Wrestling: Northwestern finishes nonconference schedule with win over South Dakota State

Freshman Dominick Malone looks for some advice during a home dual. Malone was one of three true freshmen to win his bout on Sunday.

Daily file photo by Susan Du

Freshman Dominick Malone looks for some advice during a home dual. Malone was one of three true freshmen to win his bout on Sunday.

Rohan Nadkarni, Sports Editor

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The bouts only get more difficult from this point forward.

Northwestern (8-8) finished Sunday its last dual outside of the Big Ten with a dominant 39-4 win over South Dakota State. The Wildcats will end the season with a 7-2 record outside of their conference, where wins have been hard to come by.

All but one wrestler found a way to win Sunday. Redshirt sophomore Dylan Marriott fell via major decision at 149 pounds, but otherwise NU had no problems.

A bright spot for the Cats came at the end of the lineup, when NU swept the final three bouts at 184 pounds, 197 pounds and heavyweight. The Cats have struggled throughout the season at the back ends of duals, with losses at 184 and 197 as well as the injury to redshirt sophomore Mike McMullan derailing many opportunities for wins.

On Sunday, the big guys stepped up, starting with true freshman Jacob Berkowitz at 184. Berkowitz, who was forced into action earlier in the season due to McMullan’s injury, cruised to a 10-6 win.

Redshirt sophomore Alex Polizzi followed up with a major decision victory at 197. McMullan continued to work his way back into the form that carried him deep into the NCAA Championships last year, ending the dual with a win by technical fall.

Redshirt senior and All-American Jason Welch also picked up a big win, notching a technical fall win of his own.

The Cats’ three true freshman — Berkowitz, Dominick Malone and Garrison White — all left South Dakota victorious. White won by default because the Jackrabbits forfeited at 133 pounds.

NU’s final dual of the season arrives on Saturday, when the Cats travel to Indiana to face the Hoosiers.

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