Nov. 3, 2010
No. 18 Northwestern (0-0) at Stanford (0-0)
Sunday, Nov. 7
Taube Family Tennis Stadium
Palo Alto, Calif. 5 p.m. CT
Live Stream: Flowrestling.org
No. 18 Northwestern (0-0) at Menlo College (0-0)
Sunday, Nov. 7
Palo Alto, Calif. 7 p.m. CT
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EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern begins a new season and new chapter to the program's history this weekend when it travels to California for its first dual match under first-year head coach Drew Pariano. NU's first match is set for 5 p.m. Sunday at Stanford in a rare outdoor setting before the 'Cats head down the road to face Menlo College later that afternoon.
Northwestern, ranked No. 18 in the preseason team polls by IntermatWrestle.com, will be meeting Stanford in a dual match for the third time in three seasons. NU posted a 25-15 victory in Palo Alto in 2008 before Stanford returned the favor by winning on the road in Evanston last season.
The 'Cats and Cardinal will be meeting on the courts of Stanford's impressive Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Fans can watch a live online stream of the event on Flowrestling.org.
Welch Heads Home
The trip to the Bay Area marks a homecoming for one of the most decorated prep wrestlers in the history of California, Northwestern's Jason Welch. Welch finished his career at Las Lomas High School with a record of 194-7 -- becoming the 13th wrestler in California history to win three state championships -- and winning the Junior Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation's top high school competitor.
Welch, who has not competed since 2008-09 after redshirting last season, earned a No. 8 national ranking at 157 pounds to begin his sophomore campaign. On Sunday, he will likely face Stanford's Lucas Espericueta, an NCAA qualifier at 149 pounds in 2008.
Stanford, under the direction of third-year head coach Jason Borelli, is also led by junior Nick Amuchastegui, a fourth-place finisher at 165 in 2010 who has since moved up to 174.
'Cats Garner Preseason Attention
Jason Welch is not the only Wildcat to be ranked entering the first weekend of competition. Returning two-time NCAA All-American Brandon Precin is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 125 pounds following his redshirt year in 2009-10 -- with only 2010 NCAA champion Matt McDonough of Iowa ranked ahead of him.
At 149 pounds, senior Andrew Nadhir looks to build off his breakout season a year ago and begins his final go-round at Northwestern as the nation's 10th-ranked 149-pounder. Nadhir finished 24-12 overall and just one win shy of All-American status at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Probable Starting Lineups -- Northwestern at Stanford:
125: #2 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. #15 Ryan Mango/Matt Sencenbaugh (STAN)
133: Robert Joyce (NU) vs. Justin Paulsen/Matt Sencenbaugh (STAN)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) vs. Jordan Gray (STAN)
149: #10 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. Timmy Boone (STAN)
157: #8 Jason Welch (NU) vs. Mike Kent/Garrett Schaner (STAN)
165: Robert Kellogg (NU) vs. Lucas Espericueta/Kyle Meyer (STAN)
174: Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU) vs. #6 Nick Amuchastegui (STAN)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) vs. Spence Patrick/Dan Scherer (STAN)
197: John Schoen (NU) vs. Zack Giesen/Alan Yen (STAN)
285: Ben Kuhar (NU) vs. Dylan Rush (STAN)
Below is a complete 2010-11 Northwestern season preview:
is in his first year as Northwestern's head coach, but expect the new leader of the 'Cats to hit the ground running. Pariano, who wrestled for the Wildcats from 1996-2000, has spent the last five years as an assistant at NU, leading Northwestern through one of the most successful stretches in school history. Knowing what it takes to recruit and coach championship wrestlers at Northwestern -- and with his mentor Tim Cysewski
still on staff -- Pariano is prime to extend NU's wrestling resurgence.
"Drew is going to be a special head coach, the nice thing he brings to the table is that he's been through the stresses of what it means to be a student-athlete at Northwestern," Cysewski said. "He wants the best for all of his athletes and he demands their best. He knows that sometimes the work you put it in doesn't pay off that particular day but that with continued effort and persistence, you will succeed under his leadership."
Pariano can draw confidence from knowing that he lost only one starter to graduation following the 2010 season -- three-year captain Eric Metzler at 133 pounds -- and regains the services of two top 10-ranked competitors in two-time All-American Brandon Precin (125) and NCAA qualifier Jason Welch (157). Both Precin and Welch redshirted the 2009-10 season training to better their chances for their first Big Ten and NCAA individual championships.
Last spring, Precin showed signs his redshirt season had paid off when he took third in his debut at the United States Senior World Team Trials. With 124 career wins, Precin is on track to become Northwestern's all-time leader in career wins by the end of this season.
In addition to Precin and Welch, Northwestern's success this season will hinge greatly on the efforts of other battle-tested starters. Most notable among them is senior Andrew Nadhir, a 2010 NCAA qualifier at 149 pounds who finished one win shy of All-American status a year ago. Nadhir posted a career-best 24 victories against 12 losses and was ranked as high as No. 13 in the national polls.
Team captain Bobby Joyce is also ready to thrive in his role as Metzler's replacement and the full-time starter at 133 pounds. The Arlington Heights native battled through numerous injuries a year ago and is one of NU's most dedicated competitors.
Northwestern boasts a trio of redshirt juniors who are entering their third full seasons as members of the starting lineup -- Robert Kellogg (165), John Schoen (197) and Ben Kuhar (heavyweight). All three have tasted success during their NU careers but are striving to make the leap to the level of NCAA qualifier in 2011. Joining them at the upper weights are redshirt sophomore Brian Roddy, who narrowly missed an NCAA bid at 174 last season, and senior Aaron Jones, who is looking to improve on his eighth-place showing at 184 pounds at the 2010 Big Ten Championships.
Pariano is also expecting to reap the benefits of the nation's No. 2 recruiting class, which is also one of the largest freshman groups in Northwestern Wrestling history (nine). NU has two talented newcomers -- Kaleb Friedley (Park Hill, Mo.) and Colin Shober (Reading, Pa.) -- vying for the starting role at 141 pounds. Others, including three-time Illinois state champ Lee Munster (184) and prep national champion Mike McMullan (heavyweight) pushing NU's starters in practice every day.
"The future is bright at Northwestern, we have guys who have bought into our program and know what we're all about and they're going to pass that on to the younger guys," Pariano said. "Our focus is on producing All-Americans and national champions and we won't deviate from that."
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