From Big To Small: Precin, Fox Lead NU To Weekend Wins (Wrestling)

Wade Askew

By Wade AskewThe Daily Northwestern

Going into the final match of a tight dual meet against Navy, Northwestern heavyweight Dustin Fox had the weight of his team riding on his burly shoulders.

With the Wildcats clinging to a 17-16 lead over the Midshipmen, Fox had to defeat Ed Prendergrast to preserve the team’s undefeated record at the NU Duals on Sunday in Evanston.

Fox responded with a 6-3 win to give the Wildcats a 20-16 victory over Navy and a 3-0 record on the day.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened to me,” Fox said. “Since meets usually go from 125 pounds to heavyweight, heavyweights always get this pressure. I like it because people depend on you.

“You feel the pressure, but all you can do is just wrestle the match and not really think about it. I handle the pressure well and like to do it.”

Fox’s match seemed to be in doubt after two rounds when Prendergast had a 1-0 lead. But Fox dominated the third round, taking advantage of his superior conditioning by wearing out his opponent early in the match. Once the third round began, Fox was able to score easy points off a worn out Prendergast.

“That’s what college wrestling is all about: a lot of people are going to be evenly matched in the first period, but are they going to be evenly matched in the third?” Fox said. “I feel like we’re in the best shape of the teams we wrestle. Having that to rely on gives you the strategic edge to push matches to the later periods and then beat people because they’re not in as good shape as you.”

The Navy match was Fox’s only on the day – he rested during the other two heavyweight matches in order to prevent aggravating minor injuries. But the Cats won their two other matches against Chicago, 34-12, and Indianapolis, 31-11.

The day was highlighted by 3-0 records from No. 1-ranked Jake Herbert, Ryan Lang and true freshman Brandon Precin. Precin continued to impress after his breakout debut at the Eastern Michigan Open on Nov. 4.

Most notable among Precin’s wins was a 11-6 victory over Navy senior Alex Usztics, who beat Precin at the Eastern Michigan tournament. The match was pivotal in NU’s win over Navy; at 125 lbs., the freshman wrestled first and set the tone for the dual meet.

“He was a two-time state champion in Illinois, so that gives him a lot of credibility,” Cysewski said. “You always like to see a freshman come in and step it up and perform at a high level like this. He’s done a very good job. He’s very level-headed (and) he works hard.”

With Precin starting and Fox anchoring, the Cats have reliable book-ends in their lineup.