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    July 2012 Archives

    Pariano's Blog No. 1: How It All Began

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    Northwestern wrestling head coach Drew Pariano and associate head coach Tim Cysewski will be in London for the final days of the 2012 Summer Olympics supporting NU graduate Jake Herbert as he competes in the 84 kg freestyle competition. The two are in London from Aug. 8-15 and Pariano will provide a number of blogs leading up to Jake's competition on Aug. 11 and while the coaching staff is in London. Pariano's first entry looks at how Northwestern prepared Herbert for his Olympic journey and how the NU Olympian is spending his time leading up to Aug. 11.

    "Northwestern started it all for me. It's where I went from being a boy with dreams and I became a man achieving and living those dreams. It was the best environment for me to be successful on and off the mat. I have great support with the university, better support from my teammates and my coaches went above and beyond to get me what I needed to continue to improve and push myself. Without Northwestern, there wouldn't be an Olympic dream and I wouldn't have a shot at winning gold in less than two weeks." - Jake Herbert

    Jake's journey to become an Olympian started a long time ago and it was a topic of discussion as early as 2003 when he was being recruited by Northwestern. It should also be known that Jake was trying to stretch his college experience out as long as possible and he did well with that making it a full six-year cycle. Although Jake didn't finish his NU career as an M.D., he does on occasion refer to his time as preparation for his doctorate in the sport of wrestling. All joking aside, our entire staff could not be more proud of Jake and all of his accomplishments. We know that his collegiate career was the perfect preparation for his international career. We also know that Jake has paved the way for future Northwestern wrestlers who aspire to be Olympians and World Champions.

    Right now, Jake is in the final stretch of his Olympic preparation. After arriving at the Games last week via a private jet, the team participated in the Opening Ceremony and after a quick stay in London, traveled more than 1,000 miles to Belarus, which is where Jake and his teammates are training for the next week.

    His Facebook and Twitter followers could probably gather the fact that he is excited and the anticipation for Aug. 11 is mounting (see photos above and below courtesy of Jake's Twitter page). Because wrestling takes place at the tail end of the games, all of our U.S. wrestlers will have to wait for their competition day to come. It's been known that wrestlers and coaches alike are not always the most patient people, but we will do our best waiting for Aug. 11.

    Big Ten Football Media Day Afternoon Update

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    Fresh from the conclusion of the first day of Big Ten Football Media Day Thursday at the Hyatt McCormick in Chicago, here is your afternoon update.

    Pat Fitzgerald took the stage right at noon today to address the print media, covering several topics. He talked at length about the team's cumulative GPA of 3.04 from last year and about Northwestern having the best APR score in Division I FBS football. Combined with four-consecutive bowl berths, NU's combination of academics and athletics currently are unmatched at any level in the nation.

    Big Ten Football Media Day Morning Update

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    We're down here at the 2012 Big Ten Football Media Day, kicking off the season with Coach Fitz and our three player representatives: junior quarterback Kain Colter, senior offensive lineman Brian Mulroe and senior linebacker David Nwabuisi.


    Our rotation begins at 11:20 when the three players meet with BTN, CBS and ESPN. Coach Fitz makes his first appearance at noon CT to address the assembled print media from the main podium; that 15-minute session will be aired live on BTN and possibly ESPNU. Following those sessions, the NU contingent will begin the local TV rotation at 12:30 p.m. CT. In that room, players and coaches sit for 15 minutes at each of five different podiums where media are assembled, rotating around the room to greet all five groups.


    A couple of notes before we begin:


    * Earlier this morning, we released our new 2012 Under Armour football jerseys. We will have artwork on hand for the media and are scheduled to have a physical jersey to display, as well.

    * More media registered for this year's Big Ten Media Day than ever before, surpassing last season's record-breaking total.


    * Northwestern student-radio WNUR 89.3 FM is here and will be broadcasting live from 2-4 p.m. CT. Several NU players are scheduled to join them in the 2 p.m. hour.


