night at the Convocation Center.
The Huskies (8-3, 3-1) won nine of the 10 bouts, earning bonus points in five matches. NIU tallied a pair of tech fall victories, a maj. dec. win, a pin and forfeit. With the win, the Huskies matched last year’s win total.
“I thought the guys did a great job battling through some tough situations,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “There’s always adversity in wrestling matches. Nothing ever goes to chalk out there. You have this visual of everything going your way and they call it wrestling for a reason. It’s a struggle.
“I liked the way our guys, they were able to fight and scrap and come out on top in all those battles. I thought we had a good effort up and down. We have a lot of cleaning up to do and we know that.”
After falling behind 4-3 through the first two bouts, the Huskies took a lead they would not relinquish after 141. Anthony Gibson scored a 7-1 victory over Conner Ward sparking an eight-match run by NIU.
McCoy Kent was pushed at 149, but won in overtime, 8-6, while Dylan Thurston battled to claim a 9-7 decision at 157. Trailing 5-1 heading into the third period, Thurston closed the gap to 5-3, however, an escape by Jose Champagne pushed the deficit to 6-3. Thurston rallied for a takedown and four-point nearfall to take a lead 9-6.
That would be the closest bout the rest of the night. Izzak Olejnik posted an 8-0 maj. dec. win at 165, while Kenny Moore and Brit Wilson earned back-to-back tech fall victories at 174 and 184, respectively.
Gage Braun capped the evening’s action with a pin with 45 seconds left in the first period at 197. The Huskies’ last victory of the night came by forfeit as Max Ihry did not have an opponent to face at 285.
NIU returns to conference action Saturday, Jan. 25 when the Huskies travel to Columbia, Mo. to face Missouri. The match is slated for 2 p.m.
NIU 38, Little Rock 4
125: Bryce West (NIU) dec. Jayden Carson (UALR), 13-10
133: Paul Bianchi (UALR) maj. dec. Caleb Brooks (NIU), 16-3
141: Anthony Gibson (NIU) dec. Conner Ward (UALR), 7-1
149: McCoy Kent (NIU) dec. Tyler Brennan (UALR), SV-1 8-6
157: Dylan Thurston (NIU) dec. Jose Champagne (UALR), 9-7
165: Izzak Olejnik (NIU) maj. dec. William Edgar (UALR), 8-0
174: Kenny Moore (NIU) tech fall Tristan Tadeo (UALR), 18-1 4:27
184: Brit Wilson (NIU) tech fall Matthew Muller (UALR), 20-3 4:14
197: Gage Braun (NIU) fall James Johnson (UALR), 2:15
285: Max Ihry (NIU) over Drake Barbee (UALR) (For.)
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