March 17, 2011
Event: 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships -- Session I
Site: Philadelphia, Pa. Wells Fargo Center (19,500)
Final Session I Brackets
Updated Team Standings (After Session I)
Championships Website: NCAA.com
NWCA Live Scoring: NWCA.com
Next NU Event: Session II (Thursday, 5:30 p.m. CT)
Live Updates: Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE) (Search hashtag #d1wrestle)
All three days of action at the 2011 NCAA Championships can be viewed live in their entirety and in high definition on the ESPN family of networks, including streaming webcasts on ESPN3.com. Below is a complete session-by-session viewing schedule:
Session II (Thursday, March 17, 5:30 p.m. CT): ESPN3.com
Session III (Friday, March 18, 9:30 a.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
Session IV (Friday, March 18, 6 p.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
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. -- Five NU wrestlers were among the 330 competitors with championship aspirations hitting the mats during the first morning of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships inside Philadelphia's Wells-Fargo Center Thursday morning. The Wildcats came out on top in three of their five first-round bouts to set up an exciting slate of matchups for Session II Thursday evening.
NU's Brandon Precin
(125), Levi Mele
(133) and Jason Welch
(141) all posted wins to advance to the second round of the championship bracket. Andrew Nadhir
(149) and true freshman Kaleb Friedley
both dropped hard-fought matches and will get back on the mat with a round of wrestlebacks in Session II.
Northwestern stands in a tie for 24th place with 7.0 team points after the first session of the Championships. Four Big Ten teams are among the top five teams in the current standings, with Conference champion Penn State leading the way with 20.0 points.
As has been the case all season, Precin set the tone for the Wildcats by coasting past Liberty's Robert Jillard by 11-0 major decision. Precin had a takedown only seconds into the match and rode Jillard the remainder of the first period to take control. After a reversal to open the second, Precin eventually came up with three near-fall points to set him on course for his 31st victory of the year and a second-round match with Joseph Langel of Rutgers Thursday night.
Mele made it two in a row for the 'Cats by battling his way to a 5-1 decision over Virginia's Joseph Spisak. After a scoreless first, Mele notched a reversal out of the bottom position to start the second, thus beginning nearly three minutes of riding time for the NU sophomore in his NCAA debut. Spisak was close to escaping on several occasions but was kept to the mat by Mele, who earned two back points in the waning seconds to hold on for the victory.
Mele is now set to meet the No. 1 seed at 133 pounds, Oklahoma State's Jordan Oliver, in round two.
Also making his debut at the Championships was Friedley, who was the only Wildcat facing a seeded wrestler in the first round as he took on No. 11 Matt Mariacher of American. Mariacher took a 2-0 lead into the second and picked up back points to make it 5-0, but a slick reversal by Friedley cut into his lead. Friedley, who racked up 13 pins this season, began working for the fall but could not tilt Mariacher, who notched a 7-2 decision win.
Nadhir will join Friedley in the wrestlebacks during Session II after a tough defeat to Lehigh's Joseph Napoli. The NU senior led 1-0 after an escape in the second before battling some headgear issues that put a stall on the match. With the match later tied at one in the third, a scramble that appeared to be headed off the mat instead resulted in a quick pin for Napoli at the 6:00 mark. It was the first time this season that Nadhir (29-6) has been pinned.
Nadhir begins his trek through the wrestlebacks Thursday vs. Pitt's Dane Johnson, against whom he won by major decision back on Jan. 9.
Making his second appearance at the NCAA Championships, eighth-seeded Welch ended NU's first session on a winning note as he sped past Oklahoma's Chase Nelson -- a 2010 Midlands champion -- by an 8-2 score at 157 pounds. Welch's early takedown and back points quickly took Nelson out of the match and allowed Welch to move onto the second round where he will face ninth-seeded James Fleming of Clarion.
Match-by-match outcomes and a schedule of Northwestern's matches for tonight's Session II can be found below:
NCAA Championships -- Session I First-Round Results
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) maj. dec. Robert Jillard (Liberty), 11-0
133: Levi Mele (NU) dec. Joseph Spisak (UVA), 5-1
141: #11 Matt Mariacher (AMER) dec. Kaleb Friedley (NU), 7-2
149: Joseph Napoli (LEH) FALL #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU), 6:00
157: #8 Jason Welch (NU) dec. Chase Nelson (OU), 8-2
NCAA Championships -- Session II Schedule
Championship Second Round
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. Joseph Langel (RUTG) (first meeting)
133: Levi Mele (NU) vs. #1 Jordan Oliver (OKST) (first meeting)
157: #8 Jason Welch (NU) vs. #9 James Fleming (CLAR) (first meeting)
Wrestlebacks First Round
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) vs. Anwar Goeres (BING) (first meeting)
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. Dane Johnson (PITT)
Previous meeting: Jan. 9, 2011: Nadhir maj. dec. Johnson, 20-7 (at Pitt Duals)
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