ELMHURST, Ill. -- Returning to College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) action as the No.14-ranked team in the nation, the North Central College wrestling team made a statement in more ways than one on Thursday evening, defeating the Elmhurst College Bluejays 35-10 and taking home the trophy for the first annual Battle for the Birdnest.
Receiving a win by forfeit at the 125 weight class, North Central took an early 6-0 lead, but the Bluejays earned two significant wins after No. 6-ranked Anthony Munoz defeated Marc Fleenor by a 20-9 major decision at 133 pounds and Jimmy McAulife pinned Anthony Rink at the 3:47 at 141 pounds.
North Central did not let Elmhurst get too comfortable with a 10-6 lead as Rafael Roman pinned John Prieto in 6:08 at 149 pounds to put his team ahead 12-10. It was the last time the Bluejays would take the lead in the match.
At 157 pounds, Egan Berta added four points to the team score with a 15-3 win by major decision over Austin Maher. Cam Hayes added a second pin for the Cardinals at 165, taking down Gunnar Hjorth in 3:27.
Leading 22-10 going into the 174 match, North Central was looking to keep the momentum rolling, but would have to fight to do so. Matt Marcotte defeated Nevin Brittain in a close 5-4 decision at 174 and Josh Bouie edged out a 6-5 decision over Mark Miller at 184 pounds. No. 9-ranked Tyler Vittal added three more points to the team score in another close decision at 197 pounds, defeating Leo Ortiz 3-2 and giving the Cardinals a sizable 31-10 lead.
Knowing the team had won the match and remained a perfect 3-0 in CCIW duals, Emonte Logan put the exclamation point on the dual with a 16-4 win by major decision at 285 in his first match of the season, making the final score 35-10 in favor of the Cardinals.
The Cardinals (9-2, 3-0 CCIW) return to Elmhurst College on Saturday, Jan. 13 for the Elmhurst College Invitational. Matches are set to begin at 9 a.m.
125 - Moe Mitchell (NCC) received forfeit
133 - Anthony Munoz (Elmhurst) def. Marc Fleenor by major decision 20-9
141 - Jimmy McAuliffe (Elmhurst) pinned Anthony Rink in 3:47
149 - Rafael Roman (NCC) pinned John Prieto in 6:08
157 - Egan Berta (NCC) def. Austin Maher by major decision 15-3
165 - Cam Hayes (NCC) pinned Gunnar Hjorth in 3:27
174 - Matt Marcotte (NCC) def. Nevin Brittain by decision 5-4
184 - Josh Bouie (NCC) def. Mark Miller by decision 6-5
197 - Tyler Vittal (NCC) def. Leo Ortiz by decision 3-2
285 - Emonte Logan (NCC) def. Karim Fuentes by major decision 16-4.