EDWARDSVILLE - The Northern Illinois wrestling team recorded two wins Sunday afternoon in Edwardsville, Ill., as the Huskies defeated Southern Conference foes Appalachian State and SIU Edwardsville.
With the wins, NIU improved to 7-3 on the year, putting them one victory away from matching last season's win total.
NIU Downs Mountaineers, 26-12
The Huskies began the day with a big non-conference win against perennial SoCon contender Appalachian State, defeating the Mountaineers, 26-12.
"We came out and battled hard," said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. "I liked our mindset for the most part. Mental toughness is key."
NIU got into an early hole against ASU when Derek Elmore dropped a 9-2 decision to Dominic Parisi at 125 pounds. Yet, Northern turned their fortunes around when Nick Smith beat Brett Boston at 133 by a 6-2 margin, tying the meet up at three.
From there, the Huskies took control of the match with three consecutive wins - two of which with bonus points. At 141, Kevin Fanta, who was making his dual meet debut of the year, scored a 15-5 major decision against ASU's Chris Johnson to put NIU up 7-3. Following Shawn Fayette's 6-1 win against Zach Kechter, Andrew Morse earned his first career pin when he stuck Collins Creech late in the second period, giving NIU an insurmountable 16-3 advantage.
ASU threatened to come back with two consecutive wins to get within seven. Dan Burk lost to Zack Strickland by a narrow 4-3 decision at 165, followed by Colin Hedash defeating Matt Mougin, 9-7, at 174 pounds.
Bryan Loughlin stemmed the Mountaineers' momentum with a convincing 12-4 win against Jon Hartley at 184 pounds, putting NIU up, 20-9. After Parker Settecase dropped a narrow 5-4 decision against Paul Weiss at 197, Jared Torrence put the finishing touches on the Huskie win with a second period pin of Joe Cummings at heavyweight.
Huskies Rout Cougars, 31-13
NIU completed their stay in suburban St. Louis by dominating the homestanding Cougars of SIU Edwardsville, 31-13. The win was the Huskies' 20th consecutive win over their downstate rivals.
"We looked better in the top position," Ludwig said. "I thought we wrestled with a scoring mindset on all positions."
The Huskies started on a fast note with a forfeit win at 125 for a 6-0 lead. Nick Smith added to that advantage when he beat SIUE's wins leader Patrick Myers in a tight 4-3 decision to put Northern up, 9-0. Kevin Fanta widened that margin even further when he pinned Brandon Brindley at 4:35 to put NIU ahead by 15.
The Cougars kept the Huskies close, though, after Dillon Pousson stuck Shawn Fayette in the first period at 149 pounds. However, Andrew Morse got his second big win of the day when he shutout Kyle Lowman in a 10-0 major decision.
Sam Bennett helped get that lead to 25-6 when he pinned Logun Taylor midway through the first period. Following Dan Burk's 6-1 loss at 174 to Jake Residori, Bryan Loughlin shut the door on SIUE when earned a 10-9 win against Derek Nagel.
After Parker Settecase lost to Josh Wood at 197, Jared Torrence earned an overtime 6-1 win with a takedown in the first sudden victory round against David Devine.
NIU gets back to the mat on Friday, Jan. 11, when they host Mid-American Conference rival Ohio in the Convocation Center. The match between the Huskies and Bobcats gets started at 7 p.m.