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Odeen leads NIU to MAC victory

Dave Grant, the Northern Illinois University head wrestling coach, would love to have a few more athletes like Coal City grad John Odeen.

"He is consistent and dependable," said Grant of the redshirt sophomore. "We would like him to get to the NCAA Division I tournament this year. Before he finishes his career with us, we would like for him to be an All-American and a national champion."

The NIU Huskies earned their first Mid-American Conference dual meet win to start the month of February. They downed Eastern Michigan 21-15, as Odeen, wrestling at 165 pounds, defeated Alex Ortman 6-5.

"That was a gutsy performance," said Grant. "He just rode him and stayed on him and finally beat him. John has been instrumental in our success and we expect him to be part of it in the future."

The early part of Northern Illinois schedule has been loaded with ranked teams. In the Mid-America Conference, two teams, based on the rankings on WrestlingReport.com compiled by Gregg Henry, the Central Michigan Unviersity Chippewas and the Kent State University Golden Flashes are both ranked among the countries top 20 wrestling squads. NIU has already competed against both squads.

NIU is 9-8 overall and 1-3 in the MAC. ...

While Odeen is having success at NIU, University of Illinois grappler John Dergo, a Morris grad, is showing why is the second ranked wrestler in the country at 184 pounds. The Fighting Illini split a pair of Big 10 Conference dual matches, but Dergo won both of his 184-pound outings. In Illinois'  27-13 loss to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, Dergo defeated Kaleb Young 18-6, which is a major decision victory. He did not win a major decision of University of Wisconsin's Travis Rutt, but defeated him 8-2. The Fighting Illini won a 19-18 decision over the Badgers.

"Dergo wrestled with a good spark and intensity," said Jim Heffernan, the Illinois head coach, after the match against Minnesota. "We were a little flat in the first five matches, but in the second five, we wrestled with a ton more energy."

At the time of the matches, all three teams were featured in the NCAA rankings. The Illini were ranked 21st, while Minnesota is ranked fifth in the country and Wisconsin was ranked 13th. Both outings were held at Huff Hall on the Illinois campus. The Illini are 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big 10 Conference. ...

South Dakota State University defeated University of Missouri-Kansas City behind the double digit efforts of Garrett Callahan and Griffan Callahan. In the 78-57 SDSU win, Griffan Callahan scored 14 points by nailing 5-of-6 from the field and 1-of-1 from the charity stripe. Callahan hit three from beyond the arc. His brother hit 2-of-6 from beyond the arc and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. South Dakota State is 13-11 overall and 9-4 in the Summit League. ...

Reed-Custer grad Dylan Roff, a Benedictine University track athlete, won the high jump at the Tadd Metzger Invitational, which was hosted by Carthage College and held at the Tarble Athletic Center. Roff finished with a leap of 6 feet, 3.5 inches. He also took third in the 55-meter hurdles (7.95 seconds) and fifth in the long jump (20-0.25). As a team, Benedictine University took fourth with 63 points. Carthage College took first with 144. ...

Reed-Custer grad Ryan Eichelberger competed in a double-double at the McDonald's Invitational, which was hosted by Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. The SIUC harrier finished fourth in the mile run with a time of 5:11.02. She was also seventh in the 800-meter run finishing the race in 2:21.81. The SIUC Lady Salukis easily won the outing with 207.5 points. University of Memphis took second with 89.5. ...

Kevin Bokoski, a Minooka grad, defeated Mark Schultz in a dual meet between Luther College and University of Dubuque. Bokoski, who suits up for Luther College, posted a 14-4 victory, which is a major decision. Luther, who is ranked 13th in the most recent NCAA Division III poll, defeated Dubuque, who is ranked 23rd in the country, in the team battle 28-14. ...

While Ryan Warcynski did not compete in the outing against Luther, he did help Dubuque defeat Central College 38-6. The Minooka grad, a Dubuque freshman and 157-pound grappler, posted a 13-1 major decision win over Zach Beekman. ...

Minooka grad Lizzy Jones finished sixth in the weight throw at the Jack Jennet Invitational, which was hosted by University of Northern Iowa. Jones recorded a toss of 50 feet, 1.25 inches. Team scores were not kept. ...

Seneca graduate Seth Evans scored six points as his college team, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, defeated Detroit Mercy 64-62. Evans, who played 18 minutes in the contest, also had two steals. Wisconsin-Green Bay is 17-9 overall and 9-5 in the Horizon League. they have won their last two games. ....

The Elmhurst College bowling team posted a 2-12 mark at the Shrewsbury Invitational. Former Minooka student/athlete Amanda Warwick, an Elmhurst bowler, had her best outing of the 14 against University of Central Missouri. In the 915-790 loss, Warwick finished with a 194. ...

Minooka grad Donnie Lesnick, a Lewis University sprinter, competed in the NCAA Division II Team Challenge, which was hosted by University of Findlay. Lesnick finished 19th in the 200-meter dash (:23.01) and 22nd in the 400-meter dash (:53.51). As a team, Lewis took 13th with 21 points. Lincoln University won the meet with 94 points.

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