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    NU Sends Six to St. Louis for NCAA Championships

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Lee Munster is one of three NU redshirt freshmen wrestling in their first NCAA championships.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Lee Munster is one of three NU redshirt freshmen wrestling in their first NCAA championships.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    March 13, 2012

    Watch NCAA Championships Preview Video on Wildcats All Access!

    Watch Video from NU's Tuesday Workout on Wildcats All Access!

    2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships
    Thurs., March 15 - Sat., March 17• All Day
    Site: 
    Scottrade Center (St. Louis, Mo.)
    Webstream:
    Sessions 1-6: ESPN3.com
    TV:
    Sessions 3-5 ESPNU / Session 6 - ESPN
    Twitter Updates:
    @NU_SportsLIVE / #d1wrestle
    Live Stats: TrackWrestling.com

    2012 NCAA Championships Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    2012 B1G Championships Bracket Get Acrobat Reader

    EVANSTON, Ill. - It all comes down to the final week of the season for Northwestern as the 'Cats send six wrestlers to compete with the best in the nation at the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo. Six sessions of competition take place from Thursday, March 15-Saturday, March 17 inside the Scottrade Center.

    This year's group of six NU NCAA qualifiers has a variety of experience as three are returning qualifiers and three others will be competing in their first NCAA championship. Redshirt junior Jason Welch (157) has the most experience of the group, wrestling in his third championship, while junior Levi Mele (125) and sophomore Kaleb Friedley (149) are both two-time qualifiers. Redshirt freshmen Pierce Harger (165), Lee Munster (174) and Mike McMullan (Hwt) are all first-time qualifiers.
     
    Fans can watch complete coverage of the NCAA championships via the ESPN family of networks and a complete schedule is as follows. Links to ESPN3.com streams are listed below.

    Thursday, March 15
    11 a.m. - Session I - First Round
    ESPN3.com (Shawn Kenney, Jim Gibbons)
    Session I - Mat 1
    Session I - Mat 2
    Session I - Mat 3
    Session I - Mat 4

    6:30 p.m. - Session II - Second Round, Wrestlebacks
    ESPN3.com (Shawn Kenney, Jim Gibbons)
    Session II - Mat 1
    Session II - Mat 2
    Session II - Mat 3
    Session II - Mat 4
     
    Friday, March 16
    10 a.m. - Session III - Quarterfinals, Two Rounds of Wrestlebacks
    ESPNU/ESPN3.com (Anthony Robles, Tim Johnson, Adam Amin)
    Session III - Mat 1
    Session III - Mat 2
    Session III - Mat 3
    Session III - Mat 4

    6 p.m. - Session IV - Semifinals, Two Rounds of Wrestlebacks
    ESPNU/ESPN3.com (Anthony Robles, Tim Johnson, Adam Amin)
    Semifinal Matches
     
    Saturday, March 17
    10 a.m. - Session V - Championship Medal Round (3rd, 5th, 7th place)
    ESPNU/ESPN3.com (Anthony Robles, Tim Johnson)
    Medal Rounds


    6:30 p.m. - Session VI - Championship Final
    ESPN/ESPN3.com - (Anthony Robles, Tim Johnson, Adam Amin)
    Finals
     
    *All times are Central time
     
    NU NCAA Qualifiers

    Weight Name Overall
    Record
    vs.
    Field
    B1G
    Finish
    NCAA
    Appearances
    CP/RPI
    125 #9 Levi Mele 30-6 7-5 4th (AQ) 2nd 9/10
    149 Kaleb Friedley 20-11 4-7 7th (AQ) 2nd 26/25
    157 #3 Jason Welch 23-1 7-1 2nd (AQ) 3rd 2/4
    165 Pierce Harger 21-12 3-11 6th (AQ) 1st 28/24
    174 #8 Lee Munster 23-10 6-10 4th (AQ) 1st 13/15
    Hwt. #10 Mike McMullan 23-10 8-9 4th (AQ) 1st 13/13

    Ranking indicates seed; CP indicates NCAA coaches poll ranking

    Notes on NU's Group of Six...


    Breakout Season - Levi Mele - 125
    Junior Levi Mele is having the best season of his NU wrestling career with a 30-6 record and fourth place finish at Big Ten's. After starting the season 16-0 and going 19-2 through Midlands, he hit a bit of a roadblock in mid-January, losing back-to-back bouts, but Mele got back on track, winning eight-straight matches. Included in that winning streak was a 13-7 win over then-No. 5 Jesse Delgado from Illinois. Mele has five wins over ranked opponents this year and has far surpassed last year's win total of 18 with a team-leading 30 victories this year. He also leads NU with 12 pins and is second on the team, scoring 57 dual points.
     
