Northwestern sits second at Midlands
Wildcats trail Iowa by 8.5 points after Day 1 with six still alive
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern went 4 for 4 in the quarterfinals and remains in second place with 71.0 points after Thursday night’s Session II at the 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Four NU grapplers will wrestle in the semifinals and two others are still alive in the wrestleback rounds for their respective weight classes.
Northwestern trails Iowa, which leads the 43-team field with 79.5 points. Oklahoma is in third with 69.0 points.
No. 4 seed Levi Mele was the first Northwestern wrestler to reach the semifinals with his 7-0 shutout of No. 5 seed Trent Sprenkle from North Dakota State at 125 pounds. Mele will take on No. 8 seed Jarrod Garnett, who is wrestling unattached from Virginia Tech, after he pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament by pinning Illinois’ No. 1 seed Jesse Delgado in 6:35 in another quarterfinal match. Mele brings a perfect 16-0 record with him into his semifinal bout against Garnett.
|Midlands Championship Team Standings|
|• Full standings/brackets: Session I | Session II|
Top-seeded Jason Welch then punched his ticket into the semifinals with a 13-4 major decision against Eastern Michigan’s Aaron Sulzer at 157 pounds. Welch trailed 4-0 at the end of the first period but used a 13-0 run to secure the victory and meets No. 4 seed Matt Lester from Oklahoma in the semifinals. The quarterfinal major decision against Sulzer was Welch’s fourth win by bonus points during the tournament (three major decisions, one pin). Welch also added to his unbeaten record and is now 8-0 on the year.
Fifth-seeded Lee Munster was the third NU grappler to make it to the semifinals with a 3-1 win against Tanner Weatherman, who was wrestling unattached from Virginia Tech, at 174 pounds. With the win, Munster takes on UW-Parkside’s (Division II) Luke Rynish, the No. 9 seed. Rynish advanced to the semis due to injury default by No. 1 seed Chris Spangler from Iowa State. Rynish and Spangler wrestled to double-overtime before Spangler defaulted out of the tournament.
After defeating the reigning Big Ten champion at heavyweight in the morning session, No. 10 seed McMullan had the tall task of facing second-seeded Peter Sturgeon from Central Michigan. McMullan got out to a 4-0 lead but Sturgeon came back and scored a takedown in the closing seconds of regulation to knot the score at 6-6. McMullan then scored the winning takedown with 23 seconds remaining in overtime to win 8-6 and help Northwestern stay undefeated in the quarterfinals. It was McMullan’s second upset of the day and he now faces No. 3 seed Bobby Telford from Iowa in the semis.
Kaleb Friedely and John Schoen are both still competing in the wrestleback rounds. No. 9 seed Friedley pinned Kyle Rosser from Lehigh in 2:01 then defeated Central Michigan’s Joey Kielbasa 6-2 at 149 pounds. Friedley matches up against No. 12 seed Shane Welsh from Lehigh.
Schoen advanced due to a medical forefit to James Fox from Harvard and then used overtime to defeat Iowa State’s Cole Shafer. After a 1-1 tie in regulation, Schoen scored the winning takedown with less than 10 seconds remaining in the sudden victory to advance 3-1. Schoen meets No. 8 seed Mario Gonzalez of Illinois in the wrestlebacks.
Jameson Oster (133 pounds), Pat Greco (141), Colin Shober (141), David Helmer (157), Pierce Harger (165), Robert Kellogg (174) and Marcus Shrewsbury (184) were all eliminated from competition during Session II.