March 5, 2011

Event: 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships -- Session II
Welsh-Ryan Arena
Evanston, Ill.
Team Standings: Northwestern: 6th/11
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE ? @BigTenChamps
(Search #BTWrestling or #d1wrestle)
Championships Central Page: NUsports.com (Schedule, Ticket Info, Updated Brackets, Standings)
Live Scoring for all Big Ten Championships matches
Tickets: Available at the Welsh-Ryan Arena ticket window

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Thanks to a workmanlike 4-0 victory over the nation's fifth-ranked 125-pounder Saturday evening, Northwestern senior Brandon Precin earned the chance to wrestle for a Big Ten championship in his final career appearance in Welsh-Ryan Arena. Precin (30-1) will lead off Sunday's championship round against No. 1-seeded and defending NCAA champion Matt McDonough of Iowa.

A live, three-hour long telecast of the Big Ten Championships finals from Northwestern will begin at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday on the Big Ten Network.

When Precin and the Hawkeye sophomore get together in the title match Sunday, it will be the third time this season that they have met at center mat in Welsh-Ryan Arena. Precin defeated McDonough 3-1 in the finals of the 2010 Midlands Championships, while McDonough won by fall in a Jan. 28 dual match, winning despite Precin's 3-0 lead at the time of the pin.

Precin is one of seven Northwestern wrestlers still alive in the tournament for the final day of the event. Senior Andrew Nadhir (149 pounds) and sophomore Jason Welch (157) each lost semifinal matches during Saturday's session II but remain in contention in the wrestleback brackets.


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Northwestern stands in sixth place in the team standings with 53.0 points, while Penn State holds a slim 1.5-point edge over Iowa with 110.5 points. In his semifinal bout with Sanders, Precin gained a 1-0 edge on an escape in the second period before securing his second career trip to the conference finals with a third-period takedown and a one-point riding time advantage. On Sunday he'll look to win the 38th individual Big Ten championship in Northwestern wrestling history.

Looking to join him in the finals was Nadhir, who squared off with the only Big Ten wrestler to defeat him during the conference dual season in sixth-seeded Eric Grajales of Michigan. Grajales gained a riding time advantage by riding Nadhir through the entire second period and essentially gained a two-point edge when he was cut loose by Nadhir to start the third.

Nadhir managed to secure one takedown but again chose to cut Grajales and could not notch the necessary takedown down the stretch. He will continue to compete for third place on Sunday, beginning with a match against eighth-seeded Danny Zilverberg of Minnesota.

Welch suffered a similar fate, despite picking up the initial takedown of the match in the first period against Iowa's Derek St. John. The Hawkeye scored on an escape and takedown in the second, holding off Welch's offense in the third to send the NU sophomore to the wrestlebacks where he'll face Purdue's fourth-seeded Colton Salazar.

After falling to an eventual finalist in his debut at the Big Ten Championships, freshman Kaleb Friedley came roaring back in the evening session with a pair of wins by fall. Friedley first took care of Ohio State's Randall Languis early in the second period before taking on Indiana's Mitchell Richey. Richey and Friedley scored wildly in the early going before Richey gained an 11-9 edge in the second. That's when Friedley came up with a quick takedown and pin, his 13th fall of the season, to set up a meeting with Illinois' talented Jimmy Kennedy in the wrestlebacks.

Northwestern's Levi Mele, Ben Kuhar and Kevin Bialka each will wrestle in Sunday's seventh-place matches after splitting their outcomes on Saturday night. Bialka won a 6-3 decision over Purdue's Kyle Mosier for his 13th victory of the year before being downed by Illinois' Conrad Polz, 13-4.

Kuhar defeated Ohio State's Zach Stolarsky by decision for the second time since Feb. 19 but lost to 17th-ranked Ben Apland of Michigan in his ensuing match, setting up a seventh-place bout against Indiana's Ricky Alcala, originally the tournament's No. 2 seed.

Mele lost his second hard-fought match of the day, this time against No. 8 Ian Paddock of Ohio State in a 4-3 match. A Mele reversal in the second period gave him a 3-2 lead, but Paddock came out of the down position to start the third with a reversal of his own for the winning points.

A summary of Northwestern's activity in Session II of the Big Ten Championships is below:

Big Ten Championships -- Session II Results
Championship Semifinals
125: #2 Brandon Precin (NU) dec. #3 Zach Sanders (MN), 4-0
149: #6 Eric Grajales (MI) dec. #2 Andrew Nadhir (NU), 3-2
157: #2 Derek St. John (IA) dec. #3 Jason Welch (NU), 5-2

Consolation Round Two
141: #6 Kaleb Friedley (NU) FALL Randall Languis (OSU), 3:17
165: #8 Kevin Bialka (NU) dec. Kyle Mosier (PU), 6-3
174: #4 Luke Manuel (NU) maj. dec. Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU), 16-5
184: #1 Travis Rutt (WIS) maj. dec. Aaron Jones (NU), 9-0
197: #8 Peter Capone (OSU) dec. John Schoen (NU), 9-3
285: #8 Ben Kuhar (NU) dec. Zach Stolarsky (OSU), 4-0

Consolation Quarterfinals
133: #8 Ian Paddock (OSU) dec. #5 Levi Mele (NU), 4-3
141: #6 Kaleb Friedley (NU) FALL Mitchell Richey (IND), 4:58
165: #5 Conrad Polz (IL) maj. dec. #8 Kevin Bialka (NU), 13-4
285: #5 Ben Apland (MI) FALL #8 Ben Kuhar (NU), 6:29

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