I am really surprised that this didn't make more noise. That has to be the upset of the year so far in dual meets even with Maryland defeating Michigan.

I guess I found out where Castillo has been, out helping his team defeat Northwestern it looks like.

Burk's Victory Helps Huskies Upset No. 5 Northwestern
Castillo, Smith also earn victories in landmark NIU win.

NIU redshirt sophomore Duke Burk holds the advantage after the winning takedown of Northwestern's Nick Hayes.

Nov. 30, 2007

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DeKALB, Ill. - Redshirt sophomore Duke Burk defeated Northwestern's Nick Hayes, giving Northern Illinois wrestling the final push it needed to upset the No. 5 Wildcats, 22-19, Friday at the Convocation Center.

Burk (Peoria, Ill./Notre Dame), ranked 13th in the nation at 174 pounds, executed a first-round takedown to catalyze a 3-1 win over the eighth-ranked Hayes. Burk said some pre-match studying helped him toward the win.

"He wrestled my brother (former NIU wrestler Danny Burk) last year," Burk said. "I watched the tape of that, so I kind of knew what (Hayes) was going to do going in."

Burk used that knowledge to counter when Hayes attacked.

"He got a single-leg, but I'm pretty comfortable scrambling and scrambled enough to get my own takedown," Burk said.

That takedown proved to be the difference in the match. Burk's victory gave the Huskies a 22-16 advantage, which they rode to the three-point triumph.

The win caps off a run of dual meets against the top teams in the country for Northern Illinois. The Huskies lost to both No. 3 Iowa State and No. 1 Minnesota before besting the Wildcats.

"After you've (wrestled good team) so many times, I think those top-ranked teams don't get that extra confidence walking into your building," NIU head coach Dave Grant said.

Northern Illinois redshirt freshman Jake Smith (Bennington, Neb./Bennington) opened the night with a 5-4 win at 197. Smith narrowly defeated Carl Howe thanks to a late stalling penalty against the Wildcat and an escape by Smith with 13 seconds left on the clock.

Huskie veteran Pat Castillo (Western Springs, Ill./Lyons Township), a redshirt senior at 133 pounds, earned a major decision 12-4 win over Robert Joyce for Northern Illiois' third win of the night. Castillo captured an impressive five takedowns en route to victory.

"You can look at the score, and every match was key," Grant said. "You turn any match around and they win."

Grant's squad also earned points thanks to two Northwestern forfeits. Wildcat head coach Tim Cysewski did not field a wrestler at 141 pounds or in the heavyweight division.

Victor E. Court filled-up with 701 spectators for the match, a factor Grant thinks helped his team to the win.

"I really believe the crowd helps in a lot of those situations," he said. "Like with Duke and 20 seconds left coming down to the end and for Jake Smith, it was a boost for him."

The NIU wrestling team became the second Huskie squad to upset a Northwestern team ranked in top-10 this season. Earlier in the year, the Northern Illinois men's soccer team upended the ninth-ranked Wildcats 2-1 in double-overtime.

The Huskies return to action Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Convocation Center when they host Augustana (Ill.) at 1:05 p.m.