May 5, 2011
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's stellar first season under the direction of Drew Pariano did not go unnoticed by the college wrestling community. Pariano was tabbed as Rookie Head Coach of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News magazine for leading NU to an 18-2 dual record, coaching three All-Americans and a 13th-place showing at the national meet.
Northwestern's 18 dual victories included a 6-2 ledger in the Big Ten, the best conference record by the 'Cats since 1987. Under Pariano's guidance, NU picked up its first road win over Ohio State since 1998 and snapped a two-match losing skid against in-state foe Illinois.
The Wildcats defeated four top-25 opponents in all and won three matches by shutout, including a 38-0 blanking of Northern Illinois.
Pariano's wrestlers peaked at the NCAA Championships, where senior Brandon Precin posted his second-career third-place finish at 125 pounds while senior Andrew Nadhir (149) and sophomore Jason Welch (157) each became first-time All-Americans.
Pariano also coached sophomore Levi Mele (133) and true freshman Kaleb Friedley (141) to their first appearances at the national meet.
Other highlights of Pariano's first season coaching his alma mater included Precin's becoming a two-time Midlands champion and a seventh-place finish for NU at the Big Ten Championships, a four-spot improvement over Northwestern's placing in the 2010 team standings.
Pariano, who spent five seasons as a top assistant on NU's staff and was honored in 2008 as the NWCA Assistant Coach of the Year, is currently mentoring several members of the Wildcats squad through spring freestyle competition. Precin recently won the University Nationals meet while last month freshman Lee Munster
became a two-time champion at the FILA Junior Nationals.
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