'Cats Set for Battle Saturday in Philadelphia; Nadhir an All-American
March 18, 2011
Event: 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships -- Session IV
Site: Philadelphia, Pa. ? Wells Fargo Center (19,500)
Final Session IV Brackets
Updated Team Standings (After Session IV)
Championships Website: NCAA.com
NWCA Live Scoring: NWCA.com
Next NU Event: Session V (Saturday, 10 a.m. CT)
Live Updates: Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE) (Search hashtag #d1wrestle)
ESPNU and ESPN3.com will continue to provide live coverage of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday. Times and stations for both sessions are listed below:
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 senior Andrew Nadhir (149) joined teammates Brandon Precin (125) and Jason Welch (157) as 2011 All-Americans Friday night, thanks to his 7-3 upset of seventh-seeded Mario Mason of Rutgers at the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia. It is the first time Nadhir has earned a spot atop the medal stand at nationals after last year finishing one win shy of All-America honors.
After adding another win over a higher-ranked opponent later in the evening -- defeating Bucknell's third-seeded Kevin LeValley, 6-5 -- Nadhir enters his final session with five straight victories in the wrestleback bracket after losing his opening match of the tournament. Precin and Welch each wrestled strong semifinal matches only to come up just short in their attempts to reach Saturday night's NCAA title bouts. Precin (33-3) was edged 3-1 by second-seeded and defending national champ Matt McDonough of Iowa while Welch (29-5) fell by an 8-5 decision to No. 4 Bubba Jenkins of Arizona State, who is now a two-time NCAA finalist.
All three will return to compete in the consolation semifinals during Session V Saturday morning to determine their final place-winning, with each member of the trio assured of finishing no worse than sixth place with the potential to place as high as third.
Northwestern stands in 14th place in the team standings after Session IV, just half a point back of Oklahoma for 13th. Penn State is in front of the field with 92.5 points and three finalists Saturday night.
In their fourth meeting this season, Precin and Iowa's McDonough wrestled to five stalemate whistles in the first period and it was Precin who got on the board first in the second with an escape after 40 seconds. But McDonough wasted no time getting in for his next shot and got around on Precin for control and a 2-1 lead.
In the final period, Precin rode McDonough well enough to erase the Hawkeye's riding time point but was forced to cut him loose -- setting the score at 3-1 -- and spend the final minute in search of a tying takedown. McDonough was able to tie Precin up on each of his final attempts, however, and hold on for the victory.
In Northwestern's second semifinal bout, Welch continued his impressive form this week against fourth-seeded Jenkins, deftly avoiding several shot attempts. He scored the first points of the match on the edge of the mat when he picked Jenkins' ankle and finished for `2', despite Jenkins having a good hold of Welch's leg.
A pair of Jenkins escapes tied things at two and the score evened one again at four after escapes by Welch in both the second and third period. Welch then was in deep on the Sun Devil's leg and appeared to have him on his back but was not granted control by the official. Jenkins managed to turn the scramble into his own takedown, giving him a 6-4 edge that he protected down the stretch to win 8-5.
On Saturday, Welch will face sixth-seeded Derek St. John of Iowa with a trip to the third-place match on the line.
On the wrestleback side, Nadhir (34-6) squared off with Rutgers' Mason for the third time in his career, with the first two times having come when Mason was wrestling in the Big Ten for Minnesota. Mason had several early promising shots that Nadhir fended off with good defense, and Nadhir turned the tables by closing out a `2' on the edge of the mat to take a 2-0 lead into the second.
Nadhir later held a 3-1 edge in the third when he picked up one of the most timely takedowns of his career, scoring on the edge of the mat when Mason believed the action would be blown dead. Even after Mason escaped on the next series, Nadhir went right back to work in typical fashion and clinched the match with one final takedown to win 7-3 and clinch All-American status.
In his next outing, Nadhir avenged a loss to LeValley back in November by virtue of a 6-5 decision over the Bucknell senior. Nadhir led by as much as a 5-1 margin before LeValley worked his way back into the match, pulling level at five with a takedown with 15 seconds to go. But neither wrestler was able to work for very long on top, and Nadhir escaped with less than 10 seconds remaining for the winning point.
Northwestern's Session IV match-by-match results and a schedule for Saturday morning can be found below.
NCAA Championships -- Session IV Results
125: #2 Matt McDonough (IA) dec. #3 Brandon Precin (NU), 3-1
157: #4 Bubba Jenkins (ASU) dec. #8 Jason Welch (NU), 8-5
Wrestlebacks Fourth Round
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) dec. #7 Mario Mason (RUTG), 7-3
Wrestlebacks Fifth Round
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) dec. #3 Kevin LeValley (BUCK), 6-5
NCAA Championships -- Session V Schedule
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. #5 Zach Sanders (MINN)
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. #8 Ganbayar Sanjaa (AMER)
157: #8 Jason Welch (NU) vs. #6 Derek St. John (IA)
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