March 21, 2014
NCAA Bracket Session III
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Northwestern RS freshman Jason Tsirtsis advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships, earning All-American status with a hard fought quarterfinal tiebreaker win.
Tsirtsis defeated 2013 NCAA Champion at 141 lbs. Kendric Maples of Oklahoma by a 2-1 tiebreaker decision in extra time during the quarterfinals. Also for the ‘Cats, Mike McMullan advanced in the wrestlebacks of the 285 lbs. bracket. At 165 lbs., No. 7 seed Pierce Harger fell in the quarterfinals but remains alive in the consolation bracket and will wrestler Friday night.
Session IV continues live on ESPN and also online on ESPN3.com starting at 7:00 p.m. CT with the semifinals at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. tonight.
“It feels good to secure that All-American spot and feels even better to be one match from the finals, so I’m excited,” Tsirtsis said. “[Maples] is very dangerous on his feet. I knew I was going to have to be tough on the mat to beat him. I just want to make sure what I’ve done this whole season, I’m putting it out there in the semifinals.”
The 149 lbs. Big Ten Champion and Big Ten Freshman of the Year and seeded No. 5 at NCAAs Tsirtsis matched up with No. 4 seed from Oklahoma Maples, who took home the NCAA Championship at 141 lbs. last season. The defending national champion tallied the match’s first point to take a 1-0 lead. Tsirtsis looked to tie things up with an escape and appeared destined for one after starting the third period in the down position trailing 1-0. However, as Tsirtsis freed his body, Maples grabbed Tsirtsis’ leg and held on, preventing the freshman from Crown Point, Ind. to tally a point.
Tsirtsis was able to tie the match with less than a minute in the third, pushing up Maple’s arms and freeing himself with an escape to force overtime. In the extra period, Tsirtsis scored an escape to take his first lead of the match 2-1. With Maple’s looking to match, Tsirtsis hung on and refused to give up an escape to the Sooner, recording a 2-1 decision and advancing to the semifinals at 149 lbs.
Tsirtsis advances to face top seeded Drake Houdashelt of Missouri, a junior who has compiled a 37-1 record on the season.
Also in the quarterfinals, at 165 lbs. No. 7 Harger fell to No. 2 seed Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State by a 14-2 major decision.
No. 6 seed McMullan advanced in the wrestlebacks and will face unseeded Ross Larson of Oklahoma Friday night. McMullan got a 4-0 decision over West Virginia’s Anthony Vizcarrondo in the morning session.
In the morning session, Dominick Malone (133) and Alex Polizzi (197) lost in the wrestlebacks.
As a team, Northwestern has tallied 18.0 points to rank t-15th with Lehigh. Michigan is No. 4 with 19 points and NU sits two points of Iowa State and Nebraska.
149: No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis (NU) dec. (TB1) No. 4 Kendric Maple (OU), 2-1 (TB1)
165: No. 2 Tyler Caldwell (OKST) maj. dec. No. 7 Pierce Harger (NU), 14-2
133: No. 11 Ryan Mango (STAN) dec. Dominick Malone (NU), 8-4
197: No. 15 Braden Atwood (PUR) fall No. 16 Alex Polizzi (NU), 2:32
285: No. 6 Mike McMullan (NU) dec. Anthony Vizcarrondo (WVU), 4-0
Session IV Matchups
149: No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis (NU) vs. No. 1 Drake Houdashelt (MIZZ)
165: No. 7 Pierce Harger (NU) vs. Ryan LeBlanc (IND)
285: No. 6 Mike McMullan (NU) vs. No. 9 Connor Medbery (WIS)
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!