Wrestling: Wildcats head west to take on Cardinal

Rohan Nadkarni, Assistant Sports Editor

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Northwestern is going to California.

The Wildcats open their dual season against Stanford on Friday in Palo Alto, Calif. NU also faced the Cardinal for its first dual last season, winning 27-8 at Marist High School in Chicago.

However, this year’s dual will take on a much different flavor than last year’s battle in Illinois. Stanford only returns three wrestlers who participated in last year’s dual — Dan Scherer at heavyweight, Timmy Boone at 149 pounds and Alan Yen, who made the switch to 184 pounds from 197.

The Cats enter this season ranked No. 14 in the latest coaches’ poll from the end of October. They finished last season ranked No. 18. The Cardinal are unranked after starting last year in the top-15.

Stanford started quickly this season, picking up three wins during the Menlo Duals on Nov. 3. During the one-day event, the Cardinal toppled Simpson, Menlo College and Cal-Baptist.

NU already wrestled once on a big stage this year, sending two wrestlers to the NWCA All-Star Classic during the first weekend of November. However, both of its participants, redshirt senior Jason Welch and redshirt sophomore Mike McMullan, lost in the exhibition event.

The rest of the squad will get its first opportunity to hit the mat Saturday, and the Cats will feature five wrestlers ranked in the top 15 of their weight class.

No. 10 senior Levi Mele, No. 15 Pierce Harger, No. 10 Lee Munster, No. 5 McMullan and No. 3 Welch make up the top half of NU’s team. Freshman Dominick Malone will be making his debut for the Cats on Saturday, wrestling at 125 pounds.

The dual will be NU’s only one during this month. The Cats will participate in the Keystone Classic on Nov. 18 and then resume dual play in December.