Huskies Cruise Past Kent State

By NIU Athletics

KENT, Ohio – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team won seven of ten duals Friday night on their way to a Mid-American Conference victory over Kent State in Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

“I was pleased with the energy level our guys put out there. We did a better job in the top position as well,” commented head wrestling coach Ryan Ludwig.

At 125-pounds, Brock Hudkins (Danville, Ind./Danville) started off the night strong for the Huskies, with a 5-0 decision. Hudkins’ victory was followed by a forfeit accepted by Alijah Jeffery (Marion, Iowa/Linn-Mar), leading to a team score of 9-0, in favor of the Huskies.

No. 13 Steve Bleise (Chelsea, Mich/Chelsea) took a commanding lead after the first period, 4-1, at 149-pounds. By the end of second period, he had stretched his lead to 8, before capping off the dual with a technical fall, 21-6. That is Bleise’s third technical fall of the season.

At 157, No. 31 Caden McWhirter (Pratville, Ala./Pratville) was down 4-2 at the end of the first period, before coming back to take the lead, 5-4, in the second. McWhirter held No. 30 Casey Sparkman scoreless in the third and picked up five additional points of his own, securing the win, 10-4, over his fellow nationally-ranked opponent.

For the third win in as many bouts, Shaun’Qae McMurtry (Lockport, Ill./Nebraska) pinned Isaac Bast in 1 minute and 16 seconds, increasing the Huskies’ lead to 17-3.

This week’s MAC Wrestler of the Week, No. 25 Trace Engelkes (Winnebago, Ill./Winnebago), improved his winning streaked to 5-0 after he held his opponent scoreless with an 8-0 win by major decision with bonus points.

The Golden Flashes picked up their second win of the night when Jerald Spohn pinned Bryce Gorman (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) at 184-pounds.

At 197, No. 11 Shawn Scott (Holly,Mich./Holly) fought back for the Huskies, garnering his 99th career win in a tight 2-1 decision with riding time.

“There’s always things to work on and we will continue to address those issues as we progress,” said Ludwig.

The Huskies will head to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to take on another Mid-American Conference rival, Central Michigan, on Sunday Jan. 27. The dual will be aired on ESPN3 at 12 p.m. CST.

NIU 30, Kent State 12
125 Brock Hudkins (NIU) dec. No. 30 Cory Simpson (Kent State) 5-0
133 Alijah Jeffery forfeit
141 Chance Driscoll (Kent State) dec. Anthony Rubino (NIU) 3-0
149 No. 13 Steve Bleise (NIU) tech fall Tim Rooney (Kent State) 21-6
157 No. 31 Caden McWhirter (NIU) dec. Casey Sparkman (Kent State) 10-4
165 Shaun’Qae McMurtry (NIU) fall Isaac Bast (Kent State)1:16
174 No. 25 Trace Engelkes (NIU) maj. dec. Jared Walker (Kent State) 8-0
184 Jerald Spohn (Kent State) fall Bryce Gorman (NIU) 4:03
197 No. 11 Shawn Scott (NIU) dec. Stephen Suglio (Kent State) 2-1
285 Devin Nye (Kent State) dec. Caleb Gossett (NIU) 5-1

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