March 8, 2014
Day One Brackets | Tournament Central | Live Results | Live Streaming
KENT, Ohio - The Northern Illinois University wrestling team had a positive start to their postseason Saturday in Kent, Ohio, as five Huskies advanced to the second day of the Mid-American Conference Championships.
Seniors Nick Smith, Rob Jillard and Jared Torrence - along with redshirt freshmen Shaun'Qae McMurtry and Shawn Scott - will all wrestle for spots on the podium tomorrow, in addition to possible NCAA automatic bids. As a team, NIU sits in eighth place with 31.5 points, while Northern Iowa paces the field with 97.
"They wrestled hard and ground out some tough situations," said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig about the five advancers. "That's how you win matches in the postseason. It comes down to guts and solid position. Our guys are looking to battle hard in the next session."
McMurtry started his day in a big way with an upset of nationally-ranked Zach Toal of Missouri. Trailing 3-1 in the closing seconds of the third period, the redshirt freshman got a takedown to send the bout into overtime. After some last-second heroics to force overtime, McMurtry scored another takedown in the sudden victory period for a 5-3 win. However, the Lockport, Ill., native dropped his semifinal match against Ohio's Harrison Hightower.
Similarly for Scott, it took a nailbiter for him to get out of the quarterfinals against Kevin Beazley of Old Dominion. The two battled to a 4-4 tie through two periods and Beazley chose down to start the final stanza. Yet, Scott denied the Monarch's escape attempts and fought his way to a 5-4 win courtesy of the riding time advantage. In the semifinals, the Huskie dropped an 11-1 major decision against J'Den Cox of Missouri.
Seniors Smith, Jillard and Torrence each bounced back from early losses to stay alive in the tournament. Smith came seconds away from forcing overtime against the 133 bracket's third-seeded Vincent Pizzuto of Eastern Michigan, but the Eagle's one-minute riding time advantage dealt the Huskie a 5-4 loss. The Ida, Mich., native bounced back, though, with an 8-4 victory over ODU's Michael Hayes.
Jillard's day at 149 started with a 9-4 loss against Alexander Richardson of ODU. Yet, he recovered in the wrestlebacks with a dominating 12-0 major decision over EMU's Nick Barber.
At heavyweight, Torrence had to work overtime in both of his matches. The Huskie suffered a tough 3-1 loss in the quarterfinals against Matt Tourdot of ODU. Facing Kent State's Mimmo Lytle in the consolation bracket, the two battled to a 1-1 tie in regulation and a 2-2 stalemate the first overtime until Torrence ended the match with a takedown in the second round of sudden victory to earn a 4-2 win.
Two other Huskies - Matt Mougin and Caleb Busson - each claim one victory before bowing out of the tournament. Mougin defeated Rrok Ndokaj of Buffalo, 5-0, in the preliminary round, while Busson pinned KSU's Cory Campbell in the wrestleback prelims.
The tournament continues tomorrow inside the M.A.C. Center with placing matches beginning at 11 a.m. CT.
125: Nick Harrison
Del Vinas (Kent State) maj. dec. Nick Harrison (NIU), 10-1
Max Soria (Buffalo) pins Nick Harrison (NIU), 6:03
133: Nick Smith
Vincent Pizzuto (Eastern Michigan) dec. Nick Smith (NIU), 5-4
Nick Smith (NIU) dec. Michael Hayes (Old Dominion), 8-4
141: Tyler Argue
Michael Shaw (Eastern Michigan) dec. Tyler Argue (NIU), 6-1
Nick Flannery (Buffalo) dec. Tyler Argue (NIU), 8-7
149: Rob Jillard
Alexander Richardson (Old Dominion) dec. Rob Jillard (NIU), 9-4
Rob Jillard (NIU) maj. dec. Nick Barber (Eastern Michigan), 12-0
157: Andrew Morse
Wally Maziarz (Buffalo) dec. Andrew Morse (NIU), 4-2
Jarrett Jensen (Northern Iowa) pins Andrew Morse (NIU), 6:25
165: Shaun'Qae McMurtry
Shaun'Qae McMurtry (NIU) dec. Zach Toal (Missouri), 5-3 (SV1)
Harrison Hightower (Ohio) pins Shaun'Qae McMurtry (NIU), 4:36
174: Matt Mougin
Matt Mougin (NIU) dec. Rrok Ndokaj (Buffalo), 5-0
Billy Curling (Old Dominion) dec. Matt Mougin (NIU), 6-1
Caleb Marsh (Kent State) maj. dec. Matt Mougin (NIU), 16-8
184: Caleb Busson
Phillip Joseph (Eastern Michigan) dec. Caleb Busson (NIU), 5-2
Caleb Busson (NIU) pins Cory Campbell (Kent State), 1:41
Craig Kelliher (CMU) dec. Caleb Busson (NIU), 6-1
197: Shawn Scott
Shawn Scott (NIU) dec. Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion), 5-4
J'Den Cox (Missouri) maj. dec. Shawn Scott (NIU), 11-1
285: Jared Torrence
Matt Tourdot (Old Dominion) dec. Jared Torrence (NIU), 3-1 (SV1)
Jared Torrence (NIU) dec. Mimmo Lytle (Kent State), 4-2 (SV2)