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Northern Illinois takes season-opening doubleheader

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois University wrestling team opened the 2021 campaign with a doubleheader victory over Bellarmine and SIUE at First Community Arena Sunday.

"They guys found a way to secure both dual meet victories today, so it was a nice way to start," said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. "We are looking to compete at our best, however, and in those terms, we have some work to do. There are some critical situations we will get back to the room and work on as we prepare for our next opponent."

The Huskies (2-0, 1-0) handled Bellarmine, 46-0, in the first dual of the day before rallying for an 18-16 win over conference foe SIUE.

After trailing 13-3 through the first half of the match with the Cougars, Izzak Olejnik scored a 5-2 victory over Chase Diehl at 165 and sparked a four-match winning streak for the Huskies. Mason Kauffman, who moved up to 174 this season, earned a 3-2 decision over Kevin Gschwendtner to pull NIU to within four points.

Brit Wilson delivered the big blow in the match, pinning Ryan Yarnell at 184 in the third to put NIU up by two with two bouts remaining. Gage Braun extended the Huskie advantage to five with his win at 197. Max Ihry suffered a 2-1 setback in overtime at 285, but helped the Huskies take home the win.

Freshman Lucian Brink got off to a strong start in his Huskie debut. The Coshocton, Ohio native scored a 21-10 maj. dec. victory in the first bout of the day and opened the match with the Cougars with a 10-5 victory.

NIU returns to action Sunday, Jan. 17 when they travel to Mt. Pleasant, Mich. to face Central Michigan. The match is set to begin at 2 p.m. CT and will be shown on ESPN3.

NIU 46, Bellarmine 0
125: Lucian Brink (NIU) maj. dec. Brandon Lucas (BU), 21-10
133: Bryce West (NIU) dec. Max Dansereau (BU), 7-2
141: Caleb Brooks (NIU) fall Zach Schultz (BU), 2:05
149: Jaivon Jones (NIU) dec. Mitch Collica (BU), 2-0
157: Anthony Gibson (NIU) tech fall Alex Rhine (BU), 15-0, 4:41
165: Izzak Olejnik (NIU) fall Eric Beck (BU), 3:42
174: Mason Kauffman (NIU) dec. Devan Hendricks (BU), 3-2
184: Brit Wilson (NIU) fall Sam Schroeder (BU), 5:50
197: Gage Braun (NIU) tech fall Easton Tobia (BU), 17-2, 4:31
285: Max Ihry (NIU) tech fall Charlie Cadell (BU), 17-1, 5:54

NIU 18, SIUE 16
125: Lucian Brink (NIU) dec. Austin Macias (SIUE), 10-5
133: Aaron Schulist (SIUE) dec. Bryce West (NIU), 9-7
141: Saul Ervin (SIUE) dec. Caleb Brooks (NIU), 6-5
149: Cardeionte Wilson (SIUE) dec. Jaivon Jones (NIU), 7-4
157: Justin Ruffin (SIUE) maj. dec. Anthony Gibson (NIU), 13-0
165: Izzak Olejnik (NIU) dec. Chase Diehl (SIUE), 5-2
174: Mason Kauffman (NIU) dec. Kevin Gschwendtner (SIUE), 3-2
184: Brit Wilson (NIU) fall Ryan Yarnell (SIUE), 6:22
197: Gage Braun (NIU) dec. Austin Andreas (SIUE), 7-3
285: Colton McKieman (SIUE) dec. Max Ihry (NIU), 2-1, TB-1

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