Three Days in March: 'Cats Culminate Season at 2013 NCAA Championships
March 18, 2013
2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Thursday, March 21-Saturday, March 23
Site: Wells-Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Live Tweets: @NU_SportsLIVE / @NU_Wrestle
Live Stats: TrackWrestling.com
• Session I –11 a.m. CT (ESPN3; Shawn Kenney & Jim Gibbons)
• Session II – 6:30 p.m. CT (ESPN3; Shawn Kenney & Jim Gibbons)
• Session III (Quarterfinals) - 10 a.m. CT (ESPNU/ESPN3; Adam Amin, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles & Quint Kessenich)
• Session IV (Semifinals) - 6 p.m. CT (ESPNU; Adam Amin, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles & Quint Kessenich)
• Session V (Medal Round) - 10 a.m. CT (ESPNU; Shawn Kenney, Tim Johnson & Anthony Robles)
• Session VI (Finals) - 7 p.m. CT (ESPN; Adam Amin, Tim Johnson, Anthony Robles & Quint Kessenich)
2013 NCAA Wrestling Brackets 2013 Northwestern NCAA Notes
Up Next: Three Days in March
Northwestern heads to the 2013 NCAA Championships this week at the Wells-Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. The final event of the 2012-13 season begins Thursday, March 21 and runs through Saturday, March 23 with the championship bouts taking place at 7 p.m. CT Saturday. Fans can watch all six sessions on the ESPN family of networks and be sure to follow @NU_SportsLIVE and @NU_Wrestle on Twitter for updates throughout the tournament.
Six Wildcats will represent Northwestern in Des Moines for this year’s tournament, including four returning NCAA participants and two first-time qualifiers. Top-seeded Jason Welch (157) and No. 5 seed Mike McMullan (285) are returning All-Americans while sophomores Pierce Harger (165) and Lee Munster (174) are competing in their second NCAA Championships. Sophomores Pat Greco (141) and Alex Polizzi (197) are first-time participants.
Northwestern is at its best when March rolls around as the team has placed in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships in seven of the last eight years. Here are the results:
Northwestern 2013 NCAA Qualifiers
||No. of All-Americans
||2; 1 NCAA Champ
||2; 1 NCAA Champ
||4; 1 NCAA Champ
Early Matches for the ’Cats
Pat Greco will be the first NU wrestler on the mat in Des Moines and he meets No. 5 seed Evan Henderson of North Carolina to open the tournament. These two have never met as Greco brings a 14-11 mark into the tournament while Henderson is 34-6.
Top-seeded Jason Welch’s first opponent will be a familiar one as he meets Boston University’s Nestor Taffur (33-5), a wrestler he defeated 8-6 en route to his Keystone Classic title in November. The Northwestern Big Ten Champion brings a 30-1 record with him into the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 157 lbs. Welch has a 13-1 record against this year’s NCAA Championship field, meaning 14 of his 31 matches this season have been against NCAA qualifiers. The two-time All-American is making his fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships.
At 165 lbs., Pierce Harger faces No. 4 seed Tyler Caldwell (29-4) of Oklahoma State. The Northwestern sophomore brings a 25-8 record into the tournament and has wrestled a team-high 16 matches against the NCAA field this year (9-7).
After receiving an at-large selection, Lee Munster has the task of wrestling first-time opponent Phillip Joseph of Eastern Michigan. Munster posted a 24-7 record this season while Joseph brings a 17-13 record into the tournament. Munster is 5-7 against the NCAA field at 174.
Competing in his first NCAA Championships, Alex Polizzi (16-14) takes on another Eastern Michigan wrestler, Nick Whitenburg (17-7). The winner of that match advances to face either No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming (30-1) or Nebraska’s Caleb Kolb (18-16). Polizzi has wrestled 14 matches against the NCAA field (4-10).
After finishing runner-up at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, Mike McMullan received the No. 5 seed at the NCAA Championships and meets Stanford’s Dan Scherer in his first bout. McMullan and Scherer have wrestled each other twice in the last two seasons, with both bouts coming in NU’s season-opener vs. the Cardinal. McMullan has won both meetings with a 6-3 decision in November and a 6-2 decision in his first career start on November 5, 2011. The 2012 All-American is 18-3 on the year, including 6-3 against the NCAA field.
NU at 2012 NCAA Championships
Mike McMullan finished third at heavyweight while Jason Welch was a fourth-place finisher at 157, giving NU at least two All-Americans in six of the last seven years. The two, along with the other four NU qualifiers who each won at least one match, helped the Wildcats land amongst the top 10 in the country, placing ninth, with 42.5 points.
McMullan’s third-place finish at NCAA’s was the best of any NU redshirt freshman since Jake Herbert took third at 174 lbs. during the 2005 championships. McMullan capped his first season of competition with a 29-11 record, going 6-1 at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
Welch became NU’s 15th two-time All-American as he finished sixth as a redshirt sophomore in 2011.
Welch Wins 2013 Big Ten Title
Northwestern senior Jason Welch competed in his fourth and final Big Ten Championships March 9-10 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 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.
As a team, Northwestern finished eighth and received four automatic qualifications for NCAA’s with Welch and McMullan, along with sophomores Pat Greco (141) and Pierce Harger (165).
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