Oct. 7, 2011
DeKALB -With the new season only one month away, the Northern Illinois wrestling team opens up their first practice Monday, Oct. 10, in the Huskie Wrestling Room.
First year head coach Ryan Ludwig, who succeeded long-time head coach Dave Grant at the end of last season, has already lead the Huskies through their preseason training. Heading into the full practice schedule, Ludwig feels that the team has made steady improvements.
"The guys really responded to the call in our preseason training," Ludwig said. "The level of intensity and focus has been outstanding so far. The first official practice is an exciting time because it is a reminder that competition is right around the corner."
The 2011-12 team will feature a mix of experience and youth. On one side, the team has 15 freshmen on the roster in what was ranked as one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Meanwhile, they also return 10 letterwinners and six starters from last year. Among the returnees are NCAA Nationals qualifier Brad Dieckhaus and 22-match winner Nick Smith. The team also boasts a second NCAA qualifier from 2010-11 in Rob Jillard, who comes to NIU after wrestling with Liberty a season ago.
Despite the accomplishments from last season, Ludwig acknowledges that the hard work needs to be focused on this season.
"There is always work to do and improvements to be made," he said. "Now we will hone in on the next challenge as we train for our first home meet."
NIU opens their regular season inside the Convocation Center on Sunday, Nov. 6, when they welcome national power Stanford and North Central.