CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Northern Illinois wrestling team capped their 2012-13 regular season Sunday afternoon with wins against Gardner-Webb and Cleveland State.
The pair of victories bumps NIU's record to 10-8 on the season. The Huskies also exceeded their dual win total (eight) from a season ago in the first year under head coach Ryan Ludwig.
Huskies Outpace Runnin' Bulldogs, 22-12
NIU began the day with a come-from-behind win over the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Buldogs, 22-12. Despite trailing 9-6 at the midway point, the Huskies captured four of the last five matches to emerge victorious.
"I thought we started slow against Gardner-Webb," Ludwig said. "Parker (Settecase) was able to get the ball rolling with great intensity at 197. Jared (Torrence) had a big win over a nationally-ranked opponent in (Travis) Porter. Andrew Morse wrestled with great focus to defeat a returning NCAA qualifier in Medved."
The Huskies fell behind early with a pair of losses by decision. Matt Mougin fell in a tight 5-3 decision at 174 pounds against Hunter Gamble. Following that, Bryan Loughlin dropped a 9-4 loss against Gray Jones at 184.
Yet, NIU won the next two to tie the dual at six apiece. The rally began when Parker Settecase scored a 9-4 decision over Blake Salyer at 197. Jared Torrence knotted the dual up at heavyweight by notching a 5-3 win against Travis Porter, a victory that should boost the Huskie heavyweight's NCAA chances.
The Runnin' Bulldogs, though, moved back into the lead following the 125 pounds match. Derek Elmore fell in an overtime heartbreaker to Cortez Starks, 7-5.
That point would be the last lead GWU would hold. Nick Smith gave the Huskies their first lead of the day behind a convincing 17-6 major decision against Robbie Golde at 133. NIU got a lot more breathing room courtesy of Kevin Fanta's second period pin of Davante Andujar.
Two more decisions gave NIU 16 straight points and a 22-9 lead. Rob Jillard scored a 7-3 win against Ryan Medved at 149. The Huskie scoring was completed when Andrew Morse registered a huge 7-2 win against 2012 NCAA qualifier Alex Medved. GWU put the final points on the board when Sam Bennett fell to Justin Guthrie, 4-3.
NIU Conquers Vikings, 26-11
Northern Illinois capped their day with a convincing 26-11 win against the Cleveland State Vikings.
"We started out of the gate much better against an improved Cleveland State squad," Ludwig said. "(Bryan) Loughlin won a hard-fought battle. Jared (Torrence) came out on the wrong end of a controversial match. He pushed the pace and wrestled hard. Nick Smith beat a very dangerous opponent with a great deal of hustle."
The Huskies set the tone early against CSU by racing out to an early 13-0 lead. Matt Mougin started things at 174 with a 12-3 major decision against Koort Leyrer. Bryan Loughlin built on that momentum by scoring a 9-3 win against Bobby Blankenship. However, NIU grabbed full control of the dual when Parker Settecase pinned Corbin Boone early in the second period.
The Vikings moved closer by taking three of the next four matches, trimming the NIU lead to 16-8. Jared Torrence lost in overtime at heavyweight to Riley Shaw, 3-1, with a questionable takedown call. Derek Elmore dropped an 8-3 decision against Ben Willeford. During that match, Cleveland State was penalized one team point for a bench foul.
Nick Smith kept CSU at bay by defeating Mike Carlone in an 8-5 decision at 133, putting NIU ahead, 16-5. Tyler Argue, making a spot start for Kevin Fanta at 141, lost in a 10-6 decision against Nick Flannery.
Similar to the previous dual of the day, NIU put the dual away with wins at 149 and 157. Rob Jillard scored a 14-2 major decision against R.J. LaBeef. Andrew Morse followed that up with a third period pin against Mike Mencini at 157. Sam Bennett closed the dual with a 7-5 loss against Corey Carlo.
"Overall, I think we can take a lot of things away from this weekend, both positive and negative, that we will figure out and apply at the MAC tournament," Ludwig said. "