NIU wins battle of in-state teams

By NIU Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After a disappointing dual Friday night, the Northern Illinois University wrestling team was able to come back strong Saturday night, walking away with a win against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

This was the third consecutive season the two teams faced each other as part of the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation Convention at the Prairie Capital Convention in Springfield. The Huskies (4-4, 0-3 MAC) emerged victorious, 18-16, despite an early 7-0 lead by the Cougars (1-8, 1-1 SoCon).

Zackary Velasquez (Ione, Calif./Grand Canyon University) and No. 13 Steve Bleise (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) secured back-to-back wins to bring the score within one point. Velasquez dominated with a convincing 9-3 decision at 141 pounds. In the next bout (at 149 pounds), Bleise took John Fahy into overtime but found a way to ensure it was his own hand that was raised at the conclusion of the match.

The Huskies continued their rally when Shaun’Qae McMurtry (Lockport, Ill./Nebraska) stepped onto the mat at 165 pounds. McMurtry shutout his opponent, Clayton Bass, in a 4-0 decision. At 174, Trace Engelkes (Winnebago, Ill./Winnebago) remained undefeated over weekend, winning by decision, 3-1.

Trailing by one-point, Bryce Gorman (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) stepped up and got the job done with a 3-0 win over Jake Godinez to give the Huskies’ their first lead of the night. At 197, No. 10 Shawn Scott (Holly, Mich./Holly) followed suit, pulling out the fourth win in a row for Northern.

“This is a great win for us in that we fought through adversity and found a way,” said head coach Ryan Ludwig.

The Huskies hope to continue their momentum as they host Mid-American Conference rival, Eastern Michigan, on Friday in DeKalb, Ill. at Victor E. Court.

NIU 18, SIU-E 16
125 Freddie Rodriquez (SIUE) maj. dec. Kirk Johansen (NIU) 14-4
133 John Muldoon (SIUE) dec. Alijah Jeffery (NIU) 5-3
141 Zackary Velasquez (NIU) dec. Trevor Feagans (SIUE) 9-3
149 Steve Bleise (NIU) SV-1 John Fahy (SIUE) 4-2
157 Karsten Van Velsor (SIUE) pin Caden McWhirter (NIU) 4:51
165 Shaun’Qae McMurtry (NIU) dec. Clayton Bass (SIUE) 4-0
174 Trace Engelkes (NIU) dec. Jake Residori (SIUE) 3-1
184 Bryce Gorman (NIU) dec. Jake Godinez (SUIE) 3-0
197 Shawn Scott (NIU) dec. Jake Tindle (SIUE) 4-1
285 Jake McKiernan (SIUE) dec. Caleb Gossett (NIU) 7-0

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Written by Mike Bare

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