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    Wildcats Well Represented at U.S. Open, FILA Junior Nationals

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Former Northwestern standout Jake Herbert is now a two-time U.S. Open champion at 84 kg.
    Former Northwestern standout Jake Herbert is now a two-time U.S. Open champion at 84 kg.

    April 25, 2010

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    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The past, present and future of Northwestern wrestling were on display during a marquee weekend for freestyle wrestling over the last three days in Cleveland. Former Wildcat national champion and current USA World Team member Jake Herbert claimed a U.S. Open title for the second straight year while incoming freshman Lee Munster captured his first title at the FILA Junior Nationals at 84 kg (185 lbs).

    Herbert, a silver medalist at the World Freestyle Championships for the United States last September, became the first Northwestern wrestler ever to win back-to-back U.S. Open championships when he defeated Bryce Hasseman -- who has finished third, third and second in the last three national meets -- in the 84 kg title match. Herbert was rarely tested in his four matches in Cleveland, running through the freestyle tournament without ever losing a period.

    Herbert's march to the national title included a second-round victory against his former Northwestern teammate and training partner Mike Tamillow. Herbert won by a 5-0, 3-0 score over Tamillow.

    Herbert will once again be the top seed at the USA World Team Trials in June when he will fight for the right to go to the World Championships in Moscow later this year in an effort to improve on his silver-medal performance in 2009.

    Meanwhile, Munster (Fox Lake, Ill./Grant) became one of 11 champions at the FILA Junior Nationals when he defeated Grant Gambrell, a redshirt freshman and place-winner at the 2009 Midlands Championships for the University of Iowa, in the title bout, 2-1, 3-2. As a result, Munster -- a three-time Illinois state champion in Illinois and the nation's top-ranked 189-pound recruit -- earned the top seed and an automatic trip to the best-of-three finals for May's FILA Junior World Team Trials in Colorado Springs.



    Another member of Northwestern's second-ranked incoming recruiting class to participate at the FILA Junior Nationals was Pierce Harger (Loveland, Ohio/Archbishop Moeller). Harger was among the entrants at 74 kg/163 lbs. in the Greco Roman bracket, going 4-1 on the weekend on his way to an impressive third-place finish. Harger, a two-time third-place finisher at the Ohio state championships, won three matches in the wrestlebacks including a pin of Wisconsin freshman Kalvin York in the consolation semifinal.

    Joining Herbert in the championship bracket of the senior U.S. Open was Northwestern senior and two-time All-American Brandon Precin (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg), who competed unattached in the 55 kg (121 lbs.) weight division. Precin began his first trip to the U.S. Open in strong fashion when he defeated former NCAA champion Paul Donahoe in three periods, 3-0, 2-3, 4-0 in the first round. Precin lost his ensuing match to Obe Blanc -- who Precin had previously defeated during the 2009 NCAA Championships in St. Louis -- to move into the wrestlebacks. Blanc would go on to win the 55 kg U.S. Open title.

    After splitting the outcomes of his next two matches, Precin landed in the seventh-place match against Sam Hazewinkel, a former four-time All-American at Oklahoma and a two-time U.S. Nationals champion. Precin rebounded from dropping the opening period 0-2 to win the next two, 3-1, 5-4, to come away with seventh place and earn a bid to the USA Senior World Team Trials.

    Visit the official Web site of USA Wrestling for complete brackets and coverage from the U.S. Open and FILA Junior Nationals, linked at the top of the page.


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