McMullan, Welch to Wrestle for NCAA Titles Saturday Evening
March 22, 2013
2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships – Session IV
Site: Wells-Fargo Arena (Des Moines, Iowa)
Live Stats & Updated Brackets: TrackWrestling.com
NU in Team Standings: 14th/32.5 points
2013 NCAA Wrestling Brackets
Remaining Northwestern Schedule
Session VI (Finals) – Saturday, March 23, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
DES MOINES, Iowa – Two Northwestern wrestlers will compete for NCAA titles on Saturday evening after winning their semifinal bouts at the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Wells-Fargo Arena. Top-seeded Jason Welch (157) and No. 5 seed Mike McMullan (285) are NCAA finalists and will wrestle live on ESPN Saturday night at 7 p.m.
“We’re happy right now but tomorrow, it will start all over again,” Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano said. “We’ll enjoy this for a little bit but tomorrow, the whole process will start again. The weigh-ins in the morning and then the warm-up midday, nothing’s going to change. Right now we’re excited but tomorrow it will be completely focused. The job’s not done for either of the guys.”
Northwestern is one of just four teams with at least two wrestlers in the finals. Penn State has five while the 'Cats, Iowa and Oklahoma State each have two in the finals.
No. 1 seed Jason Welch will wrestle for the 157 lbs. title after recording a 7-1 victory over unseeded David Bonin of Northern Iowa in Friday night’s semifinals. This was the second meeting of the season between the two wrestlers with Welch winning during the dual season to secure his 100th career victory. Friday, Welch jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and racked up 2:19 of riding time before the frame expired. He started the second period down and gained more separation with a reversal and two nearfall points. Bonin began the third period down and scored his lone point of the match late in the period with an escape but Welch tacked on another point with 3:09 of riding time punched his ticket to the finals with the 7-1 win. Welch was the first wrestler this tournament to score points on Bonin as the UNI grappler had shut out three straight opponents to reach the semifinals.
Wrestling in his first NCAA championship match, and final bout in a Northwestern singlet tomorrow evening, the fifth-year Wildcat meets a familiar foe, No. 2 seed Derek St. John of Iowa. Welch will look for his first victory against the Hawkeye on the biggest stage as St. John took the previous five meetings (two in 2011-12, three in 2010-11).
“I think we’re wrestling really well right now,” Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano said. “Jason always progresses in tournaments and he just keeps getting better and better as the tournaments go. We’re very confident with what he’s going to bring to the table tomorrow night and he’s due.”
Welch officially locked up his third All-America honor during Session III and will end his NU career with his highest placement at NCAA’s after finishing sixth in 2011 and fourth in 2012. He also is the first Wildcat to reach the NCAA finals since Jake Herbert won his 184 lbs. title in 2009.
Fifth-seeded Mike McMullan defeated No. 1 seed Dom Bradley of Missouri in overtime to punch his ticket to the finals at 285. After a scoreless first, each wrestler traded escapes in the second and third period to knot things up at 1-1 after regulation. Late in sudden victory, McMullan went in on a shot and after a scramble with Bradley, scored the winning takedown with 23 seconds remaining to advance to the finals for the first time in his young Wildcat career. The redshirt sophomore will match up against his 2013 Big Ten finals opponent, No. 2 seed Tony Nelson of Minnesota in tomorrow’s championship bout
“I’m excited for Mike because he’s put in so much hard work,” Pariano said. “At the heavyweight level, to move guys around that are that big is impressive and to beat an accomplished guy like Dom Bradley, who won a World title in freestyle. If that doesn’t give you confidence I don’t know what does leading into tomorrow’s match against Nelson.”
McMullan, a two-time All-American, gives Northwestern two NCAA finalists for the first time since 2007 when Jake Herbert (184) and Ryan Lang (141) wrestled in the championship matches.
Be sure to tune into ESPN at 7 p.m. CT Saturday evening to watch Welch and McMullan wrestle for titles. The finals will begin at 174 lbs., meaning McMullan will be the first Wildcat on the mat.
157: No. 1 Jason Welch (NU) dec David Bonin (UNI), 7-1
285: No. 5 Mike McMullan (NU) dec No. 1 Dom Bradley (Missouri), 3-1 SV
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