Dec. 30, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Team Standings: 2nd/43 (105.5 points)
Next NU Event: Friday, Jan. 6, 2012 vs. Michigan • 7 p.m. • Welsh-Ryan Arena
Final Brackets & Team Standings
2011 Midlands Championships Website
Big Ten Network Video Highlights
EVANSTON, Ill - Friday night's finale of the 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships was a memorable one for Northwestern as two Wildcat wrestlers won titles, two others placed and the team achieved its best finish in school history at second place. In the 49-year history of the tournament, Northwestern has placed third in the team race five times, but in 2011 the Wildcats finished second with 105.5 points and five wrestlers in the top eight at their respective weight classes.
NU junior Jason Welch and redshirt freshman Lee Munster won titles at 157 lbs. and 174 lbs., respectively. The last time Northwestern had two Midlands champions in the same year came during the 2008 season when Jake Herbert (184) and Brandon Precin (125) both finished first. Junior Levi Mele wrapped up the tournament in fourth place at 125 lbs. and redshirt freshman Mike McMullan found himself on the podium for the second-consecutive year, this time finishing fourth at heavyweight.
Top-seed Jason Welch became a Midlands champion for the first time in his career, defeating No. 2 seed Granbayar Sanjaa from American, 4-2. For the fourth time in the tournament, Welch came from back from a first-period deficit for the win. Sanjaa struck first with a takedown but Welch escaped, putting the score at 2-1 heading into the second. Welch started the second on top and was awarded a point after two stall calls for Sanjaa and Welch remained on top the entire period, racking up riding time. He then started the third on bottom and took the 3-2 lead with an escape and secured the 4-2 victory with 1:52 of riding time.
No. 5 seed Lee Munster was the lowest seeded wrestler to win a title this year as he upset second-seeded Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa 7-3 in the finals at 174 lbs. The NU redshirt freshman was aggressive from the get-go, scoring two takedowns in the first period and had the 4-2 lead after two escapes for Lofthouse. Munster began the second period down and added to his lead with an escape and takedown. Lofthouse scored one final point with an escape in the third and Munster hung on for the 7-3 lead.
No. 4 seed Levi Mele placed at Midlands for the first time in his Northwestern career, finishing fourth at 125 lbs. He met top-seeded Jesse Delgado of Illinois in the third place bout and lost by fall.
No. 10 seed McMullan, who finished eighth last year while competing unattached in his redshirt season, also took fourth. He wrestled Iowa State's Matt Gibson and despite a flurry of reversals between the two wrestlers early on in the match, McMullan took fourth with a 9-4 loss.
John Schoen was the fifth Northwestern wrestler to place as he took eighth in Session III.
Northwestern begins the Big Ten dual season at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan 6, hosting Michigan at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Individual awards from the 2011 Midlands Championships are listed below:
Dan Gable Most Outstanding Wrestler: Kendric Maple, Oklahoma
Midlands Champion of Champions Award: Kendric Maple, Oklahoma
Individual High Scorer Award: Jake Patacsil, Notre Dame (28.5)
Fastest Fall Award: Alex Pellicciotti, Bucknell (0:14)
Gorriaran Memorial: Steve Monk, North Dakota State (3)
No. 1 Jesse Delgado (Ill) fall No. 4 Levi Mele (NU), 1:44
No. 1 Jason Welch (NU) dec. No. 2 Ganbayar Sanjaa (Amer), 4-2
No. 5 Lee Munster (NU) dec. No 2. Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 7-3
Matt Gibson (ISU) dec. No. 10 Mike McMullan (NU), 9-4
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