Huskies Win Two-of-Three At Wendy Duals
Jan. 20, 2008
ASHLAND, Ohio - The Northern Illinois wrestling team outscored its opponents 89-34 and won two out of three matches at the 19th Annual Wendy's Big Classic Duals, Sunday.
In NIU's opening match versus the Liberty, the Huskies opened up a 14-0 lead, then cruised to a 43-4 win over the Flames. Northern Illinois athletes earned four major decisions, two pins and a forfeit, leading to the lopsided final tally.
Against Cleveland State, the Huskies won seven of the opening eight bouts to build a 28-3 lead. Northern Illinois won the dual 31-9.
In the day's middle match, Purdue overcame an early 10-0 NIU lead to defeat the Huskies 24-16.
True freshman TJ Wunnicke (Dodgeville, Wis./Dodgeville) highlighted Northern Illinois' weekend, which included Friday's 26-10 Mid-American Conference win over Ohio, with three pins and a technical fall victory.
"The guy that came out toughest was TJ," head coach Dave Grant said. "He scored 23 points for our team this weekend. That little guy is a tough dude."
"Of course, Pat went 3-0 and Duke went 3-0," Grant said. "Pat had quite a few takedowns this weekend, and he's a real spark plug for our program. We continue to count on those guys for the leadership every time out."
The Huskies have also been depending on their freshman to perform. In addition to Wunnicke's 3-0 day, true freshmen Bryan O'Connor (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North) and Brad Dieckhaus (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell Central) combined to go 4-2 with two major decisions.
"The real nice thing is the performance of our younger guys, with Dieckhaus and O'Connor wrestling well," Grant said. "The sky is the limit with these young guys because they've got so much room to improve, but I'm impressed with the way they're wrestling."
Overall, the 12th-year head coach was satisfied with his team's 3-1 weekend.
"I think it was very successful," he said. "We would've liked to go 4-0, but on the same token, I thought we wrestled harder than Purdue, but just didn't capitalize on our aggressiveness."
Grant also said he was impressed by the outing of senior heavyweight Dave Benner (Fowler, Ind./Benton Central), who went 2-0 at the duals.
The Huskies continue their MAC schedule Jan. 25 in DeKalb against Kent State.
Northern Illinois 43, Liberty 4
Purdue 24, Northern Illinois 16
Northern Illinois 30, Cleveland State, 6
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