March 16, 2012
Watch Video from Session I on Wildcats All Access!
Watch an Interview with Welch After Session III on Wildcats All Access!
2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships - Session III
Site: Scottrade Center (St. Louis, Mo.)
NU Result: T-12/25.5
Championship Website: NCAA.com
Live Stats & Updated Brackets: TrackWrestling.com
Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLive / #d1wrestle / #NCAAWrestle
2012 NCAA Championship Bracket
Session IV (Friday, March 16, 6 p.m. CT): ESPNU / ESPN3.com
Session V (Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m. CT): ESPNU / ESPN3.com
Session VI (Saturday, March 17, 6:30 p.m. CT): ESPN / ESPN3.com
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Junior Jason Welch assured himself All-America status Friday morning, winning his quarterfinal bout and will place in the top eight at 157. Third-seeded Welch, a 2011 All-American, will wrestle No. 2 seed Derek St. John of Iowa in tonight's semifinals, which air live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Redshirt freshman Mike McMullan also is fighting for his first All-American honors as he continues in the wrestleback round at heavyweight. The four other NU NCAA qualifiers saw their seasons come to an end during Session III of the NCAA championships. Northwestern is tied for 12th in the team standings with 25.5 points.
Welch wrestled his way into the semifinals at 157 lbs., and his second All-America honor, edging No. 11 James Green of Nebraska. After a scoreless first period, Green chose down for the second and Welch racked up riding time for the entire period, but Green was awarded a point for a locked hands call against Northwestern. Trailing 1-0, Welch chose down for the third, escaped and hung on with 1:45 of riding time to win, 2-1. Welch now faces a much-anticipated rematch with St. John in the semifinals tonight. These two are quite familiar with each other, having wrestled each other less than two weeks ago in the 2012 Big Ten Championship finals and have faced each other four times. Welch is looking for his first win over St. John and Friday night's match will be his 100th career bout at Northwestern.
No. 10 Mike McMullan is still fighting for All-American status. He met No. 2 Tony Nelson of Minnesota in the quarterfinals and was bounced to the consolation round as Nelson won by fall. The redshirt freshman now faces No. 11 Tucker Lane of Nebraska and needs to win that match to assure a top-eight finish and All-America honors.
Sophomore Kaleb Friedley went 1-1 at 149 in Session III, ending his run at the 2012 NCAA Championships. He began with a comeback victory over Virginia Tech's Nick Brascetta. Friedley trailed 2-1 at the end of the first and 4-2 in the second, but scored a reversal with two seconds left in the period to knot things up at 4-4. After a neutral third-period start, Friedley scored the winning takedown at 1:02 to win the bout, 6-4. He then took on Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi and dropped a 4-1 decision to conclude his season. Friedley ended his sophomore campaign with a 22-13 record.
Three Wildcats bowed out in the second round of wrestlebacks Friday morning. No. 9 Levi Mele's trip to the NCAA championships concluded as he was edged 6-4 by Oregon State's Pat Rollins. The junior trailed 2-1 after the first period and tied things up at 2-2 with a second-period escape. Rollins added a takedown to lead 4-2 heading into the third. He then added an escape and Mele scored a takedown with the match winding down, but it wasn't enough as Rollins also had a riding time point in the 6-4 decision. Mele concludes the 2011-12 season with a 31-8 record, the best mark of his three-year NU career.
A pair of redshirt freshman also fought in close matches during Session III but came up short. At 174, No. 8 Lee Munster fell 2-1 to Navy's Peter Huntley. Munster had the 1-0 lead at the end of the second off an escape, but Huntley scored the winning reversal in the third and rode out the period to win, 2-1. Munster ends his redshirt freshman season with a 24-12 record.
Pierce Harger met Oklahoma's Patrick Graham at 165 and had a 2-2 tie in the first as Graham scored the first takedown and Harger countered with a reversal. That would be the final points of the bout for Harger though as Graham scored off two more escapes and had 2:01 of RT for the 5-2 decision. Harger's concluded his 2011-12 season with a 22-14 overall record.
Welch and McMullan will compete in Session IV tonight inside the Scottrade Center beginning at 6 p.m. CT
Session III - Quarterfinals
157: No. 3 Jason Welch dec No. 11 James Green (Nebraska), 2-1
Hwt: No. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota) pins No. 10 Mike McMullan, 4:50
125: Pat Rollins (Oregon State) dec Levi Mele, 6-4
149: Kaleb Friedley dec Nick Brascetta (Virginia Tech), 6-4
149: Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State) dec Kaleb Friedley, 4-1
165: Patrick Graham (Oklahoma) dec Pierce Harger, 5-2
174: Peter Huntley (Navy) dec No. 8 Lee Munster, 2-1
Session IV Schedule
157: No. 3 Jason Welch vs. No. 2 Derek St. John
St. John dec Welch, 4-3 at Big Ten championship finals - 3/4/12
St. John dec Welch, 6-1 at 2011 NCAA Championships - 3/19/11
St. John dec Welch, 5-2 at 2011 Big Ten Championships - 3/5/11
St. John dec Welch, 4-2 at Iowa dual - 1/28/11
Wrestleback Round Three
Hwt: No. 10 Mike McMullan vs. No. 11 Tucker Lane (Nebraska)
Previous meeting: McMullan pins Lane, 6:58 at Big Ten championship semifinals
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