Dec. 29, 2010

Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Team Standings: Northwestern 17th/46 (through Session I)
Next NU Event: Midlands Championships Session II -- 7 p.m. CT

FINAL Session I Brackets and Team Standings (5 p.m. CT)

Session I Fall Report

EVANSTON, Ill. -- With a host of seeded wrestlers falling victim to upsets, the first session of the 48th Midlands Championships was an eventful one Wednesday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Northwestern enters Wednesday's evening session with four competitors alive in the championship brackets and six more still fighting in the wrestlebacks.

The Wildcats sit 17th in the team standings with 14.0 points while Missouri leads the field with 31.5 points. Tonight's action gets underway at 7 p.m. CT beginning with a round of wrestlebacks followed by the quarterfinals. Complete brackets and team standings can be found by downloading the PDFs at the top of the page.

Former Midlands champ Brandon Precin remained undefeated at 16-0 thanks to his 9-2 victory over Rider's Chuck Zeisloft. Precin is set this evening for a matchup with seventh-seeded Steven Keith of Harvard.

Also undefeated is NU's seventh-ranked 149-pounder Andrew Nadhir, who squared off with Iowa State's Max Mayfield in his opening match and did not surrender a takedown on his way to a major decision 14-4 victory. He came back in his next match against Lehigh's Kyle Russer to win a hard-fought 8-6 decision to set up a meeting with Missouri's seventh-seeded Kyle Bradley.

Freshman Kaleb Friedley, who came into Midlands with a 16-1, notched his eighth fall of his rookie campaign in the second period of his match against Cleveland State's Josh Palivoda. Friedley came up short in his next outing, however, a 9-0 loss to 10th-seeded Mike Koehnlein of Nebraska.

No. 5 Jason Welch opened his tournament with an 8-2 decision over Sean McMurray but came up against a challenging Pittsburgh opponent, Donnie Tasser. Tasser came away with an 8-4 decision to hand Welch just his second loss of the season.

Northwestern sophomore Kevin Bialka wrestled a strong match to oust a seeded Iowa competitor at 165 pounds, defeating sixth-seeded Jake Kerr by a 6-1 decision. Bialka was able to ride out nearly the entire third period for the win, denying Kerr a chance at a comeback and advancing to face Pittsburgh's 11th-seeded Ethan Headlee.

Junior Robert Kellogg came up short in his opening match, a 7-1 loss to Michigan State's Ben Boudro, before drawing No. 4 seed Josh Asper in the wrestlebacks and losing by fall.

Sophomore Brian Roddy, Jr. received a challenging draw at 174 pounds, meeting second-seeded and fourth-ranked Nick Amuchustegui of Stanford in his opening match. Roddy wrestled aggressively but Amuchustegui managed a 13-1 victory to down Roddy for the second time this year. In his wrestleback match against Oklahoma's Ronny Balfour, Roddy notched a takedown in the third to climb within two, but Balfour scored a `2' just seconds later to regain a comfortable lead and eventually won the bout, 14-5.

At 197 pounds, junior John Schoen found himself facing Northern Illinois' Mike Lukowski for the second time in two weeks after posting a 9-1 major decision win over the Huskie in a dual match back on Dec. 19. This matchup was much tighter, with Schoen protecting a 1-0 lead for the last two periods to win by that score. In his next match against Pitt's unattached Matt Whilps, Schoen was within striking distance down 3-1 in the third until a final takedown by Whilps sealed a loss for the NU junior.

Northwestern's unattached competitors managed put on a strong showing beginning with 157-pounder Pierce Harger. Harger was dominant in a 7-1 pigtail-round win over Nick Visicaro of Rutgers before meeting Stanford's Garrett Schaner in his next match. Harger got off to a strong start with a 4-2 lead before Schaner was able to gain an advantage on top and went on to win, 12-5.

Lee Munster, seeded 12th at 184 pounds, also picked up a win when he knocked off Bucknell's Rob Waltko by 11-1 major decision. Munster was overcome by fifth-ranked Dan Rinaldi of Rutgers in his next match, 8-3, but remains alive in the wrestleback bracket. The same can be said of Alex Polizzi at 197 after the freshman won with a second-period fall against Iowa State's Phillip Hayes. Polizzi hung with fourth-seeded Byron Tate of Wartburg but eventually lost a 13-11 decision.

True freshman and 10th-seeded heavyweight Mike McMullan won a 3-1 decision over Gardner Webb's Dustin Porter in his Midlands debut. McMullan scored the winning takedown midway through the third period to break a one-all tie and advance to meet Missouri's Tyler Perry. McMullan surrendered an opening takedown to Perry but worked his way free and only seconds later had Perry in a headlock and on his back, notching the fall only 1:35 into the match.

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