The Midlands Championships celebrate their 50th anniversary this year when they are held on Dec. 29-30 at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena. Throughout its history, the Midlands have featured some of the top talent in the history of collegiate wrestling. Take a look at some of the top moments in the tournament's history through this special photo essay.

Northwestern associate head coach Tim Cysewski has been around the Midlands Championships for a majority of his wrestling career. Cysewski won five Midlands titles while wrestling at Iowa and as a post-graduate. Cysewski joined the Northwestern wrestling program as an assistant coach in 1982, was appointed head coach in 1990 and has been a part of every Midlands Championships since.
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Ken Kraft and Bruce Baumgartner walk on the floor level of Welsh-Ryan Arena during the 1992 Midlands Championships. Baumgartner won eight Midlands titles, the second most in tournament history behind Joe Williams's 10 titles, and is one of just six wrestlers to achieve the "Grand Slam" -- winning a Midlands, Olympic, World and NCAA championship.
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There are plenty of recognizable names amongst the 1998 Midlands Champions including former New England Patriots offensive lineman Steve Neal and current Division I head coaches Cael Sanderson (Penn State) and Joe Heskett (Army).
From L-R front row: Jody Strittmatter (125; Pittsburgh-Johnstown), Pat McNamara (133; Michigan State), Chris Marshall (141; Unattached), T.J. Williams (149; Iowa), Casey Cunningham (157; Central Michigan)
Back Row (L-R): Neal (Hwt; Cal State Bakersfield), Andrei Rodzianko (197; Penn), Sanderson (184; Iowa State), Joe Williams (174; Hawkeye WC), Heskett (165; Iowa State)
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Northwestern redshirt freshmen Lee Munster (left) and junior Jason Welch (right) won Midlands titles in 2011. This was the first title for both wrestlers as Munster took home the 174 lbs. title while Welch was the 157 lbs. champion. They helped Northwestern, the host school of the Midlands Championships, to the best finish in the 49-year history of the tournament in 2011 as the Wildcats finished second.
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The Welsh-Ryan Arena floor fits eight mats during the first day of the Midlands Championships. More than 9,000 wrestlers have competed in the Midlands Championships.
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There have been a total of 334 champions in the 49-year history of the Midlands Championships.
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