By Michael Benson
Northern Illinois Sports Information
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University wrestling team released their 2014-15 schedule Tuesday.
The slate includes seven home duals, including a home date with Big Ten member Michigan State. In addition, the Huskies will also compete in the Journeyman/ASICS Northeast Duals – annually one of the strongest dual tournaments on the year.
“The schedule is designed to place our athletes in front of the best competition so that we are prepared to make a push to achieve our goals in March,” said NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig. “Our guys are fired up to compete and place themselves amidst the nation’s elite.”
After hosting the annual Red/Black Dual on Oct. 24, NIU kicks off the regular season Nov. 2 at the Michigan State Open. The following weekend sees the Huskies head downstate for the Illinois Duals. In addition to taking on the host Fighting Illini for the first time since 1997, NIU also faces in-state rival SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Wrestling League member Rider. NIU makes a return trip to the EMU Duals on Nov. 15, where they battle defending EWL champ Edinboro, 2013-14 Southern Conference winner Chattanooga, Clarion and Olivet College.
The Huskies kick off their home schedule Nov. 22 with matchups against Division III Buena Vista and Division II Tiffin in the Huskie Duals. The first meet of the day against BVU will feature the dual meet head coaching debut of former NIU assistant Jeff Breese, who coached the Huskies for two seasons before earning the Beavers’ head job this summer. In addition, Ludwig coached TU head coach Joey Simcoe as an assistant at Findlay.
NIU closes out November in upstate New York at the Journeymen/ASICS Northeast Duals, where they face the Big 12’s West Virginia, along with Binghamton and Sacred Heart on Thanksgiving weekend.
The Huskies return home the next weekend to face the MSU Spartans. Two weekends later, they head to the Great Lakes State to open their Mid-American Conference slate against Central Michigan. They cap off 2014 in Evanston, Illinois, at the 52nd annual Midlands Championships.
The team opens the second half of the season with a pair of road duals. On Jan. 9, NIU heads to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to face Northern Iowa, then heads to Springfield, Illinois, the next weekend for a neutral site dual with SIU Edwardsville.
NIU hosts their first MAC dual in Victor E. Court on Jan. 23 against Ohio in the Beauty and the Beast Meet, where the wrestling team will compete alongside NIU’s gymnastics squad. Two days later, the team heads to the Show-Me State to battle two-time defending conference champion Missouri.
After a weekend off, the Huskies host Eastern Michigan on Feb. 6, then travels to Kent State for a Friday the 13th dual with the Golden Flashes. NIU caps off their regular season with a pair of home meets against Buffalo on Feb. 20 and Old Dominion on Feb. 22.
The MAC Championships will take place March 7-8 in Columbia, Missouri, while the NCAA Championships will be held March 19-21 in St. Louis.