Columbus Junction's Mougin qualifies for NCAA Wrestling Championships
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Matt Mougin of Columbus Junction took fifth place at 174 pounds at Sunday’s Mid-American Conference Championships, earning the Northern Illinois junior an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Des Moines.
Mougin, the conference tournament’s seventh seed, earned his first career trip to nationals by doing it the hard way. After dropping his first match of the day to Ohio’s Cody Rogers in a 2-1 decision, he kept himself alive for one of the MAC’s five automatic national tournament bids with a convincing 10-5 win over Northern Iowa’s Cody Caldwell. Mougin had lost a 6-3 decision to Caldwell in December.
An 8-4 loss to top-seeded Todd Porter of Missouri put Mougin in a winner-take-all fifth-place match against Kent State’s Sam Wheeler — an opponent who had pinned Mougin in December. However, Mougin punched his ticket to the national championships in Des Moines with a first-period pin of Wheeler.
Mougin was one of eight Huskies who placed at the conference tournament and he was one of five Northern Illinois wrestlers who placed higher than their seeding. Northern Illinois tied Ohio for fifth place at the tournament with 63.5 points.
“Matt Mougin had an absolutely outstanding day of competition and fought with guts,” Northern Illinois head wrestling coach Ryan Ludwig said in a press release. “He qualifies for the NCAA tournament, and we couldn’t be happier for him.”
Mougin’s berth marks the 42nd consecutive season in which at least one Northern Illinois wrestler has advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Mougin, the son of Randall and Rebecca Mougin, owns a record of 22-15 this season and a 36-43 career record for the Huskies. A 2009 graduate of Columbus Community High School, Mougin was a Class 2A state champion with a 40-4 record his senior season of high school. He was a three-time state qualifier, finishing eighth at 125 pounds as a freshman and sixth at 130 pounds as a junior.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will be held at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on March 21-23.