Kimberlin a bright spot as Wildcats’ lose 2 at Wendy’s Duals (Wrestling)

Alessandra Vavas

By the end of last season, wrestler Mike Kimberlin had accomplished a feat not usually achieved by freshmen: He earned himself a spot in the starting line-up and finished his campaign with 13 dual wins.

Half-way through this season, the sophomore has already almost doubled his win total, leading the Wildcats with 22 victories with two months left to compete.

“It kind of all just falls into place,” he said. “You’re just out there and you could be wrestling a period, and all of a sudden, everything clicks, and it just goes from there.”

Something must have clicked for Kimberlin on Sunday at the Wendy’s Duals in Ashland, Ohio, as he swept all three of his duals, extending his winning streak to six matches.

Kimberlin as the lone Cat to win three matches, as NU (5-3) wrestled three duals within a six-hour time span, taking down Gardner-Webb before falling to Big Ten rival No. 16 Purdue (9-1) and Pittsburgh (4-3). The Boilermakers and the Panthers both went undefeated and shared the team title.

“It’s just a matter of going against good teams, and being evenly matched up, like we were against Purdue and Pitt,” NU head coach Tim Cysewski said. “It’s a matter of the discipline of winning those tough matches. You win those tough matches, we’re sitting 3-0, and we’re saying, ‘Hey, we’ve had a great weekend.'”

In Ohio, NU easily overcame Gardner-Webb, a small Division I school, 34-9. The true challenge came from Purdue.

“They won six matches, we won four,” Cysewski said. “We felt we matched up pretty well against Purdue. We had one match get away from us at 184 (pounds) — I thought we were better than the other kid — but we just didn’t wrestle as well as we should have.”

NU suffered a blow by forfeiting its 165-pound match against Purdue due to injury. The team knew it would be coming into the dual down one match, and Cysewski said the objective was to “win as many matches as we could.”

“I think the best word would be inconsistent,” senior John Giacche said. “Against Purdue, we had a couple of good matches, but in a couple of matches we gave up bonus points, and that hurts the team score.”

A wrestler gets three points for scoring more than his opponent in the seven-minute match. The point total is upped to four if the wrestler wins the match by between eight and 15 points. He gets five points if he wins the match by more than 16, and six points for pinning his opponent.

“If you are winning five matches, and you can put up some bonus points, there’s a good chance you’re going to win,” Giacche said.

The Cats completed their day of duals with Pittsburgh. Senior Brendan Curran and Kimberlin owned the only NU victories as the Panthers won 29-6.

“We wrestled into their style a lot,” Giacche said. “It was tough to watch, because you could wrestle well in one match, and then in the next match come back and look tired and lazy.”

Cysewski said it was the close matches that cost NU results.

“There were three or four matches there that we were in the position to win — or were winning — and we got beat,” he said. “Those things are not acceptable. Those things can’t happen, and we need to change that.”