Oct. 31, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill.-- The Wildcats open their season hosting the NU Duals at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday, Nov. 2. Northwestern takes on the University of Chicago at 2 p.m. followed by a match against Stevens Tech at 3:30 p.m. Shortly after the 3:30 p.m. match, Stevens Tech and Chicago will face off against each other.
Northwestern returns a veteran squad for 2013-14 that includes nine returning starters and 14 letterwinners from last year's team that finished in the top 20 at the NCAA championships. Five of six NCAA qualifiers from 2012-13 are back this year, including two-time All-American and NCAA finalist Mike McMullan (heavyweight).
NU’s probable starters for Saturday include:
125: Garrison White
133: Dom Malone
141: Pat Greco
149: Jason Tsirtsis
157: Ben Sullivan/Kevin Bialka
165: Pierce Harger/Dylan Marriott
174: Lee Munster
184: Jacob Berkowitz
197: Alex Polizzi
285: Open because Mike McMullan will be competing at the NWCA All-Star Classic
125: Garrison White went 24-16 in 2012-13, including 6-5 in duals . He competed in open tournaments and was on track to redshirt before season-ending injury to NU starter at 133, Levi Mele. He made first career start Jan. 6 vs. #4 Ohio State. White went 18-9 in open tournaments (6-7 while wrestling varsity), placed sixth at the MSU Open, third at Wisconsin Open, fifth at UNI Open, third at Cleveland State Open and went 2-2 while wrestling unattached at Midlands.
133: Dom Malone was NU's starter all season at 125 in 201213 and posted a 17-12 record, including 9-8 mark in duals. He had a team-leading eight falls and his 40 dual points tied for fourth on the team. Malone made NU debut in first dual of the season at Stanford and won the 125 lbs. title at Keystone Classic. He defeated then-No. 14 Mark Rappo (Penn), 6-4, in Keystone Classic finals. Malone ent on six-match winning streak after losing his NU debut.
141: Pat Greco was an Academic All-Big Ten and 2013 NCAA Qualifier at 141 last season. He wrestled at his first NCAA Championships, placed sixth at 2013 Big Ten Championships to receive automatic bid to NCAA's and went 3-3 while wrestling in first Big Ten tournament.
149: Jason Tsirtsis represented the United States at the 2013 FILA Junior World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Wrestling in the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. freestyle division, Tsirtsis competed against some of the best in the world and posted a 2-1 record en route to a seventh-place finish. He redshirted during the 2012-13 season at Northwestern and went 18-3 while competing unattached. He recorded five tech falls, five falls and two major decisions and wrestled in four tournaments, finishing first at the Wisconsin Open (141), UNI Open (149) and Cleveland State Open (149). Tsirtsis placed eighth in a highly-competitive Midlands field at 141, the No. 8 seed at Midlands, he went 3-3.
157: Ben Sullivan went 9-8 at 157 while wrestling unattached, recording two falls and one major decision. He finished fifth at the Michigan State Open, wrestled at the UNI Open and Cleveland State Open and went 1-2 at Midlands. Sullivan also wrestled freestyle at 74 kg at the 2013 ASICS University Nationals.
Kevin Bialka did not complete last season. In 2011-12, he went 6-2 overall at 165 and won six-straight matches from Nov. 5-Nov. 20. Bialka defeated Matt Schneider, 8-2, in NU's season-opening dual victory over No. 14 Stanford and placed sixth at the Keystone Classic.
165: Pierce Harger was named Academic All-Big Ten in 2012-13 and a NWCA All-Academic Team honoree. A 2013 NCAA Qualifier at 165, he went 26-10 on the season, starting every dual at 165. He posted a 14-3 dual record, including 5-3 mark in Big Ten duals. He wrestled a team-high 16 matches against 2013 NCAA qualifiers prior to the national tournament and went 1-2 at NCAA's, defeating Edinboro's Johnny Greisheimer, 6-5. Harger placed sixth at Big Ten's to earn an automatic bid to NCAA's.
Dylan Marriott was NU's starter at 149 pounds in 2012-13 and started 16 of 17 duals. Marriott picked up first career dual victory with 8-4 decision over Stanford's Timmy Boone in season-opener.
174: Lee Munster was a 2013 NCAA Qualifier after he received at-large bid. He posted 24-9 record on the season, including 14-3 mark in duals and 5-3 record in Big Ten duals. He captured the 174 lbs. title at the Keystone Classic and placed fifth at Midlands.
