Steve Bleise Defeats All-American, Huskies Fall to No. 17 Central Michigan

By NIU Athletics

Mount Pleasant, Mich. – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team was defeated by MAC foe, No. 17 Central Michigan. The Chippewas rolled passed the Huskies in a 33-6 dual.

The Huskies (6-6, 2-4 MAC) were able to pull out two wins against the nationally ranked Chippewas (5-2, 3-2 MAC).

Central Michigan began the dual with a six point lead as the Huskies put up a forfeit at 125-pounds. The Chippewas went on to take the next two matches.

The Huskies saw their first win at 149-pounds when Michigan native No. 13 Steve Bleise (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) had the standout performance of the afternoon against No. 6 All-American Justin Oliver. Both wrestlers are ranked nationally and have over 20 wins each on the season.

In the first period, Bleise had a takedown coupled with 4 nearfall points to earn the early lead. He dominated on offense and had control of the first three minutes. Next, Oliver was awarded the takedown, but it did not come easy. Bleise was working around him trying to get the takedown by stretching out and staying up on defense but it was eventually awarded to Oliver. No points were awarded until the final buzzer when Oliver had a takedown. It wasn’t enough, as Bleise walked away with the decision, 7-6.

Head Coach Ryan Ludwig was pleased with how Bleise wrestled against a tough opponent saying, “Steve put together a nice match to get the win over an All-American. He’s making adjustments and progressing.”

Coming off a pin on Friday night against Kent State, at 165, Shaun’Qae McMurtry (Lockport, Ill./Nebraska) went 2-0 on the weekend by shutting out his opponent in a 4-0 decision. McMurtry kept the first period scoreless and applied pressure during the second while remaining in control. McMurtry was able to secure points in the third period by way of a takedown. His strength and perseverance enabled him to win.

Ludwig commended McMurtry on his efforts this weekend, “Shaun’Qae wrestled really tough and slapped a tough ride on his opponent. I was pleased with the way he conducted his business all weekend.”

At 184-pounds, Bryce Gorman (Manhattan, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) put up a fight and was able to scramble away from a headlock for the better part of the first period. Although his defense was strong, Jordan Ellingwood was able to win in a low-scoring 3-1 decision.

The Huskies will be back in action as they head to Missouri to take on the Tigers in a Mid-American Conference dual on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m.

Full results are listed below:

125: Brent Fleetwood (CMU) won by void.
133: Corey Keener (CMU) dec. Alijah Jeffery (NIU), 7-2
141: Mason Smith (CMU) pinned Anthony Rubino (NIU), 2:21
149: No. 13 Steve Bleise (NIU) dec. Justin Oliver (CMU), 7-6
157: No. 7 Colin Heffernan (CMU) major dec. No. 31 Caden McWhirter (NIU), 9-1
165: Shaun’Qae McMurtry (NIU) dec. Logan Parks (CMU), 4-0
174: CJ Brucki (CMU) tech. fall No. 25 Trace Engelkes (NIU), 15-0, 3:20
184: No. 16 Jordan Ellingwood (CMU) dec. Bryce Gorman (CMU), 4-1
197: No. 18 Austin Severn (CMU) dec. No. 11 Shawn Scott (NIU), 4-3
HWT: Newton Smerchek (CMU) dec. Caleb Gossett (NIU), 2-0

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Written by Mike Bare

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