The Northwestern Red Raider wrestling team won the final five matches of the evening to complete a dramatic come-from-behind victory against the Morningside Mustangs. This was NW’s first victory against Morningside since 2008.
After all 10 matches, the team score was nodded up at 19, but NW earned the dual victory by criteria, winning six of the 10 matches.
Sophomore Austin Boles opened the meet at 125 pounds with a 6-3 decision over Devin Phaly of the Mustangs. With NW leading the team score 3-0, Morningside reeled off four straight wins, including two falls and a major decision to take a commanding 19-3 lead with only five matches to go.
At 165 pounds, Red Raider sophomore Brandon Shuler halted Morningside’s streak with a 9-4 decision against Derik Bailey. Senior Zach Fishman earned what would be a vital major decision for NW at 174 pounds by defeating Mitch Otto 13-2, which pulled NW within nine points in the team race with three matches remaining.
Junior Luis Rivera-Santiago kept NW’s winning streak alive by edging Logan Moore in a thrilling bout at 184 pounds. Senior Tyree Cox won the 197-pound match by a score of 8-4 to set up a winner-take-all heavyweight match with the team score at 19-16 in favor of the Mustangs.
Bumping up a weight class, redshirt sophomore Nicholas Null earned a clutch 10-5 victory in front of a raucous crowd that witnessed NW earn one of their most important dual victories of the season.
With the win, NW improves its dual record to 6-4 (4-2 in the GPAC) and jumps to third place in the GPAC standings behind Concordia (5-0 in the GPAC) and Morningside (4-1 in the GPAC). Morningside and Concordia will wrestle Feb. 11 in a meet with huge GPAC placement implications for the Red Raiders.
NW wraps up its GPAC dual schedule as they travel to Midland on Feb. 3 before finishing the regular season with a home meet against Waldorf on Feb. 11. The Red Raiders will then head to the NAIA National Qualifying Tournament in Seward, Nebraska, on Feb. 20.