Landmark Wins Send All-Americans Precin, Welch into NCAA Semifinals
March 18, 2011
Event: 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships -- Session II
Site: Philadelphia, Pa. ? Wells Fargo Center (19,500)
Updated Tournament Brackets http://grfx.cstv.com/graphics/icon-acrosmall.gif
Updated Team Standings http://grfx.cstv.com/graphics/icon-acrosmall.gif (After Session III)
Championships Website: NCAA.com
NWCA Live Scoring: NWCA.com
Next NU Event: Session IV (Friday, 6 p.m. CT)
Live Updates: Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE) (Search hashtag #d1wrestle)
All three days of action at the 2011 NCAA Championships can be viewed live in their entirety and in high definition on the ESPN family of networks, including streaming webcasts on ESPN3.com. Below is a session-by-session viewing schedule for the remainder of the tournament:
Session IV (Friday, March 18, 6 p.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
Session V (Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
Session VI -- Championship Finals (Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. CT): ESPN and ESPN3.com
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Northwestern put together a session to remember Friday morning at the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia, sending senior Brandon Precin (125) and sophomore Jason Welch (157) into the national semifinals to be contested Friday night. Welch (29-4) knocked off the No. 1 seed and previously undefeated Adam Hall of Boise State to guarantee himself All-America status for the first time in his career.
Precin's quarterfinal victory over sixth-seeded Nic Bedelyon of Kent State was remarkable in its own right as it made him just the fifth three-time All-American in Northwestern wrestling history. The win was the 136th of his career, allowing Precin (33-2) to pass former teammate Jake Herbert for third on the school's career wins list. It is the first time Northwestern has sent multiple competitors to the NCAA semifinal round since Herbert and Ryan Lang advanced that far in 2007. At 125 pounds, Precin will square off with defending NCAA champion and second-seeded Matt McDonough of Iowa for the fourth time this season, looking to even the season series at two wins apiece.
Welch will meet Arizona State's fourth-seeded Bubba Jenkins, who transferred to Tempe for his senior year after three seasons spent competing for Penn State. Jenkins was an NCAA runner-up at 149 pounds in 2008 for the Nittany Lions.
Friday's evening session, which will be carried live in high definition by both ESPNU and ESPN3.com, is set to begin at 6 p.m. CT.
Northwestern's performance in Session III vaulted NU from a tie for 24th place following Thursday night's action into sole possession of 12th with 28.5 points. NU is one of six Big Ten programs -- along with Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan -- in the top 13 in the team standings.
In addition to Precin and Welch in this evening's semifinals, senior Andrew Nadhir (149) advanced through two more rounds of wrestlebacks and will compete again Friday night. Sophomore Levi Mele won his opening match of the day but was eliminated from the 133-pound bracket in his ensuing bout.
After an early feeling-out period, Precin jumped to a 4-0 lead with a takedown and two back points in the first period and took a 4-2 lead into the second after a penalty point for locking hands and an escape by Bedelyon. After a scoreless two minutes, Precin and Bedelyon traded reversals over the course of the third period as the NU senior added a point for nearly two minutes of riding time to win, 9-5, for his first career berth in the semifinals.
Shortly after it was Welch's time to shine against top-ranked Adam Hall of Boise State. Welch looked to be in top form from the opening whistle, getting a firm hold of Hall's leg on multiple occasions without being able to quite finish. Welch then rode Hall for nearly the entire second period, with Hall nearly escaping at the 1:20 mark before the officials ruled the action had already carried outside the circle. Hall did escape on the next series, setting up a 1-1 score entering the third.
The two switched positions in the final period and Hall was able to erase Welch's riding time point. The NU sophomore escaped with 49 seconds to go to even it back up at one and immediately went on the attack. He got hold of Hall's leg near the edge of the mat and managed to swing a leg over as the officials granted him the two points with only two seconds left on the clock, locking up the 3-1 upset.
"Jason's on, he's absolutely on," said head coach Drew Pariano after the match. "Tonight we have a matchup with Bubba Jenkins and we feel very confident. Our shape is phenomenal, we can wrestle all day."
In wrestlebacks, Mele opened Friday against Oklahoma's Jordan Keller, who had an early edge thanks to more than 1:40 of riding time in the second period. With zeroes still showing on the scoreboard to start the third, Mele began in the top position and showed how tough he can be there, turning Keller for three back points. He went on to erase Keller's riding time point and allowed only an escape the rest of the way, winning his 18th match of the season.
Mele was stopped in the next round of wrestlebacks, however, by ninth-seeded Devin Carter of Virginia Tech. The Hokie freshman collected three first-period takedowns to build a sizeable lead and avoided Mele's best efforts to end the match with a fall in the third period to win, 12-3. Mele finished 2-2 in his debut at the Championships and 18-11 overall on the season.
Nadhir, meanwhile, advanced past the second round when top-seeded Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State, a former NCAA champion, was forced to injury default out of the tournament. That brought him up against Wyoming's Cole Dallaserra in the ensuing round, a match that Dallaserra take a 3-1 lead with an escape in the third period. Looking to win the match in regulation, Nadhir took the Cowboy down twice only to have him escape each time, sending the match to sudden victory tied at five.
Nadhir needed only about 15 seconds to secure the winning two and ensure himself the right to wrestle in Session IV against seventh-seeded Mario Mason of Rutgers. Nadhir and Mason have split their two previous meetings.
Northwestern's Session III match-by-match results and a schedule for Friday evening can be found below.
NCAA Championships -- Session III Results
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) dec. #6 Nic Bedelyon (KENT), 9-5
157: #8 Jason Welch (NU) dec. #1 Adam Hall (BOISE), 3-1
Wrestlebacks Second Round
133: Levi Mele (NU) dec. Jordan Keller (OKLA), 3-1
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) win by inj. def. #1 Darrion Caldwell (NCST)
Wrestlebacks Third Round
133: #9 Devin Carter (VATECH) maj. dec. Levi Mele (NU), 12-3
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) dec. Cole Dallaserra (WYO), 7-5 (SV1)
NCAA Championships -- Session IV Schedule
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. #2 Matt McDonough (IA)
Dec. 30, 2010: Precin dec. McDonough, 3-1 (Midlands Championships final)
Jan. 28, 2011: McDonough FALL Precin, 6:41 (Dual match)
March 6, 2011: McDonough dec. Precin, 3-1 (Big Ten Championships final)
157: #8 Jason Welch (NU) vs. #4 Bubba Jenkins (ASU)
Previous meetings: None
Wrestlebacks Fourth Round
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. #7 Mario Mason (RUTG)
Dec. 30, 2009: Nadhir dec. Mason, 3-1 (Midlands Championships)
March 6, 2010: Mason dec. Nadhir, 5-2 (Big Ten Championships)
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!