Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Cats tie for first time in nine years

It’s pretty easy to tell just from looking at the rankings that the No. 19 and No. 18 teams in the country will be fairly evenly matched. And after Northwestern and Michigan wrapped up in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday night, the scoreboard confirmed just how similarly talented the two teams are: a 17-17 tie.

“When you go up to Michigan, you’re going to have to wrestle your best just to get out of there with any kind of victories,” coach Tim Cysewski said.

The dual match tie is NU’s first since Dec. 12, 1999, when the Wildcats tied Central Michigan 15-15.

“I’ve never been involved in a tie before,” said freshman 157-pounder Jason Welch.

As expected, it’s difficult to know how to feel after a tie.

“We had a chance to get out of there with a dual meet victory outright, but we left some team points on the mat,” Cysewski said.

The clearest example of losing points came in the final decision of the day: redshirt freshman Ben Kuhar’s 3-2 overtime loss in the heavyweight class against Michigan’s Eddie Phillips.

“I knew going into the meet that it was going to be a close meet and that it could come down to that heavyweight match,” Cysewski said. “And that’s what it did.”

Although Kuhar wrestled valiantly, including a comeback from a 2-0 deficit, his loss was the deciding factor in adding a third column to the Cats’ dual meet win-loss record.

Senior Jake Herbert extended his record for the year to 21-0 by beating No. 13 Anthony Biondo in a major decision, 16-6. Although Herbert generally considers anything less than a pin to be a failure, his coach had a different view of his victory.

“A lot of guys are trying not to wrestle Jake but just trying to keep it close,” Cysewski said. “But he’s still finding a way to manage to get his majors and tech falls.”

Another big point loss came in the 165-pound match between sophomore Kyle Bertin and Justin Zeerip. Bertin lost in a major decision 9-1. An eight-point loss constitutes a major decision – worth four meet points. However, a seven-point loss is a regular decision – worth only three meet points.

NU also had its fair share of high points. The team won four of its first five matches, including a 12-4 major decision by 149-pound sophomore Andrew Nadhir over Mark Weber. Junior Eric Metzler defeated Zac Stevens in the 133-pound bout in a come-from-behind victory 4-3, after trailing 3-1 entering the third and final period.

“Going into that last 40 seconds, being behind, you’ve got to get that one good attack in and get a takedown,” Metzler said. “And you’ve got to put out of your mind how poorly you’ve wrestled up to that point.”

Brandon Precin, who is ranked No. 3 in the 125-pound weight class, won his 19th consecutive match with a 9-3 victory over a ranked opponent, No. 15 Michael Watts.

“Brandon’s seen him a million times before, and he really just dominated him,” Cysewski said.

Welch, the true freshman ranked No. 15 in the 157-pound weight class, extended his record in Big Ten duals to 3-0 with a 6-2 decision over Aaron Hynes.

The tie allowed NU to maintain an undefeated record in the Big Ten – one which will be put to the test against Illinois on Friday and Minnesota on Sunday.

“This is the part of the season where things get a whole lot tougher,” Cysewski said.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Cats tie for first time in nine years