Dec. 30, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University wrestling team finished in 26th at the 47th Annual Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern Illinois, seeing solid performances from its younger grapplers and one of its veterans.
One of the bright spots for NIU was the effort turned in by senior Dan Ruettiger (Joliet, Ill./Providence). He went 3-2 on the day at 149 with all three victories coming via pin, defeating Alex Hudson of Tennessee-Chattanooga, pinning him in 6:08. Ruettiger then scored his second victory of the day, pinning Nick Jones of SIU-Edwardsville in 5:23, before falling to Bucknell's Kevin LeValley by major decision, 15-4.
"He wrestled well," NIU head coach Dave Grant said of Ruettiger. "He's worked really hard and wrestled pretty tough."
Ruettiger scored his third pin of the day in the wrestlebacks, defeating Maryland's Jon Kohler by fall, 2:49. His run in the tournament came to an end when he lost to James Fleming of Clarion, 9-5, thus ending the Huskies' run in the Midlands Championships.
Several young Huskies wrestled well into the afternoon of the first day. Vince Castillo (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township) had a solid showing at 141 winning his opening match over Juan Archuleta of Purdue, 3-1. He then won his first match in the wrestlebacks, defeating John Regan of Bucknell, 8-6, before falling to Dale Fava by pin. Tristen DeShazer (Wichita, Kan./Wichita West), who turned in a strong performance at last year's Midlands, won his opening match, defeating Jimmy Conroy of Pittsburgh, 4-2, at 133 but lost his final two matches.
"I was impressed by the performances of the young guys," Grant said. "They worked hard and wrestled well. It was a good experience for them."
Redshirt sophomore John Odeen (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) fought hard in the wrestlebacks at 165, winning two straight matches before falling to Karl DeCiantis of Pittsburgh. Two Huskies wrestled well at 174 as Derrick Yant (Delta, Ohio/Pike-Delta-York) went 1-2 on the day, winning his first match of the day, while Mason True (Arcadia, Ohio/Arcadia) also posted a 1-2 record winning a match in the wrestlebacks.
Freshman Zach Benzio (Connellsville, Pa./Connellsville Area) went 1-2 in his first Midlands, winning his first match, defeating Chad Friend of Central Michigan at 184. Dakota Greenhaw (Monett, Mo./Monett) went 1-2 at 285 defeating John Burke of Triton, 3-1.