Dec. 26, 2013
Meet Notes | Live Results
DeKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team ends 2013 in a big way Sunday and Monday, as they make the short trip to Evanston, Ill., for the 51st annual Midlands Championships.
The tournament starts Sunday at 9:30 a.m. inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. Sunday’s action closes with Session II at 7 p.m., while things start again Monday at noon in Session III. The finals begin at 8 p.m. Monday night and will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.
“Midlands tradition is very rich,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “We are fired up to compete in the toughest tournament in the country and look forward to facing some of the nation’s best wrestlers.”
NIU looks to bounce back in Evanston after suffering a 25-6 loss at home to MAC rival Central Michigan. Caleb Busson and Jared Torrence each earned overtime decisions for the Huskies, but Chippewa wins in each of the first seven matches of the day set the tone for the dual.
The Huskies’ opposition at the tournament include some of the Midwest’s and nation’s best programs. The teams headlining the field this season include 13 Top 25 teams and seven ranked in the top 15, including #3 Iowa, #9 Ohio State, #10 Northern Iowa and #11 Illinois.
Live results will be available on NUSports.com.
Projected NIU Lineup
125: Braun Marquez
133: Nick Smith
141: Tyler Argue, Kevin Fanta
149: Gabe Morse, Rob Jillard
157: Andrew Morse
165: Shaun’Qae McMurtry
174: Matt Mougin
184: Caleb Busson
197: Shawn Scott
285: Jared Torrence
History at the Midlands
This year’s Midlands Championships will mark the 28th time and the 24th consecutive year that the Huskies have competed at the Northwestern-hosted meet (since 1969). In fact, NIU has made quite a mark on the tournament. At the inaugural tournament in 1963, NIU Hall of Famer Roy Conrad - who was competing with the Irving Park YMCA after graduating two years prior - won the 177-pound title. Former Huskie Tristan DeShazer won the prestigious Gorriaran Memorial Trophy in 2010 for recording the fastest pin of the tournament.
Scouting the Field
As has annually been the case with the Midlands Championships, the Huskies will be going up against some of the best programs in the Midwest and across the country Sunday and Monday. Of the 44 teams and 30 Division I programs entered in the tournament, 23 are currently ranked in the Top 25 of their respective divisions, including 13 from the NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll. In addition, the field includes eight Big Ten schools (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin) and three other MAC members (Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Northern Iowa).
Seeds of Hope
Heading into the tournament, three Huskies have earned pre-seeds for the Midlands Championships. Leading the way is sophomore Andrew Morse, who has been pegged as the eighth-seeded wrestler at 157. Meanwhile, Andrew’s twin brother, Gabe, is the 10th seed at 149 pounds, while redshirt senior Matt Mougin is the #12 wrestler at 174 pounds.
While the Huskies only have three meets the entire month of December, January will be much busier. In total, NIU will have seven duals on six dates, including four MAC matchups. The only home dates in that stretch are Jan. 4 vs. SIU Edwardsville and Jan. 25 vs. Missouri.
The Huskies ring in the new year Saturday, Jan. 4, when they host in-state rival SIU Edwardsville. The dual against the Cougars starts at 3 p.m. inside Victor E. Court.