    * For the first time this year, players and coaches will meet in a dedicated room with to film video interviews and pieces for the web. Sirius/XM also is part of the main rotation in the local TV room. Coach Fitz is scheduled tape an interview on Sirius/XM College Sports Nation (channel 91) at 1:45 p.m. CT.


    * The three players arrived from campus around 10 a.m., using a staff hotel room to meticulously get dressed. As Nwabuisi ironed his purple shirt, the trio proclaimed they easily would be "the best dressed players here." Lots of pride in representing Northwestern!


    For more updates as the day rolls along, stick to @NU_Sports on Twitter and this blog.

    BLOG: A Pre-Media Day Blitz, Part II

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    They will be the 'Cat players on display Thursday at the Big Ten's annual football Media Day in Chicago. But Wednesday morning, in the lobby of the Nicolet Football Center, quarterback Kain Colter and linebacker David Nwabuisi and tackle Brian Mulroe loitered in casual disarray and chatted with Special Contributor Skip Myslenski, who wondered first about the players' decision to break down huddles not with the familiar cry of "Go 'Cats." They instead chose to do that with the declaration, "Big Ten Champs."

    Hines, Riley Set the Olympic Stage for Herbert

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    By now you are probably well aware that Northwestern graduate Jake Herbert will represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Did you know that Jake is not the first Northwestern wrestler to become a U.S. Olympian? Two others competed at the games and won Olympic medals, but Herbert looks to become the first Wildcat to bring home gold.

    You have to go all the way back to 1924 to find the first NU wrestling Olympian, Bryan Hines. According to his Northwestern Athletic Hall of Fame bio, Hines wrestled with a sprained ankle in Paris, but still managed to win a bronze medal in the men's bantamweight freestyle division. After the Olympics, Hines returned to Evanston and coached Northwestern during the 1926 season.

    John ("Jack") Riley came the closest to a gold medal at the Los Angeles games in 1932. A heavyweight freestyle wrestler, Riley made it all the way to the finals where he faced the returning Olympic heavyweight gold medalist, Johan Richthoff of Sweden. Riley ended up taking silver as Richthoff won his second gold medal.

    Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano recently met with Riley's son, John, and he shared some historical photos of his father from around the time of the 1932 Olympics.

    Both of the photos in this blog are of Riley and the one at the top is of him standing outside the Olympic Village during the 1932 games. InterMat did a special story on the 1932 U.S. wrestling team prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and noted that Los Angeles was the first venue to feature an Olympic Village.

    Riley also was an All-American tackle on the Northwestern football team and did not take up wrestling until junior year. His late start did not matter, as he was a two-time NCAA Champion at heavyweight (1931, 1932) and 1931 Big Ten Champion.

    Be sure to tune into the 2012 Summer Olympics on Saturday, August 11, to see if Jake Herbert can add another medal to the Northwestern wrestling program's collection!

    BLOG: A Pre-Media Day Blitz, Part I

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    On Thursday, 'Cat coach Pat Fitzgerald will meet with the nation's press at the Big Ten's annual football media day. But before fulfilling that obligation, he sat down with Special Contributor Skip Myslenski, who began their discussion by reminding him of a comment he made last spring. "You look back at those games (his 'Cats dropped last season during their five-game losing streak) and you go, 'Gosh, you know, we're not that far away. But to make up that far, what do we need to do, how do we need to adjust?,'" Fitzgerald had said then, which prompted Myslenski to ask this. Did he come up with any answers between then and now?
    Former Northwestern swimmer Kate Stephensen, a 2011 graduate and current James Madison Memorial Fellow, was selected to join 23 of the nation's best distance swimmers at the USA Swimming National Open Water Select Camp in June. Former NU associate head men's coach Kyle Schack served on the staff at the camp. The following is a guest blog written by Stephensen about her four-day experience in Fort Myers, Fla.

