Aug. 12, 2011
2011-12 Northwestern Wrestling Schedule
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Looking to build on one of the winningest dual seasons in Northwestern history, head coach Drew Pariano announced today (Friday) the Wildcats' 2011-12 tournament and dual schedule. NU will feature in at least eight home competitions, including the 49th annual Midlands Championships as well as a Jan. 13 tilt with defending NCAA champion Penn State.
"We have a perfect mix of returning starters as well as young guys who are ready to step into key roles for the first time in their careers," said Pariano, the 2010-11 Amateur Wrestling News Rookie Head Coach of the Year. "All of them have been training hard in the offseason, with many guys competing in national and international events to prepare for the upcoming year, so we are looking forward to the start of fall practice."
NU will attempt to win a season-opening dual against a talented Stanford program for the second straight year, this time doing so in Chicagoland on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Marist High School. The 'Cats then will get their first taste of tournament competition at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 12) and the Keystone Classic (Nov. 20) in Philadelphia, where last year NU placed second in the team standings.
Following a trio of home nonconference duals in December, Northwestern will welcome many of the nation's top collegiate wrestlers to Welsh-Ryan Arena when it hosts the 49th annual Midlands Championships on Dec. 29-30. Fans are encouraged to be on the lookout for early-bird Midlands ticket specials that will be announced in coming weeks to secure optimal reserved seating options.
January promises to be jam-packed with Big Ten action for NU, with seven of Northwestern's eight conference duals falling in that calendar month. The stretch leads off with a home test against Michigan on Jan. 6, followed two days later by a trip to Madison, where NU will look for a second straight victory over Wisconsin.
A challenging weekend looms the following week when the Wildcats host defending Big Ten and NCAA champion Penn State at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13 and then travel to take on perennial title contender Iowa on Sunday.
As it does each year, Northwestern will welcome former 'Cats back to Evanston for Alumni Weekend, this year doing so on Friday, Jan. 20, for a home dual against Michigan State. The month closes with a road swing to in-state rival Illinois and Purdue on Jan. 27-29, respectfully.
NU steps out of conference two final times in early February before closing the dual slate on Senior Night against Indiana (Feb. 17).
Championship season will see Northwestern travel to West Lafayette and the campus of Purdue for the conference tournament -- which for the first time will include traditional power Nebraska -- and then to St. Louis and the Scottrade Center for the NCAA Championships March 15-17. The Wildcats walked away with individual national championships each of the last two times St. Louis hosted the event, with Dustin Fox claiming the heavyweight title in 2008 and Jake Herbert winning his second 184-pound championship in 2009.
Northwestern returns nine wrestlers with starting dual experience, including 2011 NCAA qualifiers Levi Mele (133), Kaleb Friedley (141) and All-American Jason Welch (157). NU posted an 18-2 record a year ago, including a 6-2 mark in Big Ten action.
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