April 1, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern wrestler and 2014 NCAA and Big Ten Champion Jason Tsirtsis (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) has been named the nation’s Freshman of the Year by InterMat.
In his first year of competition, Tsirtsis became Northwestern’s first freshman to win NCAA and Big Ten Championships. He brought home the Wildcats first individual NCAA Championship winning three consecutive overtime matches and defeating Oklahoma State’s Joshua Kindig in the 149 lbs. title bout in Oklahoma City.
Also tabbed the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Tsirtsis defeated Nebraska’s Jake Sueflohn to win a Big Ten Championship.
“Jason has reached a goal that very few athletes have attained. With that being said, he will need to work even harder to maintain his edge,” Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano
said. “We look forward to his future at Northwestern and on the international wrestling circuit. Furthermore, this accomplishment is just the beginning and it proves that we are taking the steps necessary to become NCAA Champions at Northwestern.”
This year’s NCAA wrestling class of freshman made a big impact right away, Tsirtsis talked about the newcomers jumping onto the scene quickly.
“It has to do with previous college wrestlers giving back,” Tsirtsis said. “Those type of guys are running either elite freestyle youth clubs or they're going back coaching high schools. Those type of things benefit the kids because they're getting top-notch technique and mentoring as a 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year-old, so they're ready to jump in and make a big impact on this level.”
Tsirtsis finished the year with a 32-3 record, ending the season winning his final 16 matches. He finished with five first place votes and 76 points in the voting by InterMat. Missouri’s J’den Cox finished in second behind Tsirtsis with 70 points and three first place votes.
2014 InterMat Freshman of the Year
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)
1. Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern 76 (5)
2. J'den Cox, Missouri 70 (3)
3. Zain Retherford, Penn State 48
4. Gabe Dean, Cornell 31 (1)
5. Haley Augello, King 10 (1)
6. Adam Coon, Michigan 8
7. Joey Dance, Virginia Tech 3
T8. Cory Clark, Iowa 1
T8. Isaac Jordan, Wisconsin 1
T8. Riley Lefever, Wabash 1
T8. Mitch Minotti, Lehigh 1
Tsirtsis becomes the first Northwestern wrestler to be named Freshman of the Year by InterMat, which began the award in 2006. The Big Ten has now produced three of the past four winners.
"Jason Tsirtsis came into the season possessing all the ingredients needed to make a championship run as a freshman," according to InterMat senior editor Andrew Hipps. "In addition to his physical gifts, Jason has an extraordinary wrestling mind and is a true student of the sport. He has risen to the top at every level of wrestling, which has given him the confidence to win as a freshman, and competed on big stages throughout his entire life, which has given him the poise to handle high-pressure situations. Many freshmen hope to be NCAA champions. Jason expected to be an NCAA champion as a freshman. Jason also has a strong support system and coaches that help him get the most out of his ability."
InterMat Freshman of the Year Winners
2014: Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern
2013: Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State
2012: Logan Stieber, Ohio State
2011: David Taylor, Penn State
2010: Kyle Dake, Cornell
2009: Andrew Howe, Wisconsin
2008: Mike Grey, Cornell
2007: Jake Varner, Iowa State
2006: Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota
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