Jason Welch Captures 2013 Big Ten Title
March 10, 2013
2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships
Saturday, March 9-Sunday, March 10 All Day
Site: Assembly Hall (Champaign, Ill.)
NU Result: 8th/12 teams (56.0 points)
Next NU Event: 2013 NCAA Championships - March 21-23, 2013 - Des Moines, Iowa
2013 Big Ten Championships Website
2013 B1G Wrestling Brackets http://grfx.cstv.com/graphics/icon-acrosmall.gif
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Northwestern senior Jason Welch competed in his fourth and final Big Ten Championships and captured his first conference crown at 157 lbs. Welch, the No. 2 seed, won the weight class with an exciting third-period pin of No. 4 seed James Green from Nebraska to become the 30th different Wildcat to win a Big Ten title and first since two-time NCAA Champion Jake Herbert won the 184 crown in 2009.
Welch was one of two Wildcats to wrestle in the finals along with sophomore heavyweight Mike McMullan. The No. 2 seed took on top-seeded Tony Nelson from Minnesota, who was the defending Big Ten and NCAA Champion, and lost in a narrow 4-1 decision.
Welch pinned his finals opponent, Green in 6:38 to secure the 2013 Big Ten title at 157 lbs. It was an exciting, back-and-forth match, that saw Welch trailing by one before the fall. After a scoreless first period, Welch started the second period down and escaped to take the 1-0 lead. Green then caught Welch out of position and took advantage with a takedown to go ahead 2-1 after two. Green began the third period down and went up 4-1 after a reversal, but Welch quickly countered with a reversal of his own to trail by one at 4-3. Welch then started to rack up riding time and a ride out would have earned him the 4-4 tie, but he caught Green in a cradle and the official awarded Welch backpoints before he secured the third-period fall. Welch's win avenged his lone loss of the season, a 9-8 decision by Green during the dual season.
Competing in his final Big Ten Championships, the redshirt senior has finished runner-up twice and third once and caps his career with a conference title. Ranked No. 1 in the country in a number of wrestling polls, the two-time All-American enters the 2013 NCAA Championships with a 30-1 record.
Welch is the first 157 lbs. wrestler in Northwestern history to win a Big Ten title and becomes the 30th different Wildcat to capture the 38th individual crown in program history.
McMullan finished second at heavyweight, an improvement from his fourth-place finish in 2012. After a scoreless first period, Nelson started the second period down, escaped to lead 1-0 and then scored a takedown to go ahead 3-0. McMullan began the third period down and escaped to put the score at 3-1 but Nelson had accumulated significant riding time. Neither wrestler scored the rest of the way as Nelson took the 4-1 win.
McMullan will wrestle in his second NCAA Championships and takes an 18-3 record with him.
No. 7 seed Pat Greco dropped his consolation semifinal match at 141, 5-2, against No. 5 seed Brandon Nelsen of Purdue. He then met Penn State's No. 4 seed Bryan Pearsall in the fifth-place match at 141 lbs. Greco scored the lone takedown of the match in the first period and Pearsall tacked on an escape, giving NU the 2-1 lead after one. Pearsall began the third period down and escaped to tie things up at 2-2. Greco chose a neutral start for the third and neither wrestler scored, sending the bout to sudden victory. Pearsall emerged the 4-2 victor with the match-clinching takedown on overtime.
The NU wrestler officially placed sixth at 141 and by virtue of his top-six placement, Greco, who was competing in his first Big Ten Championships, secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
Sixth-seeded Pierce Harger met Iowa's No. 4 seed Nick Moore for the first time this season and dropped the 7-2 decision in the consolation semifinals at 165. Harger scored a second-period reversal to put the score at 5-2 but that would be the closest he would get the rest of the way. Harger then faced Michigan's Taylor Massa for the second time this tournament and third time this year and finished sixth with the Massa victory. Harger has placed sixth at Big Ten's in both of his trips to the conference tournament and is now a two-time NCAA qualifier.
Sophomores Lee Munster (174) and Alex Polizzi (197) had the opportunity to wrestle extra matches Sunday to help bolster their resume for at-large consideration to the 2013 NCAA Championships. Munster captured the 5-2 decision over Wisconsin's Scott Liegel to add another win to his record as he now stands at 24-7 on the season and is ranked No. 9 in the coaches' poll w/ a No. 16 RPI.
Polizzi wrestled Nebraska's Caleb Kolb and fell in a close 3-2 decision. He will now await an at-large bid at 197 with a 17-15 record, No. 25 ranking in the coaches poll and No. 24 RPI.
Greco (141), Welch (157), Harger (165) and McMullan (285) will represent Northwestern at the 2013 NCAA Championships, March 21-13 in Des Moines, Iowa. At-large selections for NCAA's will be announced in the coming week.
157: No. 2 Jason Welch (NU) pins No. 4 James Green (NEB), 6:38
285: No. 1 Tony Nelson (MIN) dec No. 2 Mike McMullan (NU), 4-1
Consolation Semifinal Matches
141: No. 5 Brandon Nelsen (PUR) dec No. 7 Pat Greco (NU), 5-2
165: No. 4 Nick Moore (IOWA) dec No. 6 Pierce Harger (NU), 7-2
141: No. 4 Bryan Pearsall (PSU) dec No. 7 Pat Greco (NU), 4-2 SV
165: No. 3 Taylor Massa (MICH) tech fall No. 6 Pierce Harger (NU), 17-0 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, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for 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!