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    Elite Meet to Compete at 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships

    Levi Mele brings a 13-0 record into the 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Mele is one of the contenders competing for a title at 125 lbs.

    Levi Mele brings a 13-0 record into the 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Mele is one of the contenders competing for a title at 125 lbs.

    Dec. 27, 2011

    49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships
    Dates: Thurs., Dec. 29-Fri., Dec. 30
    Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.
    Wildcats All-Access (Thursday quarterfinals)
    TV Coverage: Big Ten Network (Finals to air on tape-delay at 9:30 p.m. CT Dec. 30)
    Live Radio Coverage: Takedown Radio
    Twitter Updates:
    @NU_Wrestle (#midlands49) / @NU_SportsLive (bout-by-bout updates during the finals)

    2011 Midlands Championships WebsitePre-Tournament Contenders2010 Midlands Final Brackets

    Northwestern Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

    2011 Midlands Brackets Get Acrobat Reader

    EVANSTON, Ill. – Some of the top wrestlers in the country will be in Evanston Thursday and Friday as Northwestern hosts the 49th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Competition runs all day inside Welsh-Ryan Arena as more than 40 Division I, II and III teams are scheduled to compete in the annual tournament.

    The 49th edition of Midlands continues to bring in some of the best collegiate wrestling competition in the country with 13 ranked Division I teams and many more ranked individuals. Additionally, seven teams that placed in the top 10 at the 2010 Midlands Championships return this year.

    The complete list of Division I programs competing at Midlands is as follows: No. 1 Iowa, No. 7 Illinois, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 12 Lehigh, No. 13 Maryland, No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 17 Rutgers, No. 18 Northwestern, No. 19 Central Michigan, No. 24 Edinboro, Cal Poly (RV), Penn (RV), Purdue (RV), American, Bucknell, CSU Bakersfield, Clarion, Eastern Michigan, Harvard, Iowa State, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Princeton, Rider, Stanford, South Dakota State and Utah Valley. (Rankings taken from the latest USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll)

    Tickets are still available for the prestigious tournament and fans can purchase all-session or individual session passes by calling 1-888-GOPURPLE or at the door on the day of the event.

    For fans unable to make the event, Wildcats All-Access on will provide a live webstream from Thursday night’s quarterfinals and the Big Ten Network will broadcast Friday’s finals on tape delay at 9:30 p.m. @NU_Wrestle will provide Twitter updates throughout the tournament and fans are encouraged to utilize the #midlands49 hashtag when tweeting about Midlands. @NU_SportsLive will provide bout-by-bout updates from Friday’s finals.

    An approximate schedule of event is listed below (all times Central):

    Thursday, Dec. 29
    Session I: 9:30 a.m.
    Session II: 7 p.m. (Championship and consolation matches)

    Friday, Dec. 30
    Session III: Noon (Semifinals, consolation rounds, 7th place matches)
    Session IV: 7 p.m. (1st, 3rd and 5th place matches)

    Northwestern at Midlands
    The Midlands Tournament Committee released this year’s top contenders for each weight class and five Wildcat wrestlers made the cut. Jason Welch is out to a 4-0 start so far this season and is the No. 2 contender at 157 lbs., behind Iowa’s Derek St. John. Levi Mele also brings a perfect 13-0 record into the tournament and is preseeded at No. 4 for 125 lbs., while Lee Munster is listed at No. 7 for 174 lbs. Kaleb Friedley (149 lbs.) and Mike McMullan (Hwt.) are listed as other contenders for their respective weight classes. Grant Greene (125 lbs.), Jameson Oster (133 lbs.), John Coukos (133 lbs.), Colin Shober (141 lbs.), Pat Greco (141 lbs.), David Helmer (157 lbs.), Dylan Marriott (157 lbs.), Pierce Harger (165 lbs.), Robert Kellogg (174 lbs.), Marcus Shrewsbury (184 lbs.) and John Schoen (197 lbs.) will also wrestle at Midlands.

    At last year’s tournament, the Wildcats tied for 13th in the team race as then-senior Brandon Precin became just the second NU wrestler in school history to win a second Midlands title. Precin, who currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach for Northwestern, went 4-0, defeating No. 1 seed Matt McDonough from Iowa, 3-1, in the 125 lbs. finals for the title. He also became the first Wildcat wrestler to win the Art Kraft Champion of Champions Award, which is voted on by all 10 Midlands champions. Redshirt freshman Mike McMullan also placed last year, finishing eighth at heavyweight while competing unattached.

    20-in-4 Club
    In the last 48 years, only 21 wrestlers out of 9,345 total participants are part of the 20-in-4 Club. This group of wrestlers has at least 20 wins in their first four years of competition at Midlands and includes the following: Dan Gable (20, 1966-69), John Bowlsby (22, 1974, 76-78), Barry Davis (20, 1980-83), Andy Schwab (20, 1982, 84, 85, 87), Cary Kolat (21, 1989, 90, 93, 94), Joe Williams (20, 1993-96), Charlie Branch (21, 1993-96), Mark Ironside (22, 1994-97), Wes Hand (20, 1996-99), Jody Strittmatter (20, 1997-00), Doug Schwab (20, 1997-00), Yoshi Nakamura (22, 1997, 98, 00, 01), Mitch Clark (21, 1997, 99, 00, 01), Cael Sanderson (21, 1998-01), Jon Trenge (21, 2000-02, 04), Joe Heskett (20, 1998, 00-02), Tommy Rowlands (20, 2000-03), Cliff Moore (23, 2001-03, 05), Nick Simmons (21, 2002, 04-06), Nick Gallick (20, 2006-08), Jake Patacsil (20, 2006-09).

    Be sure to purchase a copy of the Midlands program for comprehensive tournament records and features on past and current participants.

    Last Time Out
    Northwestern has not competed since Dec. 16 and used five first-period pins in its 40-6 victory over North Central College. Pierce Harger, Lee Munster, John Schoen, Mike McMullan and Kaleb Friedley each recorded pins in less than two minutes and Jason Welch also won his bout by major decision. Redshirt freshman John Coukos made his first career start at 133 lbs. and achieved his first career win with a 5-4 sudden victory decision over Sean Tomac.

    Up Next
    Northwestern is now in the thick of its schedule and begins Big Ten dual action by hosting No. 8 Michigan at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wildcats then hit the road and face Wisconsin that same weekend at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8 in Madison, Wis.


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