The Northern Illinois University wrestling team travels Friday to Kent Ohio to face the Golden Flashes of Kent State at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.
“We have some key match ups for MAC rankings,” NIU head coach Dave Grant said. “We’ve had a great week of training. We’re always excited to come here and wrestle. It’s always a heated match, and we look forward to coming in here and wrestling hard and being aggressive.”
The Huskies (2-8, 0-2) head to Kent State in search of their first Mid-American Conference win.
Northern Illinois has been on the cusp of accomplishing this feat the last two MAC matches. Of the Huskies’ 13 losses in conference action, six have come by three points or less. Grant knows what the Huskies need to do to breakthrough.
“It’s a matter of all 10 guys putting it together,” Grant said. “We’ve had some outstanding performances from several individuals. We’re looking to get everybody firing at all 10 weights. It takes 10 individuals to win a dual meet. We all need to be ready to wrestle”
Bryan Deutsch (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City) has been NIU’s most consistent wrestler this season. He is currently on a five-match winning streak and has won six of his last seven matches. Deutsch, who wrestles at 157, is 16-6 on the season and undefeated in MAC action, both major decision victories. He posted 10-2 major decision victories over both Casey Gordon of Ohio and Central Michigan’s Ryan Cubberly.
Another Huskie who has proved to a tough out in the MAC has been Brad Dieckhaus (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell Central) at 197. The redshirt junior, who has returned to the mat this season after missing all of 2009-10 with an injury, is 9-6 on the season and also undefeated against conference opponents.
“Bryan Deutsch has been a guy we’ve been able to count on,” he said. “They [Deutsch and Dieckhaus] have great attitudes. They’re the hardest workers on our team. They’re guys that dictate they’re style when they go out there.”
NIU has had a couple of their younger wrestlers step up this season. Redshirt freshman Matt Mougin (Columbus Junction, Iowa/Columbus) and freshman Nick Smith (Ida, Mich./Ida) have showed promise this season at 165 and 125 respectively. Mougin is 1-1 in MAC play and 6-11 overall, while Smith is 17-7 this season.
The first bout between the Huskies and Golden Flashes begins at 6 p.m. CDT.
For more information about NIU wrestling and Huskie athletics, visit www.huskies.com.