    By Kate Stephensen

    In June I was honored to participate in the USA Swimming National Open Water Select Camp. Key words for the week included: fun, teamwork and flexibility.

    Rhythms of Rwanda

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    EDITOR'S NOTE: Kristin currently is on a two-month journey in a small village in Rwanda called Musanze where she is teaching English at a non-profit organization that combats poverty through housing and education. While there, Kristin is maintaining a separate blog from her regular Schark Bytes column called Rhythms of Rwanda.

    Below is an excerpt from an entry today entitled "When Teacher Becomes Student." Be sure to check her blog regularly to follow her inspiration, adventures and photos in what is easily one of the most interesting summer stints for any NCAA student-athlete.

    "Today, we are going to learn pronouns," I announce to the students before me.

    It's my first time teaching at the MOC, a special session about writing. I've got to admit, I'm a little nervous, but I go with what I know and relay all of the tips that I've picked up as a writer over the last few years. After forty-five minutes of tools to make our writing smoother- namely transitional words and pronouns- we break for lunch and I breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't freeze up and forget my lesson.

    When lunch ends, I grab a notebook and pen and begin the 15-minute trek up the road through Musanze for a little learning of my own. Tucked away in a small row of buildings off the main road in Musanze is a 10×10 room filled with vibrant paintings and intricate sculptures. A zebra with brilliant black and white stripes and an oversized portrait of Paul Kagame in front of the Rwandan flag are just two of a dozen pieces that cover the walls, while sand-colored sculptures that swirl upward from the floor are all over the ground. The room is called 'Volcanoes Arts' and serves as a studio and shop for local artists Jean Pierre (John Peter) Masambuko and Jean d'amour (John of Love) Ntihemuka. It also serves as my own personal Kinyarwanda training center.

    The first time I met Masambuko and Ntihemuka was by chance on a morning walk down the road. When Masambuko and I ran into each other and realized we shared a mutual enthusiasm for learning the other's culture, we bonded instantly. His English is above average and my Kinyarwanda is sub-par; it's a match made in heaven.

    Continue reading at Kristin's Rhythms of Rwanda blog!

    BTN'S "School Days" Highlights Northwestern Today

    Big Ten Network will devote 24 hours to Northwestern programming today (July 9), as part of its summer "School Days" series.  Programming highlights include several thrilling Northwestern football victories, including the 'Hail Mary' victory at Minnesota in 2007 and a 54-51 win over Michigan that electrified Ryan Field during the 2000 season.

    The "School Days" series will also feature Northwestern-only programming on July 31. A full programming lineup for Thursday is listed below, and the most up-to-date information for Northwestern coverage across TV, internet and radio can always be found at

    Big Ten Network - July 9 (All times CT)
    5 AM -
    Football - Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25 (11/5/11)
    7 AM - Men's Soccer - Northwestern 1, Indiana 1 (NU advances on PKs; 11/11/11)
    9 AM - Men's Soccer - Northwestern 2, Penn State 1 (11/13/11; Big Ten Championship)
    11 AM - Football - Northwestern 51, Wisconsin 48 (10/8/05)
    1 PM - University Showcase - News @ Northwestern
    1:30 PM - Football - Northwestern 24, Wisconsin 17 (11/1/08)
    3:30 PM - Football - Northwestern 49, Minnesota 48 (10/23/07)
    5:30 PM - Big Ten Icons - Otto Graham
    6 PM - Men's Basketball - Northwestern 75, Iowa 74 (1/26/05)
    8 PM - Football - Northwestern 54, Michigan 51 (11/4/00)
    10 AM - Football - Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25 (11/5/11
    12 AM - Men's Soccer - Northwestern 2, Penn State 1 (11/13/11; Big Ten Championship)
    2 AM - Men's Soccer - Northwestern 1, Indiana 1 (NU advances on PKs; 11/11/11)
    4 AM - Football - Northwestern 51, Wisconsin 48 (10/8/05)