EVANSTON, Ill. – No. 18 Northwestern won eight of 10 bouts Friday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena, defeating North Central College 40-6. The Wildcats had five first-period pins and a major decision in the victory.
“First off, progress was made since we were out five days ago,” Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano said. “I think North Central battled really hard tonight. I really respect what coach (Kevin) Bratland is doing with their program. North Central has perhaps the toughest schedule in Division III wrestling and they’re sending some guys to Midlands, so my hat’s off to them. Our guys need to get back to work tomorrow and we’ll get ready for Midlands.”
Tonight’s dual started at 157 and NU jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a 12-4 major decision for No. 3 Jason Welch against North Central’s Joby Bodi. The Wildcats then extended their lead to 16-0 with pins by Pierce Harger at 165 lbs. and No. 13 Lee Munster at 174 lbs.
North Central then got on the board at 184 lbs. as Andrew Hiller defeated Marcus Shrewsbury, 7-5. Shrewsbury jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a first period takedown and reversal to start the second, but Hiller scored seven unanswered points to win the bout despite 2:03 of riding time for Shrewsbury.
Northwestern bounced back with two more first-period pins as John Schoen and Mike McMullan had falls at 197 lbs. and heavyweight, respectively.
No. 8 Levi Mele put his 12-0 record on the line against North Central’s Nathan Fitzenreider, who entered Friday’s match as the top-ranked wrestler in Division III at 133 lbs. After a scoreless first period, Mele had a reversal at the 1:34 mark in the second period and accumulated 3:10 of riding time the rest of the match, improving to 13-0 with the 3-0 victory.
Redshirt freshman John Coukos made his dual debut at 133 lbs. against North Central’s Sean Tomac and used a sudden victory period to record his first career win. Coukos scored a takedown first with 58 seconds remaining in the opening period but Tomac got on the board with an escape. Coukos added to his lead with an escape three seconds into the second period for the 3-1 lead. Tomac then used an escape and takedown to take the 4-3 lead with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Coukos escaped one more time, sending the bout into sudden victory and emerged the 5-4 winner due to an illegal move by Tomac.
North Central won its final bout of the evening as Andrew Zobac (ranked fourth in Division III) defeated Pat Greco 7-2 at 141 lbs. Northwestern ended the dual with one final fall as Kaleb Friedley pinned Eric Oyster at 149 lbs., giving NU the 40-6 victory.