    Power Pinner - Kaleb Friedley - 149
    Kaleb Friedley is tied for second on the NU squad with eight falls this year. As a freshman, Friedley won 13 of his 25 bouts, or 52.0 percent, by fall. In total, Friedley has 21 pins in his NU career, meaning 46.7 percent of his 45 wins have been by fall. Friedley also makes quick work of his opponents as six of his falls this year came in the first period, while he had five falls in the first three minutes last year.
     
    Winning Welch - Jason Welch - 157
    Jason Welch concluded the regular season a perfect 21-0 and his 23-match winning streak was the longest for any NU wrestler this year. Welch has won a majority of his matches in dominating fashion as 16 of his 23 wins (69.6 percent; seven major decisions, four tech falls and five pins) have come with bonus points. He has outscored his opponents 188-37 so far this year (doesn't include point totals in his five bouts won by fall). In fact, the most any opponent has scored on Welch this year is four points, but the three times an opponent scored four on Welch, he won those bouts by major decision.
     
    Battle Tested - Pierce Harger - 165
    Pierce Harger has had one of the more grueling schedules on this year's Northwestern squad, facing nine ranked opponents in his redshirt freshman season. Harger has weathered the storm, and while he has one win over those ranked opponents, three of those losses were by four points or less. Harger rattled off a five-match winning streak to close the regular season and wrestled above his seed at his first Big Ten championships, placing sixth as the No. 8 seed.
     
    Coming on Strong - Lee Munster - 174
    Lee Munster is peaking at the right time, heading into the NCAA championships. After dropping four-straight matches in January against four other NCAA qualifiers from the Big Ten, Munster is 8-2. Two wins over ranked opponents, including a 9-1 major decision over No. 18 Curran Jacobs of MSU, who beat Munster during the losing streak, and a fourth-place finish as the No. 9 seed at Big Ten's are included in that stretch. Munster has been in a number of close matches this year as four losses were decided by three points or less.
     
    Big Wins - Mike McMullan - Hwt
    Mike McMullan has had some of the bigger wins for Northwestern this year as he has victories over four heavyweights (CMU's Peter Sturgeon, Iowa's Bobby Telford, MSU's Mike McClure, Nebraska's Tucker Lane) that were ranked in the top-10 at the time of the match. In total, McMullan has seven matches against top-10 heavyweights and was close in the three losses, losing by no more than two points. McMullan is 2-1 against Iowa heavyweights this year as he defeated the Hawkeyes' 2011 Big Ten champion Blake Rasing, 4-3 at Midlands and edged 2012 Big Ten runner-up Bobby Telford, 7-5 in sudden victory during the dual season. McMullan's lone loss to Telford, also came in sudden victory by a 4-2 decision at Midlands. He also was within one point against Minnesota's No. 3 Tony Nelson in the Big Ten semifinals and one point of No. 5 Cameron Wade of PSU in the third-place match as both were 4-3 decisions.
     
    A Look Back...
    Last year, three NU wrestlers stood on the podium as All-Americans and the Wildcats tied for 12th with 72.0 points. Then-sophomore Jason Welch had a noteworthy tournament, upsetting No. 1 seed Adam Hall of Boise State in the quarterfinals and was three points away from edging eventual NCAA champion Bubba Jenkins of ASU in the semifinals. Welch, the No. 8 seed, finished sixth at 157 lbs., his first All-America honor. Then-senior and No. 3 seed Brandon Precin capped off his NU career as a three-time All-American, finishing third at 125 lbs. After being pinned in his first match, then-senior and No. 11 seed Andrew Nadhir wrestled all the way back (seven matches) for a sixth place finish at 149 to end his NU career as a first-time All-American.
     
    With the exception of 2009-10 when Northwestern had one NCAA qualifier, the 'Cats have placed in the top 15 and have had at least one All-American in six of the last seven seasons. NU's best finish during that run came during the 2006-07 season when NU had four All-Americans and finished fourth in the team race.
     
    March (Back) to the Arch
    After a two-year hiatus, the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships return to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Last year's edition was in Philadelphia, Pa., while the 2010 championships were in Omaha, Neb. Northwestern has fond memories of St. Louis since the last time NCAA's were at the Scottrade Center (2009), Northwestern had just four qualifiers, but finished 13th thanks to a second national title for Jake Herbert at 184 lbs. and All-America honors for Brandon Precin as he placed third at 125 lbs.
     
    Northwestern has six NCAA qualifiers competing in St. Louis this year, which ties for the second-highest total in school history. NU had a school-record seven qualifiers in 2006, placing 13th with three All-Americans (Jake Herbert, Ryan Lang and John Velez).

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