184: Jacob Berkowitz posted 7-20 record on the season while wrestling unattached and on the varsity squad in 2012-13. He made his first career start, wrestling at heavyweight, Jan. 13 vs. Nebraska. He wrestled two matches at heavyweight and made 184 lbs. dual debut Jan. 20. Berkowitz captured first dual win, a 7-5 decision, vs. Bryan Loughlin (NIU) on Feb. 8.
197: Alex Polizzi was a 2013 NCAA Qualifier and received at-large bid to NCAA's. He went 17-17 on the season, including 10-7 in duals. His 40 dual points tied for the fourth-highest total on the team and he placed fourth at the Keystone Classic, while taking eighth at Midlands.
Northwestern head coach Drew Pariano previews this upcoming season:
Q: What are the key’s to the opening duals against Stevens Tech and the Univeristy of Chicago?
“We’re looking to stay healthy and work on the techniques that we’ve been going over in the last month of preparation. We can let our guys finally compete against guys outside of our own team. It’s refreshing to finally have competition and get down to weight.”
Q: How would you describe this year's team?
“We have nine returning starters and they’re a year more seasoned and a year more battle-tested. We have a great core group of guys. With the NCAA Tournament, with having five qualifiers back and having the possibility of having several more this year, its going to be a great season for us.”
Q: What are your expectations for Mike McMullan this season?
“The only expectation is a national championship. That’s why we do this and that’s why he does this. Anything short of that would not be indicative to the work he’s put in during the offseason.”
Q: How have you seen your team progress during this past offseason?
“A lot of the guys had the best summers of their Northwester careers. I feel that some of them are at weight classes that are more appropriate for them than in the past. We’re still a relatively young team with not many seniors in the lineup, so we need to depend on those guys to score us big points, not only in dual meets, but in the NCAA Tournament.”
Q: What can fans expect from redshirt freshman Jason Tsirtsis?
“Jason needs to have a strong regiment. He wrestled all summer, which is great, but at the same time, he understands there’s a lot of work still to be done. People talk about him a lot, but he’s not ranked No. 1 in the country at this point and he has a lot to prove. He’s not taking anything for granted. He still has everything he needs to learn in front of him. He can do it. He can be one of the best wrestlers we’ve ever had at Northwestern, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Q: What will it take for the team to reach its goals this season?
“It’s going to take the understanding that it’s a process. You’re not going to feel outstanding at every dual meet, so you have to push through that, that feeling of discomfort. Every once in a while, you get tired and you have to push through that. At the end of the year, you’re battle tested, but you’re also relaxed and ready for the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament.”
Q: How have returning NCAA qualifiers Pat Greco, Pierce Harger, Alex Polizzi and Lee Munster developed in the offseason?
“All of their technique has improved since last year. Last year’s NCAA Tournament is an indicator that we need to fine tune in other areas, one of which is being able to score points early in the match and set the tone for match. At NCAA’s, those guys were challenged with that a little bit, but then you look and you have two finalists. The way I look at that NCAA Championship was, ‘It was great to have two finalists, yet they fell short of their goals, so we left with that empty feeling even though it’s pretty hard to get two guys in the finals.’ For the young guys, we need to have a really strong supporting cast and that all starts with them. So we expect all those guys to be All-Americans, but in order to do that, they’re going to have to learn from some of their experiences from last year.”
The University of Chicago’s probable starters include:
125: Klein, Justin
125: Martinez, Gabriel
125: Nwachuku, Edward
133: Moore, Alexander
133: Wyeth, Adam
141: Banaszak, Charles
149: Powell, Henry
149: Salazar, Timothy
149: Smith, Jacob
157: Matlaga, Michael
157: King, Brennan
157: McNulty, Michael
165: Papoutsis, Paul
174: Franke, Steven
184: Meyer, Mark
184: Pennisi, Samuel
197: Palmisano, Mario
285: Tyburski, Jeffrey
285: Werth, Preston
For Stevens Tech, the school’s top returning starters:
125: Jr. Tony Geiger, 6th NCAA East Regional
133: So. Ryan Wilson, 5th NCAA East Regional
149: Jr. Mike Polizzi, NCAA Qualifier, NCAA East Regional Champioin and OW
157: So. Leo Wortman
165: Jr. CJ Caserta, 2x Centennial Finalist
174: Sr. Ryan Dormann, 3x NCAA Qualifier and 3x Centennial Conference Champion
197: Sr. Alex Moreno, Centennial Conference place winner
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